IOWA CITY — Mitch Bowman has been the ultimate team player in a sport known for its individuality.
One of three seniors who will be honored tonight when No. 3 Iowa hosts Indiana in a Big Ten wrestling dual (7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena), Bowman has competed at three different weights this year alone.
Now the starter at 174 pounds, he has wrestled at 184, 197 and heavyweight during his “crazy” career.
“Whatever the call was for him, he did it,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said Tuesday during his weekly news conference.
“At the end of the day, you’re a team player,” Bowman said. “You have to do what’s best for the team ... it’s about guys you are in the trenches with.”
Bowman is just 5-4 going into tonight’s dual, but Brands said the Hawkeyes are “going to need him” heading into the stretch run with these final three duals and the Big Ten and NCAA championships just around the corner. Iowa wrestles at Wisconsin on Sunday, then heads to Oklahoma State on Feb. 24.
For his part, Bowman said he’s learned a lot during his career at Iowa. He was a walk-on who, according to Brands, had opportunities at some Ivy League schools.
“He chose to be a Hawkeye,” Brands said. “I’ve know Janet Bowman (Mitch’s grandmother) for a long time ... she’s an ornery good-hearted woman.
“We needed that in our program.”
To Bowman, there was never a doubt.
“I’ve always been a Hawkeye since the day I was born,” he said.
Bowman has been through a series of shoulder injuries in addition to his up-and-down movement in the lineup. A state champion as a senior at North Scott, he was an NCAA qualifier last year at 184 and went 2-2 in the national tournament. He owns a modest 33-25 career record that doesn’t include a 17-8 mark as a redshirt freshman.
He said he’s grown as a wrestler and a person these last five years.
“It’s been crazy, but it’s been great,” he said. “It’s what life’s about. It’s about facing adversity and coming out a stronger person.
“They are grooming us to become better men and that’s definitely what I think we’ve become.”
Heavyweight Sam Stoll and backup Perez Perez also will be honored tonight.
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