MOUNT VERNON — Iowa doesn’t receive the credit it deserves for special events that help promote wrestling and entertain. The Hawkeyes’ annual media day was unique, interesting and fun, hosting it outdoors at Kroul Farms, which is owned by the family of former Iowa football player Matt Kroul.
Media and supporters endured cold temperatures, snow flurries and chilly wind to talk with Iowa wrestlers and coaches.
“This is awesome,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said while standing in front of a fake graveyard. “I guess my opening statement would have to include Matt Kroul. Iowa weather, love it or leave it. Matt Kroul’s teammate, Ricky Stanzi (said). Kroul had a record number of starts and lets add one more to it, only a Hawkeye wrestling start. So we’re fired up to be here.”
Attendees sat on large logs near a fire pit. Wrestlers answered questions and posed for pictures in front of cornstalks, hay bales and Halloween decorations, The Hawkeyes capped the afternoon by tossing pumpkins into a pen for cattle to eat.
“No way,” DeSanto said about imagining the media-day activities. “You can’t imagine this kind of stuff. This stuff is awesome.”
Kroul, a 2004 Class 2A heavyweight state champion for Mount Vernon, recalled Iowa Sports Information Director Chris Brewer reaching out and asking his interest in holding the event. He said he thought ‘why not’ since the farm was open to the public for October.
“He said, ‘what do you think about this idea?’” Kroul said. “If you guys want to, we’ll make it work. I said there might be customers walking around. It could be snowing. It could be raining. He said, ‘we don’t care. We’re all in.’ I said ‘let’s do it.’
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“I think it being close enough and being able to get the guys out of the room in Carver for a couple hours, that I think they enjoyed that.”
Kroul said he didn’t have to do much and Iowa did most of the work.
“I drug a couple more down this morning and started the fires at noon,” Kroul said. “They did the rest.”