Andrew Sorenson goes from farm to mats


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Junior Andrew Sorenson prepares to take on Minnesota’s Cody Yohn during the wrestling meet on Sunday. Sorenson beat Yohn with a score of 9-7 while Iowa State lost to Minnesota with a score of 13-26.

Jake Calhoun

From baling hay to pinning opponents, Andrew Sorenson has done it all.

The 165-pound redshirt junior has hit the big-time as one of ISU wrestling’s most consistent wrestlers with a record of 16-5 on the season and a 65-27 mark for his career.

However, his background is latent with humility.

“I grew up on a farm and I grew up learning how to work hard,” Andrew said. “Ever since I was little, my dad always had me working on the farm and he really instilled how [with] hard work and dedication you can accomplish anything you want to accomplish.”

Andrew hails from Woden, a town in north-central Iowa with a population of 243.

Growing up, he would enthusiastically finish his chores on the farm before doing anything else, which played an instrumental role in the development of his character.

“He could do anything that I had ever asked him to do,” said Brad Sorenson, Andrew’s father. “You didn’t have to tell him to do them, he would just go do them.”

Investing heavily in his father’s motto of “get your work done before you play,” Andrew became disciplined and self-motivated, which would play an integral role in his involvement in athletics.

When he was in first grade, his teacher suggested he go out for wrestling after she noticed how much energy he had in class.

“I was a basketball player, so I thought, ‘My son is going to play basketball,'” said Andrew’s mother, Julie, about the idea of Andrew going out for wrestling. “But he went to his first wrestling meet and he went out in shorts and a T-shirt and tennis shoes, won it, and he was hooked.”

Ever since, Andrew had worked toward someday wrestling for a Division I program.

When he got to high school, Andrew wrestled for Forest City since his school, Woden-Crystal Lake-Titonka, did not offer wrestling as a varsity sport. Because of this, he made the 32-minute drive to Forest City for practice every day during the winter sports season.

“I don’t know if there’s words to describe it of just how proud you can be with someone that puts that much effort into their goals and it turns out this way,” Brad said. “It’s hard to explain.”

Andrew had a record of 155-10 and was a three-time state placewinner in high school and went on to win the state title at 152 pounds his senior year, catching the attention of then ISU coach Cael Sanderson.

“When I was a senior at state, I beat one of the kids that Cael Sanderson was recruiting and that Monday he showed up at my high school,” Andrew said.

For a small-town community, having Sanderson, the only undefeated wrestler in NCAA history, show up expressing interest in one of its athletes was a big deal.

“People were calling me and texting me saying, ‘Is it true? Is Cael Sanderson coming up’?” Julie said. “I mean, word had spread like wildfire. It was pretty big stuff to have him at the school.”

Andrew is the oldest son in the Sorenson family with two younger brothers, Aaron and Beau. Aaron, a current high school senior, was torn between Iowa State and Northern Iowa, among others, in terms of where he wanted to wrestle in college.

“I tried to stay out of [Aaron’s decision] for the most part until he started looking at others places and really interested in other places,” Andrew said. “Then that’s when I called him up one night and told him that he needed to come here — that this was the best place for him and that this would open doors for him that no other place could.”

Aaron originally brushed Andrew’s suggestion off until speaking with ISU coach Kevin Jackson, which is when he verbally committed to wrestle at Iowa State the next year.

As far as what the future holds, Andrew said he will be enrolling in graduate school next year to finish his fifth year of athletic eligibility.

After finishing, Sorenson said he would like to be a strength coach for a wrestling program, preferably at Iowa State.

“I’ve still got all my goals this year to accomplish this year and next year,” he said. “So I’ve got a lot of time. I’m not in any hurry.”