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Monday, October 28, 2013
Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is starting his fifth season as head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.
Before last season, Iowa State was not even ranked among the top 25 teams in the NCAA Division I by the college wrestling preseason polls. Coach Jackson proved them wrong by leading a young team to an 11th-place finish in the national championships, and having three wrestlers earn All-American status. This season, he sees even more success.
"We're in a good position to continue to move the program forward," he said in this interview, recorded by phone Monday. "We have Mike Moreno and Kyven Gadson, two athletes that were All-Americans last year, returning to our starting lineup." And they only lost two seniors from last year's starting lineup.
"We're excited about this year and can't wait to get started."
They will get started with their regular season Thursday, November 7, when they face both Drexel and Grand View in home dual meets at the historic Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
Before that, Mike Moreno, ranked number three in the preseason polls at 165 pounds, will be wrestling top-ranked David Taylor of Penn State, a 2012 NCAA Div. I champion and three-time finalist. This match will take place Saturday, November 2, as part of a loaded lineup at the annual NWCA All-Star Classic, held at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, on the campus of George Mason University.
We also discussed with Coach Jackson who else on the Cyclone wrestling team he expects to start and achieve success this season.
In addition, we discussed some of the ongoing problems facing the sport of wrestling, both internationally and nationally. He bemoaned the fact that 2012 Olympic gold medalists Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner are not getting all sorts of major nationwide product endorsements. The continuing problems with marketing, media, and promotion of wrestling once again show, he said, "It takes professionals to do a professional job."
And we discussed the upcoming fight this Saturday, November 2, on the Bellator MMA card in Long Beach, California, involving "King" Mo Lawal, who had trained with Coach Jackson for several years at the Olympic Training Center, against Emanuel Newton, who had upset him with a first-round knockout when they first met in February of this year.
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