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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES - As he walked into the Harold Nichols Wrestling Room for media day interviews, Kyven Gadson bore a mark symbolizing all the work he's put in since last season.
Underneath Gadson's right eye is a bruised-up cut, which he got early on in his ISU wrestling career. It was broken open in August once his teammates got back into the wrestling room, but Gadson didn't dwell too much on it, knowing all of what's to come.
'It's all part of it,” Gadson laughed. 'Mom's not happy about it.”
But if he wants to have the kind of season he expects, there are likely to be more nicks and bruises in store to get back to the NCAA tournament. After two-straight Big 12 titles and two All-American finishes, the 197-pounder from Waterloo is looking for more in his final season.
Coach Kevin Jackson is looking for a bit more this season, too. Along with a talented group of freshmen, Gadson and fellow senior Mike Moreno will lead the way through their past experiences. And for those captains to get back to compete for a national championship in their last go-around, Jackson mentioned a few things that are going to have to happen.
'They've got to get there healthy, they've got to have the right mindset and have a hot tournament,” Jackson said. 'They can't have any let ups or make any mistakes on their way to the finals so that's the expectation they have for themselves and based on what they've done in the past and their overall ability, that's our expectation as well.”
As the undisputed 165-pounder and two-time All-American, Moreno took much of the summer off from competition to focus on the mental aspect of his technique as he gets ready for his final ISU campaign. Having the confidence in his abilities and trusting his training is what he says will lead him every step of the way.
'Every day you kind of learn a little bit more about yourself and I think the new approach I like to take instead of knowing; it has to be a past tense,” Moreno said. 'I leave practice every day and I know I got better. I get ready for a competition and I know the past week of training has way too well and I'm way too trained to lose.”
Although he was not necessarily highly-seeded in the NCAA tournament in the last two seasons, Moreno still managed sixth and fifth place finishes. For he and Gadson to take that next step toward winning national titles, wrestling 'pressure-free” is also going to be brought up.
'If I'm having fun and I'm wrestling pressure free, then I'm wrestling pretty well,” Gadson said. 'I don't think I gave myself the best chance to win and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think I kind of tightened up, but it's all done and I can just move forward from it.”
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