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Monday, October 29, 2012
Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is starting his fourth season as head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.
Injuries and a series of other factors led to disappointing results for the Cyclones last season, including none of their wrestlers winning a national championship or All-American status. Coach Jackson, however, is convinced that his young team, many now with a taste of top-level NCAA Division I wrestling, will perform much better in the coming 2012-13 season.
"We can expect everyone to perform at a higher level," said Coach Jackson in this interview, which was recorded by phone Monday afternoon. "The group of young men that we threw out there last year had a great opportunity to gain some valuable experience, to wrestle the best teams in the country, and to wrestle the hardest schedule in the country, and recognize that they are capable, that they should be in the hunt, that they should win." He added that they are still a relatively young team which is dominated by sophomores. "All those sophomore have seen the best competition, and there will be no surprises for them going into this year."
We discussed who are the likely starters for the Cyclones this season, which officially opens for them Saturday, November 10, at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open at the historic Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. We also discussed the realignment of college conferences and the possibility of wrestling teams being grouped in regional conferences, the proposed change to the format of crowning a national team champion in NCAA Division I wrestling through a new national duals tournament, the importance for wrestling of the use of social media, and more.
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