Earl Hall and Tanner Weatherman become leaders for ISU wrestling

Coach Kevin Jackson cheers for Michael Moreno during his match against Stanford’s Bret Baumbach in the 165-pound wrestlebacks at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 22, 2013 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Brian Mozey

Leadership can be viewed through player performance, helping other players on the team or being a role model outside of the sport. For two seniors on the ISU wrestling team, their leadership is seen on and off the mat.

Seniors Earl Hall and Tanner Weatherman have taken on the leadership role for the team and ISU coach Kevin Jackson has been impressed with their abilities in the different areas. Even though they’ve become leaders, their goal is to still win a NCAA championship as a team and individuals.

“You’d expect them to be the leaders because they’ve had success in their past years,” Jackson said. “You expect them to lead verbally and you expect them to lead performance wise.”

Last season, Kvyen Gadson and Michael Moreno were the leaders for the team and the transition into this group of seniors was easier than expected. Hall learned from the two of them as a junior and incorporated their leadership skills for his last year.

Jackson describes Hall as a more verbal communicator both on and off the mat. Hall tells his other teammates the expectations of the coaching staff and of the other wrestlers on the team.

Hall is last one to leave and always wants to learn more as a wrestler to achieve his goal of becoming the NCAA champion for his weight class.

“For me to go out there and not score in three minutes is unacceptable in my eyes,” Hall said.

Weatherman is the complete opposite of Hall in terms of his leadership style. Weatherman is the type of leader that shows by example rather than a verbal communicator.

“Tanner [Weatherman] is Tanner, he’s is a quiet guy,” Jackson said. “He trains hard, keeps his mouth shut and is willing to sacrifice for the team.”

Weatherman made that sacrifice over the offseason by moving from 174-pounds to 165-pounds. The transition has been a learning curve for Weatherman, but he thinks he’s ready for the season and to complete his goal of becoming a NCAA champion in his weight class.

After this season, the two seniors will leave their leadership roles to two more seniors. One of them will definitely be redshirt junior Lelund Weatherspoon.

Jackson likes Weatherspoon’s work ethic and how he fights for every point no matter the opponent. His work ethic has already made him in a leader for the team, but now he needs to step up his performance on the mat.

“You can’t ask for better guys and their help in the program,” Jackson said. “We expect a win from them every time out because success on the mat goes a long way for our leadership as well.”