IOWA CITY — Brandon Sorensen has been a regular fixture in Eastern Iowa wrestling for more than a decade.
The former Denver-Tripoli standout was the 23rd four-time state champion in Iowa history and was the 20th four-time All-American at the University of Iowa.
Sorensen will be among four Hawkeyes and three native Iowans to make their professional debut in the inaugural American Wrestling League event Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. Sorensen will face two-time World medalist James Green in one of 10 freestyle matches between teams captained by World champions Kyle Dake and David Taylor, beginning at 7.
“It’s big for me to see one of the opponents I might see early next year,” said Sorensen, who will wrestle at 154 pounds. “Maybe get a little familiar with here.
“I’m ready to capitalize on that.”
The dual is tagged, “AWL1: The Beginning.” Wrestlers have lacked opportunities to compete professionally and the sport has desperately needed to afford post-collegiate wrestlers a chance to compete and earn money, in addition to World and Olympic dreams.
“It’s an opportunity to compete,” Sorensen said. “It’s fun. We love the sport and want to put on a show for the fans.”
He has noticed the increased marketing of the event and the effort to reach out to fans. It is a perfect opportunity to showcase some of the country’s best international competitors. The goal is to have it take hold.
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The event includes a number of U.S. National Team members and local wrestlers like former Iowa NCAA champions Cory Clark and Tony Ramos and the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten champion and All-American Sammy Brooks. Iowa State NCAA champion and Waterloo East two-time state champion Kyven Gadson will also compete.
Clark and Ramos once lived and trained with each other at Iowa will face off at 134.5 pounds. Brooks (189) will wrestle former Ohio State wrestler Nick Heflin. Gadson will take on Jacob Kasper, formerly of Duke, at 213.
“I think they want to see good matches and I think they are pushing for good matchups,” Sorensen said. “It’s our job now to go out there and make it exciting.”
Sorensen has called Eastern Iowa home for his competitive career. He expects to have a lot of support from the local faithful Friday night.
“It’s huge,” Sorensen said. “I’ll have a lot of fans there, we’ll have a lot of fans for Iowa and hometown fans and family. It’s another reason to get up for it.”
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