CORALVILLE — Jaydin Eierman traveled to Iowa City after his first year at the University of Missouri.
He accompanied Tigers teammate and Olympic hopeful J’Den Cox as a training partner for USA Wrestling’s Olympic Team Trials.
The trip was certainly memorable. Cox defeated Kyle Dake for the 86-kilogram (189.6 pounds) spot and advanced to earn a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Eierman also recalled how the local fans made an impression on him. He aspired to wrestle in front of them one day, which became more of a reality when he transferred to Iowa during his Olympic redshirt season a year ago. Then, he experienced the electricity of a Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd.
“I was like, ‘Wow, one day I hope to wrestle in this arena,’” Eierman said. “When I transferred I was able to go to duals and it was insane to see the fans. I’m excited I get to compete in front this atmosphere. The fans are unreal here.”
Eierman will finally get his chance to take the mat in front of that supportive fan base as a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club this weekend during the U.S. Senior Nationals wrestling tournament at Xtream Arena and GreenState Family Fieldhouse. Action begins Friday at 10 a.m. with Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle. Men’s freestyle starts Saturday at 10 a.m. and the event concludes Sunday.
Eierman, a three-time All-American, is the second seed at 143. Former Ohio State NCAA finalist Joey McKenna is the top seed. This marks Eierman’s first event since wrestling at Senior Nationals as the No. 6 seed last December. The transfer, a second redshirt season and a shutdown from the pandemic helped rediscover his passion to compete.
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“It made me find a new love for the sport,” said Eierman, who has lived in Iowa City for almost a year. “It made me appreciate what I had. I feel like that will also take my wrestling to the next level.
“I’m just excited to go out there and compete again. Do what I love. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity. I’m just taking full advantage of everything.”
Despite his success at Missouri, he knew Columbia, Mo., wouldn’t be in his future while chasing international goals. For freestyle, Eierman said he needed to improve his pace, toughness and handfighting skills, which is Iowa’s forte. He found a good fit with Iowa coaches Tom and Terry Brands.
“Tom and Terry are some of the best coaches in the world,” Eierman said. “They’re helping me reach a new level for my wrestling style. It’s been amazing.”
Eierman likes folkstyle and freestyle, but he is excited to show the gains he has made in a short amount of time with the HWC. Fans have marveled at his style. He has an explosive and wide-open attack. His ability to scramble creates tremendous flurries. More often than not, he comes out on top.
“Mat awareness is huge,” Eierman said. “You need to know where everything is. You need to realize if I do this what could happen. I credit that to going into practice and trying new things, putting myself in positions I needed because I needed to figure out everything.”
The focus is on himself and achieving daily improvement. This tournament is the first of several smaller goals on the path to his desire of World and Olympic titles.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and it’s always going to be a dream,” Eierman said. “It’s a big goal of mine. I hope to achieve it one day. I have to take little steps every single day to achieve that. You can’t overlook any little piece. I have to work on myself every single day.”
Jeremiah Moody will also wrestle for the HWC. He will be in the 163-pound bracket.
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Iowa State will be represented as well. Current Cyclones David Carr and Austin Gomez have earned seeds. Carr is fifth at 163, while Gomez is 16th at 143. Former ISU NCAA champion Kyven Gadson is seeded fourth at 213.9 pounds.
Northern Iowa NCAA champion Drew Foster and Taylor Lujan are in the 189 bracket. Foster is the fifth seed and Lujan is seventh.
Former Ballard prep Rachel Watters will wrestle for the New York Athletic Club. She is the third seed at 149.5.
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