For all the wonderful opportunities offered female athletes by Title IX, it is a shame there wasn’t some way to keep wrestling programs going around the country. The ancient sport usually became a casualty in the need to balance men’s and women’s scholarships and athletic programs. Luckily for Iowa, that’s not a problem they have to grapple with.
We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning athletes in Iowa and emailed sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 20 state players to watch on a list we will update here.
The one state where wrestling will always be strong is Iowa, as four Iowa wrestlers—Brandon Sorensen, Nathan Burak, Thomas Gilman, and Sam Brooks—land on our list. With Gilman, Brooks, and Sorensen fresh off All-America campaigns and the Hawkeyes fresh off a Big Ten tournament title, the national wrestling power eyes greater success on the mat.
Forward Georges Niang of Iowa State tops our list this year. A driving force behind the Cyclones’ back-to-back Big 12 tournament titles (he won the MVP of the 2015 Big 12 Tournament), the first-team all-conference selection stands to go out with a bang in his senior season. Another name to watch for: Iowa State point guard Monte Morris, whose efficient ball-handling and scoring abilities give the Cyclones reason to believe they’ll be a contender again this year.
- Georges Niang, Iowa St., Basketball, SF
- Monte Morris, Iowa St., Basketball, PG
- Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa, Basketball, SF
- Brandon Sorensen, Iowa, Wrestling, 149 lbs
- Nathan Burak, Iowa, Wrestling, 197 lbs
- Drew Ott, Iowa, Football, DL
- Sam Brooks, Iowa, Wrestling, 184 lbs
- Sam Fourman, Iowa, Track/Field, 1,500m Run
- Sam Richardson, Iowa St., Football, QB
- Thomas Gilman, Iowa, Wrestling, 125 lbs
- Jeremy Morgan, Northern Iowa, Basketball, SF
- Jamie Lindstrom, Northern Iowa, Track/Field, Hammer Throw
- Jordan Lomax, Iowa, Football, Defensive Back
- Naz Long, Iowa St., Basketball, SG
- Jameel McKay, Iowa St., Basketball, PF
Others receiving votes:
Dale Jones, Iowa, Basketball, SF
Wes Washpun, Northern Iowa, Basket, PG
Reed Timmer, Drake, Basketball, PG
Cordell Pemsl, Wahlert (Dubuque, Ia.), Basketball, F