116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE – The past is in Jaydin Eierman’s rearview mirror and he is accelerating forward.
He said the NCAA finals loss in March has driven the Iowa senior and Hawkeye Wrestling Club member since his return to training the following week.
It provided enough fuel to propel Eierman to the 143-pound men’s freestyle title at USA Wrestling’s Senior Nationals on Saturday night at Xtream Arena. He scored the final eight points to defeat Oklahoma’s third-seeded Dom Demas, 8-4, in the championship match.
“Once I got over that (finals loss) and got it behind me it just lit a new fire underneath me,” Eierman said. “My performance today was good, but it’s nowhere near where I can be.”
Eierman transferred to Iowa to help with his international career. The gains are leading to rewards, keeping him in the running to make the U.S. World Team later this year.
“I’m excited,” Eierman said. “My goal is to be a World and Olympic champion and to get by that I have to keep getting better every day.”
Eierman held his top seed, improving his 2019 runner-up finish. He overcame a 4-0 deficit in two of his last three bouts, including the one against Demas. A sign of his improved conditioning since March was how he wrestled stronger as the match progressed.
“I started slow in these matches, but as the match picked up I started picking it up and showing my dominance,” Eierman said. “I have to get to that point I can go like that for six minutes.”
A turning point came after Demas scored two exposure points for a chest wrap, doubling his lead. Eierman quickly regained his composure, earning a point for seizing control. Eierman went to work, with two leg-lace turns for a 5-4 lead at the break.
In the second three-minute period, Eierman seemed set for a pushout for one point, but finished before the edge for a two-point takedown. He added a pushout late.
“I just needed to get on top and get going,” said Eierman, who used turns to beat Demas in 2019. “Mat awareness is huge in these matches because of criteria. There’s no overtime so you have to make sure everything is good.”
HWC member Pat Lugo finished third in the same bracket and is eligible to compete in the World Team Trials.
Iowa teammate Tony Cassioppi also reached the finals. He placed second to top-seeded Nick Gwiazdowski. Cassioppi was the 10th seed and knocked off No. 7 Derek White (4-1), No. 2 Dom Bradley (5-1) and No. 3 Ty Walz (11-1).
University of Northern Iowa and Panther Wrestling Club member Taylor Lujan earned a title at 174.5. He won by forfeit over former Illinois star Isaiah Martinez. Lujan scored three technical superiority decisions to start the day before beating No. 2 David McFadden, of Virginia Tech, 11-4, in the semifinals.
“I’ve got great training partners,” Lujan said about the PWC. “I’m a byproduct of people I’m around and get to be around them. I’m grateful for them.”
Former Iowa State NCAA champion and Waterloo East two-time state champion Kyven Gadson reached the 202 finals. He fell to top-seeded Nathan Jackson (New York Athletic Club/Princeton), 6-1.