On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Kevin Jackson, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion freestyle wrestler, who is the head wrestling coach for the legendary Iowa State Cyclones.
This weekend, February 11 and 12, the 2012 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, the national dual meet championship for Division I NCAA wrestling, will take place with a new format, which has been dubbed Mat Mayhem. There will be four regional tournaments, each featuring six of the top teams in the U.S. The winners of each tournament will face each other on February 19, making Mat Mayhem a college wrestling version of the Final Four in college basketball. The four regional tournaments will be held Saturday, February 11, at Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Sunday, February 12, at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and at Cornell in Ithaca, New York.
Iowa State has received the number three seed for the National Duals Midwest Regional in their home building, Hilton Coliseum. The first round will begin at 11 a.m. CST with Iowa State vs. Wisconsin on Mat 1 and Northern Iowa vs. Virginia Tech on Mat 2. Both Iowa and Oregon State will have first-round byes. The winner of Northern Iowa/Virginia Tech will face Iowa in the second round beginning at 1 p.m. CST. Oregon State will square off against the winner of Iowa State/Wisconsin in round two. The final round will begin at 3 p.m. CST. with the championship bout and extra match between the losing first-round teams.
We spoke with Coach Jackson by phone Thursday afternoon about Mat Mayhem and how he expects Iowa State to do.
"College wrestling is as good as it has been," said Coach Jackson. Besides having better coaches than ever, he explained, "the wrestling has gotten better."
We also discussed the overall performance of the Iowa State team, which has a large percentage of freshmen who have been starting, as well as some key starters who have been sidelined with injuries. But with the success of Andrew Sorenson, the return of Jerome Ward and Chris Spangler, and the maturation of this young team, Coach Jackson expects them to be peaking just as the season approaches the Big 12 and NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. We also discussed the upcoming U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials in April, what wrestling needs to do to make it easier for fans to watch it, and more.
There is a special section on Mat Mayhem on TheMat.com
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman