IOWA CITY — Jaydin Eierman wasn’t necessarily looking for another family.
But that’s exactly what he found when he decided to leave the University of Missouri and relocate to the University of Iowa. He was attracted to the tight-knit, one-for-all atmosphere.
“They’re here together,” Eierman said. “They’re supporting each other. That’s what I loved. They’re going to go out there and fight for each other. Not just for themselves.”
Eierman will get to take the mat alongside the Hawkeyes he’s been training with for more than a year when top-ranked Iowa hosts No. 6 Nebraska Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes are in search of their 14th straight dual victory and 19th in a row against a Big Ten Conference foe.
Eierman is ranked No. 1 to start the season and is expected to face No. 7 Chad Red in one of 10 probable matchups between ranked opponents. At 174, top-ranked Michael Kemerer will face No. 4 Mikey Labriola. Iowa’s third-ranked Jacob Warner could wrestle No. 2 Eric Schultz at 197 and, at 184, there could be a top-10 battle between No. 8 Nelson Brands and sixth-ranked Taylor Venz.
It also marks the opening dual in a season that consists of only conference matchups.
“We have to take every day as a step for us,” said Eierman, whose father, Mike, wrestled for the Cornhuskers. “Every day is a goal for us to reach where we want to be March 20, the last day of nationals.
“It’s not looking past each dual. It’s taking every dual in front of us serious as the next. I feel like once we do that we’re just going to keep steamrolling and keep going week after week and day after day. We’re going to see where we’re at come March 20.”
This will be his first official competition in a Hawkeye singlet, despite placing fifth at the U.S. Senior Nationals in October and defeating defending Olympic champion Vladimer Khinchegashvili at the Hawkeye Wrestling Club Showdown on Nov. 1. Both were held in Coralville.
“It was great to get some matches in before the season started,” Eierman said. “Usually, we start in November and that’s kind of around the time we were competing, so it was nothing new to me, but it was good.
“It had been since December of 2019 since I competed. It was good to get out there and blow those lungs out.”
Eierman first arrived in Iowa City in November 2019. He took an Olympic redshirt last season, choosing Iowa, in part, to work with Tom and Terry Brands to reach his international freestyle career aspirations.
Eierman said the Brands have helped him improve on basics, which will help set up and complement his aggressive, wide-open and explosive big-move ability.
“My favorite part would have to be the practices,” Eierman said. “The coaching staff is one of the best in the world. They really work with their athletes. Our practices are built around us and how we want to feel by the end of competition. We’re trying to peak and not kill ourselves at the beginning.”
Quality training partners surround the three-time All-American. In addition to All-American Austin DeSanto at the weight below and former 141-pound starter Max Murin, who has bumped up to 149 this season, Eierman can scrap daily with Lisbon four-time state champ and previous starter Carter Happel.
Eierman embraces the daily challenge.
“Every day you’re going to have a war,” Eierman said. “There’s not one guy that’s going to bow down to you. You have guys that are ready to fight for that lineup spot and that just makes everybody better because they are going to push each other to the top.”
Iowa’s two-time Big Ten champion Alex Marinelli said when the lights are on is when Eierman shines brightest.
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“Whether it’s in the practice room or on the mat, I know he’s going to be putting on a show,” Marinelli said of Eierman. “He’s a guy that loves to compete. He’s awesome. He’s funny. He brings a good vibe to the room.”
Now, he’s made himself at home. Just one of the family.