ISU wrestling club growing into something bigger

An ISU wrestler competes at Wayne State College. 

Jack Macdonald

Wrestling is Iowa’s pastime and is home to the No. 2 and No. 19 ranked teams in the country for NCAA Division I. But the sport still hasn’t stopped growing.

The ISU wrestling club has seen the effects of the growing sport and in turn has made a push to make the club bigger and better than ever.

Members are pushing to grow the club by turning it into a competitive team. Before this year, the club would send individuals to open tournaments rather than an entire team for a dual meet.

At the meets, wrestlers went up against the best of the best. Sophomore Sam Phillips has wrestled an NCAA Division I champion. In those tough matches, he wrestled for pride rather than a win. 

“I wanted to let him know who I was,” Phillips said. “I had nothing to lose, and I was able to see where I was.”

The national champion from Missouri won as expected, but to Phillips it didn’t matter that he had lost. The experience gained from wrestling a powerhouse name is enough to get him to where he wants to be.

Tyler Kutz, club president, has seen the talent the club possesses and wants to test it against the best schools in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. To reach the top, though, the club had to form a dual team, meaning it could field a roster with someone registered at every weight class.

Once that was set, the sky was the limit. And in the first dual meet as a club, the club set its sights high. It tested the newly formed dual team by wrestling Wayne State College, which is ranked No. 12 in the NCWA Division I.

The Cyclones made sure everyone else in the NCWA knew they were for real. They defeated the Wildcats of Wayne State, who finished No. 7 in the rankings last season.

“After Wayne State, we knew that we could compete with anyone,” Kutz said. “Wayne State was a good team, and we learned a lot about what we had.”

The score against Wayne State was 30-24, and the club easily defeated Colorado State, 42-15. It also put a smack down on Iowa’s wresting club.

Wyatt Forsyth, Kutz and Phillips all gave the credit to August Wesley. Wesley is the newly-appointed volunteer coach who brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the mats.

“We saw an opportunity to grow and figured why not go at it full force?” Forsyth said. “The doors were open, and we went for it.”

It will take more than defeating a nationally ranked NCWA Division I team to complete the climb to the top of the NCWA, and the club knows it. 

“We’ll keep growing, but we need consistency,” Forsyth said. “We have 10 to 15 guys at every practice, which is a lot more than we had last year.”