116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Myles Wilson arrived at the University of Iowa with little knowledge about the in-state rivalry with Iowa State.
The two-time state champion from Glenwood Springs High School in Junction, Colo., quickly learned the nature of the Cy-Hawk Series.
“It’s obviously a big deal,” Wilson said. “As soon as you get here it’s one of the things everyone is talking about, especially with football. It hasn’t been as close of a rivalry in wrestling the past couple years but it’s still a big deal.”
Wilson is listed as a probable starter along with 2020 All-American Abe Assad at 184 pounds. He has wrestled in the top-ranked Hawkeyes’ first duals this season. If he gets the nod against the No. 13 Cyclones Sunday at Hilton Coliseum, he will make his second appearance in the 85th meeting between the two tradition-rich programs.
Iowa has won the last 16 meetings and is 15-0 against Iowa State under Hawkeyes Coach Tom Brands. The Hawkeyes have won all 10 duals since the inception of the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy in 2010.
“This dual is important,” Brands said. “There are athletics department ramifications with the Cy-Hawk series. This is important to this program. We emphasize it.”
Wilson has started strong this season, recording a technical fall in the dual win over Princeton and adding a 4-1 decision over Army’s Brad Laughlin last week. He remains in a competition for the starting spot. Brands compared it to a platoon system at quarterback for football. Two quality athletes capable of getting things done when called on to do so.
“Myles Wilson and Abe Assad are a little bit different maybe, but we have two guys that can step in and do the job,” Brands said. “Right now, Myles Wilson is our guy.”
The comment from Brands was welcome but Wilson wasn’t affected by it. He has prepared to be that person and will continue to be ready whether he steps on the mat or not.
“I’m ready to wrestle and always ready to be that guy,” Wilson said. “I’ve been believing I am the guy since the day I got here.”
As a redshirt freshman, Wilson wrestled at 174 in the Hawkeyes’ 19-18 win over Iowa State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Unfortunately for Wilson, he had to medical forfeit to Marcus Coleman after a knee injury that ended his campaign after five matches.
Wilson worked his way back, going 3-0 last season and vying to be the Hawkeyes’ full-time starter. Dedication and perseverance has put him in this position.
“It wasn’t too tough to come back. Not in this room,” said Wilson, who could face Coleman again Sunday. “You’re always thinking about the right things. A little bit of adversity is not a big deal. You just have to keep pushing forward.
“You’ve got a great example in Spencer Lee. You just follow that leadership and do what you can to get better.”
The manner in which Wilson dealt with the situation left a good impression on Brands.
“I’ve seen him handle adversity,” Brands said. “He was in the lineup as a freshman He was wide open and we liked how he competed. He had some adversity and he’s handled it well.”
Wilson wrestled in the U23 World Championships in Serbia last month. He did not medal, but gained valuable experience and a few lessons he can apply to this season.
“You have to be ready in your positions,” Wilson said. “I got in a match with an Armenian and let him control a couple areas real fast. Once I started to get to my stuff I started coming back but I let too much time click off the clock.”
Wilson is a powerful wrestler. He has a varied background, earning All-America honors in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Wilson and Brands agree that explosiveness is a strength. Stay in favorable positions, create angles to utilize it and avoid gambling with risky maneuvers.
“We’re not rolling the dice,” Brands said. “Myles Wilson has explosive skills and he needs to stay in that area where the best things he does really, really well come out in his wrestling.”
Wilson, who sports a Sammy Brooks-type mullet and even resembles the former Iowa All-American, trains with Assad, 197-pounders All-American Jacob Warner and Zach Glazier and Nelson Brands in the wrestling room. The daily battles help prepare them all for competition.
“Everybody is working to get better,” Wilson said. “It really is iron sharpens iron. You have to be on your game when you walk in that room. Practice matters.”