Remembering the Cyclones Part II

In case you haven't still had your fill of re-living ISU's historic wrestling heritage courtesy of the Golden Legacy Dinner at Hilton Coliseum last Friday, here's even more recollections.

I must admit when I was asked to cover the World Trials I hesitated for a moment. I'm not a reporter and won't pretend to be one. I'm just a Cyclone fan with a passion for Iowa State wrestling.


I was worried about what to write about and nervous that nobody would find anything I had to write about interesting. I hope that hasn't been the case.


Wrestling is like a lot of other sports (soccer for some, golf for others etc…). Some people like it, some don't, and you have those people that maybe are indifferent about it.


I'm hoping for a couple things to happen from my covering the event this past weekend. My 1st hope is that if you don't like wrestling, that maybe you have at least gained an appreciation of the history of the ISU program. That's a start.


 My 2nd hope is if you are indifferent, you'll come to a meet in the future or stop by a football tailgate for the program and get to meet the coaches and the kids who represent Iowa State. You will not regret it.


When I asked wrestlers and fans at the Legacy dinner for Iowa State wrestling memories, I was looking for short answers. I got some of those, but I also got to listen to some stories told by both wrestlers and fans, that as a fan of the ISU program, I enjoyed hearing. I hope you will too.


These memories start with a conversation I had with Mr. Brand, and end with a story about Grant Nakamura and a young boy he met through a wrestling camp told by a long time fan.


This is one of the stories Glen Brand told at the dinner, and I was lucky enough to meet him prior, and he conveyed it to me prior to the dinner.


"I enrolled at Iowa State January 3rd, 1946, twelve days later I wrestled HWT against the University of Nebraska and I had a big HWT who didn't know a thing about wrestling. 2 weeks later Iowa State was wrestling Colorado State. Iowa State came out on the floor waiting for the Colorado team to come out of the dressing room. When they came out, they came through a regular door out there. The lighter weights came through 1st, then heavier and heavier. When it came time for the HWT to come through that door, the whole door filled up with the man and he ducked his head to get in. 6 foot 7, 270 pounds, I'm 5 foot 10, 190. All during the match I kept saying what on earth do I do with a giant like that. Finally it came time for me to wrestle. The 1st 30 seconds I didn't know what to do. I danced around trying to stay out of his reach. He got a hold of me and tried to pull me toward him, and I was pulling the other and we both went off the mat. The referee put us both up, and on the way back I said I've got to do something even if it doesn't work. As I got closer and closer to him, I didn't want to make physical contact, but I bent down low and all of sudden I charged in at his legs full speed. My shoulders bumped his legs just above the knee, but I instantly moved over, and boom, he came down exactly where I was a 1/2 seconds ago. I was on my feet way before he was and he was on his hand, one knee was up, the other was down. I charged in from the side, pushed him over on his back. About 15 or 20 seconds later he was pinned, it's all over. 59 seconds. But that's not all the story. I was in the process of standing up when over here in the front row of the bleachers a young lady leaped out of her seat, she came running out to the mat waving her hands like mad. The referee has got my hand up in the air, and she's right there pounding on my chest, just beating like mad. Never anything like that again. I made one mistake, I didn't get her name or phone number"


These are some thoughts from Jim & Joan Moore. They are fans, and also on the board of the Cyclone Wrestling Club.


"One of my best wrestling moments was the World Championship in New York city. When you are a wrestling fan, seeing that many high quality wrestlers. I think the World Championships are just outstanding. We went to the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles, but there aren't quite as many matches, not as much wrestling. When you go to the World Championships like we did in New York to see Cael wrestle there like that. That was one of my favorites.


"There aren't all these other sports distracting you. That's why we like the World Championships better" Joan added.


"I just think seeing them wrestle in Hilton is always a thrill. I like Hilton, and to see the team wrestle at home. Back in 1985, the early 80's we used to have 15 home meets. Now with the reduction in contacts, we're down to 6 or 7 meets. Half of what we had. Those years ago when we had so many home meets at Hilton was terrific"


These recollections are from Denny Friederich. A former Cyclone All American and fan and also a Wrestling Club board member.


"My best memories are trips we took when I came in 1956, and wrestled 58-61. The team members I had were Larry Hayes, Les Anderson and Ron Gray, all National Champions. It was quite an honor to be on the team with them. We flew a lot of places. My 1st match wrestled Dave Auble who was a 2 time NCAA National Champion and he initiated me into college wrestling. I lasted till the 2nd period with him anyway, but we got 2nd in the Nationals when I was junior. I got 3rd that year, Les Anderson got 1st and Larry Hayes got 1st  so we had 3 place winners. Since then just following wrestling. I really enjoy working with the Cyclone Wrestling Club helping out as much as I can.


Jim McCollough is a fan I met through following the program, and these are some of his thoughts of his memories from over the years.


"My father started bringing me to Iowa State wrestling was I was 9 or 10 years old. They were over at the old Armory back in the early 1950's. I remember those early all Americans and NCAA Champions, and certainly followed it into the Gable era and on into today. It was amazing that back in those early days there would be a mat there in the middle of the old Armory and there would 20 -30 people on each side of the mat, and we'd watch Oklahoma and Oklahoma State wrestle. Not like the spectator sport that it is. Now I know there has been over 200 Universities that have dropped college wrestling, but I still believe that there is a hotbed of wrestling in Iowa, Oklahoma and Minnesota and I think that the sport is going to be alive and well if we continue to use our wrestling clubs at the various Universities to promote the sport"



I spoke with former Cyclone Cody Sanderson and asked if anything sticks out about his time at ISU.


"One of the most exciting competitions we had was the 2000 National Dual Meet Championship when we won that. It really just sticks out in my mind because our team really had to come together at the end and Mark Knauer had a big match against Brock Lesnar in the finals to hang on for the win. It was just a great memory and we have a great photo of it to immortalize the experience. So that's definitely one of the highlights"


The final story is from long time booster and fan John Allen. He was discussing a camp being run down in Missouri by Coach Douglas, and told a story about a young boy and Grant Nakamura.


"The youngest ones were 8 or 9, and those little kids attached themselves to Grant just like he was a magnet. They thought he was the greatest. He was there Coach. Ask any of them, it was my coach is Grant. One of these little guys, his dad is the head coach of the youth club down there. This little guys name is Hank and to see him is to love him. He's the cutest kid you ever saw in your life, but he is the orneriest kid that God ever put on this earth. That kid has had every part of his body broken at least once.  He's constantly in trouble. If he's not in trouble he's got his 2 bigger brothers in trouble. At this years camp, Hank found out Grant wasn't going to be able to make it. At the end of the camp his father could tell something little hank was thinking about something, It was on his mind. It turns out somehow or other Grant had told him that he had an aquarium and he had a lot of animals, but he didn't have a turtle. So the last day when these people were all coming in for the camp, little Hank knew it would be the last chance. He took his pet turtle and put in a box and he asked Roby, Sundell and Paulson to take that turtle back home and to give it to Grant."(FYI, the turtle is alive and well)


I would have had a good time regardless. It was both awesome and interesting to go behind the scenes at Hilton. I'm an ISU fan all the way, but being able to be on the floor and go pretty much anyplace was for me like being a kid in a candy store. One minute to be watching guys warm up and turn around and have wrestlers that I recognize from other schools and years gone by standing next to me was an incredible experience.


I appreciate the opportunity, and I hope everyone enjoyed the coverage I provided.

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