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Thursday, September 04, 2014
Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is starting his sixth season as head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.
We spoke with Coach Jackson by phone Wednesday.
Iowa State Wrestling is in a good position coming into the new season, which starts in November. All of the team's NCAA qualifiers from last season are returning, including their three All-Americans: Kyven Gadson, Michael Moreno, and Earl Hall.
In particular, a lot of attention is focused on redshirt senior 197-pound wrestler Kyven Gadson.
"Ever since Kyven Gadson has stepped foot on campus, he's had the potential, and we've had the expectations, for him to be a national champion. And that hasn't changed," said Coach Jackson.
"This year he has to put a couple of things together, stay locked in, wrestle with intensity and aggression. And I think if he does that for seven minutes, I think he's going to give himself a great chance to win. He's been a leader of our team. He's a two-time All-American. And this could be his last shot at it."
We also discussed the potential of Iowa State's returning All-Americans Michael Moreno and Earl Hall, how Earl Hall is the "best athlete" on the team, the importance of college wrestlers training and competing in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, the "challenging" situation involving the many upcoming changes in college sports including the likelihood that some college athletes will be directly financially compensated, the resulting increased necessity to market the sport of wrestling, Iowa State's new assistant coaches Trent Paulson and Angel Escobedo, and much, much more.
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