Wrestling captain Roberson hopes for good health in season

Zac Reicks

Stay healthy.

That is the main goal for ISU junior Zach Roberson this year as he begins his third season wrestling for the Cyclones.

Roberson earned All-American status with a seventh-place finish at 133 pounds at last years championships at Albany, New York.

And the lanky, Overland Park, Kan., native garnered valuable team points for the Cyclones as they rode the strength of Cael Sanderson and Joe Heskett to a second-place team finish.

Hampered by ankle problems for much of his career, Roberson is anxious to see what he can do this season at full strength.

“I had an injury last year, which affected how I could wrestle,” Roberson said. “My main goal is to be healthy this year. I want to see what I can do when I am healthy.”

Another ISU wrestler who would like to see Roberson healthy is training partner and friend Aaron Holker. Holker is Iowa State’s only other returning All-American. He said one of Roberson’s biggest problems last year was his lack of physical strength.

“He worked over the summer and fall on weight training, and I can tell the difference in his strength,” Holker said. “That was one of the things he was lacking and now with that improved he will be a lot tougher.”

Seeing his improvement, ISU head coach Bobby Douglas rewarded all of Roberson’s hard work by making him a captain for the upcoming season.

This leaves him in charge of a young team with a lot of questions to be answered. “We don’t really have any big studs, other than [Holker],” Roberson said. “We might struggle during the beginning of the year, but they will step it up at the end.”

Stepping it up means Roberson could have a chance to wrestle for a national championship in Kansas City, Mo., right by his hometown.

“My main goal is to win a national title in Kansas City, so hopefully I can have a hometown advantage,” Roberson said.

To do this, the Cyclone captain knows that he must do two things.

“I need to get better on the mat and stay healthy,” Roberson said. “You win a lot of matches in college by being good on the mat.”

Roberson begins the season ranked sixth by Amateur Wrestling News and will be tested throughout the season as most of last year’s placewinners return, including national champion Johnny Thompson of Oklahoma State and runner-up Ryan Lewis of Minnesota.

The fifth-ranked Cyclones open their season this Saturday by hosting the Cyclone Open in Fort Dodge.

The Cyclones will send a number of wrestlers to the tournament, including top-ranked Holker and Roberson.

Iowa State’s other ranked wrestlers include No. 19 Ty Malia (125), No. 16 Austen Palmer (184) and No. 19 Wade McLeod (heavyweight).