Kanen Storr ready to show the country he is the real deal

Storr, Kanen_JWTT15.JPG

Garrett Kroeger

New Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser heard about Iowa State’s 141-pound wrestler Kanen Storr before he arrived in Ames. He heard about how Storr was so dominant as an unattached, redshirting freshman last year.

When Dresser first laid eyes on Storr in the wrestling room, one would assume that he was impressed with him. That was not the case.

“I heard how great he was,” Dresser said. “Then I watched him in the wrestling room and I was like ‘wow, he really didn’t look that good to me.’”

Since then, Dresser’s perception of Storr has changed. He saw how Storr competed in live action, which was much better than the way he practiced, and saw how important the sport was to him. Now, just like he proved Dresser wrong, Storr is ready to show the nation he wasn’t a one-hit wonder.

Storr came to Ames from Leslie, Michigan, where he tallied a 227-3 record at Leslie High School. He was also a three-time Michigan State High School champion, three-time Fargo All-American and a three-time United World Wrestling/Fila Junior and Cadet All-American.

So, coming to Iowa State, the bar was set high for Storr. He not only accomplished it, but succeeded the standard that was set for him.

Storr is already a star for the next generation of Iowa State wrestling, even though he has yet to start a collegiate dual or tournament for the Cyclones.

As an unattached wrestler, his results and freestyle performances were rare highlights for the Iowa State program that suffered a rough 2016-17 season.

While it wasn’t hard for Storr to redshirt because he knew it was the best option for him, his redshirt season was interesting to say the least.

“It was more different than probably 90 percent because I made it to senior level tournaments,” Storr said. “I left the country to compete once. So, it was interesting. It was a big change from my high school career.”

The young grappler pieced together one of the best freshman campaigns of any redshirting freshman in the country. Storr compiled a 25-5 unattached record with all five losses coming to 2017 NCAA qualifiers, three in which were All-Americans.

Then, in terms of freestyle competition, Storr finished runner-up at the Dave Schultz Memorial International, a senior level tournament, and was the top American finisher in his weight class. There, he defeated NCAA All-Americans Alan Waters and Josh Kindig.

“It was amazing,” Storr said. “Just going there, as time went on my confidence was through the roof and really changed my mentality about the sport and really showed me that the young guy can perform at the highest level.”

Coming from high school, Storr wanted to work on his confidence. It’s shocking to learn that about a wrestler of Storr’s pedigree. Ironically, he never believed in himself coming into college.

“I kind of let my humbleness take over,” Storr said. “When people bring up my career and my wrestling, I try to keep it to a minimum. Like, yes, I’m okay.

“I really think it’s a burden because I tell myself it so many times that I start to believe it. I’m just alright, I’m nothing special. If you look at my results, there is something special there. It’s like telling yourself a lie, you start to believe it.”

Although Storr found his confidence, he is still trying to get used to the new regime. Dresser and assistants Mike Zadick, Derek St. John and Brent Metcalf all replaced former coach Kevin Jackson and his staff.

The transition from coaching staff to coaching staff has been a little weird for Storr. The previous staff stressed a lot of technique, but Dresser’s staff preaches being the tough guy; being that wrestler who will push his opponent off the mat or shove their face into the ground if they are stalling.

While it has been a weird transition, Storr is used to the tough guy mentality. His high school coaches stressed the tough guy mentality as well and he was dominant at the level. Dresser expects Storr to thrive under that mindset.

“I think he can definitely do that,” Dresser said. “You are not going to beat the absolute best guys if you don’t have that quality. You got no chance. So, you can’t just be a good wrestler and win at the highest level. There has to be a tough guy vibe.”

After seeing Storr compete over time, Dresser sees a lot of Devin Carter, former Virginia Tech (Dresser’s old team) 141-pound grappler, in him.

Carter was more of a pinner, so Storr is a little more technically advanced. But Carter was a tough, aggressive competitor. In fact, he was one of the toughest wrestlers Dresser has ever coached.

While at Virginia Tech, Carter was a three-time All-American, which one of Storr’s goals this season.

“If he progresses all year, I think he can absolutely be an All-American,” Dresser said.

The goal after claiming All-American status is being a national champion.

If Storr doesn’t reach that All-American level this year, he believes he will have underperformed this season. However, Storr trusts his coaches to help him obtain that due to their history of developing talented middleweights.

He has been training hard to get back to peak physical shape this offseason. He has been working on sharpening his technique and adding new attacks to his skillset. Plus, Storr has been focused on being a leader for this new era in Iowa State wrestling history.

Not only has he been working hard this off-season, but Storr has earned some preseason hype. FloWrestling ranked him as one of the best freshman in the country and No. 14 in their 141-pound rankings.

He is ready to climb the ladder this year and show the nation that he is the real deal.

“I would tell them to look out for me,” Storr said. “I proved myself time and time again. On the senior level, freestyle circuit I would say I beat top level guys over and over again. I would just say hold that thought until they actually see me in the lineup.”