Cyclones send five wrestlers to NCAA Championships


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Andrew Sorenson grabs hold of his Cornell opponent Marshall Peppelman to keep from escaping on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Hilton. Sorenson defeated Peppelman by tech fall 21-6 in the 165 weight class.

Alex Halsted

Andrew Sorenson ran, cleared his mind and moved forward.

“I threw on some sweats and a hat and threw on some music, and I just ran,” Sorenson said. “I got back from that run, and I realized that I’ve failed so many times, but every time I fail I’ve gotten back up and got back on the horse.”

The redshirt senior, who is ranked No. 4 nationally at 165 pounds, lost in the championship round of the Big 12 Championships last Saturday in his final opportunity to capture a conference title.

Sorenson said his run helped put things into perspective.

“I decided right there that I had to drop [the loss] and make the best of the situation … and move in the direction that’s going to win me a national title,” Sorenson said. “The guy that comes best prepared to the national tournament is going to be the national champion.”

Sorenson’s days as an ISU wrestler are now nearing an end, with just the NCAA Championships remaining next week. In all, five Cyclone wrestlers will travel to St. Louis on Thursday to chase All-America status and national titles.

Three Cyclone wrestlers received seedings for the tournament — Sorenson (No. 3 at 165), redshirt juniors Chris Spangler (No. 8 at 174) and Matt Gibson (No. 12 at heavyweight). Spangler, however, will not wrestle after his season came to an end with another injury at the Big 12 Championships.

The three other wrestlers who qualified for the NCAA Championships are redshirt freshmen Ryak Finch (125), Luke Goettl (141) and redshirt sophomore Boaz Beard (184).

ISU coach Kevin Jackson said Gibson’s Big 12 title, the only one earned by the Cyclones this season, will help him moving into the season’s final test.

“I think it springboards him,” Jackson said. “A win makes it a smoother transition for him and gives him more confidence going into the tournament.”

Gibson hopes to make a run at a title and is confident that if he remains focused, his goals can be accomplished.

“I just want to make sure that I’m, mentally, 100 percent ready for the tournament,” Gibson said. “I just want to make sure my head is in the right spot and then make sure I wrestle 100 percent every match. I think I’ll [become an] All-American if that happens.”

The NCAA Championships will begin on Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis with the championship round on March 17.