Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa wrestling honoring Brandon Sorensen as 4-time All-American battles cancer

Hawkeyes giving away bandanas at Nebraska dual Saturday to support Sorensen

Iowa's Brandon Sorensen is greeted by head wrestling coach Tom Brands after he defeats Northwestern's Ryan Deakin in the
Iowa's Brandon Sorensen is greeted by head wrestling coach Tom Brands after he defeats Northwestern's Ryan Deakin in the 149 pound match during a wrestling meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Sorensen won by decision 5 to 4. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa will honor four-time All-American Brandon Sorensen with a bandanna giveaway before a Big Ten Conference home dual against Nebraska Saturday night.

The red, white and blue headbands are a symbol of support for the former NCAA finalist and Hawkeye Wrestling Club member who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The first 3,000 fans through the doors will receive one of Sorensen’s trademark accessories.

“We have these headbands that we’re going to celebrate him,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said during his weekly news conference Wednesday. “That is somewhat of an embarrassing topic for him anytime he is the focus. I don’t know if he’s real comfortable about that.

“He’s a part of us. This isn’t about us thinking of him. This isn’t about anything other than he is a part of us.”

At the end of November, Sorensen underwent tests for the disease that is a type of cancer in the blood and bone, affecting white blood cells. He began treatment Dec. 3.

Brands said Hawkeye assistant coach Ryan Morningstar spent part of the day with Sorensen and medical staff mentioned “great news.”

“The numbers are going the way the numbers need to go, which is positive,” Brands said. “He’s upbeat. I have a feeling even if the numbers weren’t going the way they need to go he would be upbeat.”

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Sorensen was a steady and consistent performer for Iowa. He finished with 127 career victories and never finished worse than fifth at the national tournament from 2015-18. He was well-respected for his competitiveness and businesslike approach. The current Hawkeyes want to honor Sorensen with their effort on the mat.

“Sorensen is an unbelievable role model,” Iowa 141-pound Max Murin said. “He just competes so hard. He’s such a tough wrestler. There’s not much we can do other than compete as hard as we can for him. Just hope for the best for him.”

The #SorensenStrong bandannas, designed by former Hawkeye Jeret Chiri and distributed in partnership with ThinkIowaCity.com, contain messages “Tough as Nails” and “Sorensen Strong.” They are available for purchase at sorensenstrong.org for $10 with all moneys going directly to support Sorensen.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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