Creating The Best Iowa D1 Lineup Of All Time

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A few weeks ago I asked my Twitter followers how they would put together an all-time great college dual team with the current weights using athletes from their home states. The responses were great and really got me curious. So, I did the research and have now put together the best possible team for the top 16 states including some formidable back-up teams.

Across the next handful of days/weeks, we will unveil these teams before pitting them against each other in a national duals format type competition.

Previous States: Pennsylvania, California, Oklahoma

Now, to the heartland - Iowa.

125 Starter: Barry Davis, 1981-85

Hometown: Shueyville

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 7, 1 (118), 1, 1 (126)

Barry Davis was an absolute buzzsaw. As a true freshman, Davis won the Big Ten tournament and placed seventh at the NCAA tournament. After that, he would never lose a match at the conference or national tournament. 

Davis made the Senior World Team after his junior year and then redshirted. While redshirting he made the Olympic team and won a silver medal in Los Angeles. After that, he came back to cap off his college career with his third title and won Outstanding Wrestler of the 1985 NCAA Championships. Davis holds the Iowa record for most wins in a season (46 in 1982), in a career (162), and ranks fifth in career winning percentage (.945).

If you haven’t already, please take the time to listen to this outrageous Barry David - Dan Gable story.

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125 Backup: Matt McDonough, 2010-13

Hometown: Cedar Rapids

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 2, 1, R12 (125)

Because of an injury-plagued senior season, Matt McDonough is “only” a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion. However, when healthy, few other 125-pounders could stop McDonough from somehow wrapping his long arms around a single leg, eventually scoring, and then being a hammer on top. 

Going 22-5 his senior year, McDonough has a career record of 122-9 with 40 pins, 35 majors, and 8 tech falls. 

Honorable Mention

Terry Brands - 3X finalist and 2X NCAA champ for Iowa in the early 90s

Thomas Gilman - 3X AA & 2016 NCAA finalist for Iowa

Jeff McGinness - 3X AA and 2X NCAA champ for Iowa in the mid-90s

Mike Land - 4X AA and 1978 NCAA champ for Iowa State

Jason Kelber - 3X AA and 1991 NCAA champion for Nebraska

Chad Zaputil - 3X NCAA finalist for Iowa in the early 90s at 118

Dan Glenn - 3X AA and 1980 NCAA finalist for Iowa at 118


133 Starter: Tom Brands, 1989-92

Hometown: Sheldon

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 4 (126), 1, 1, 1 (134)

There have been few competitors as tenacious as Tom Brands. Now the head coach of Iowa, he won three Big Ten and NCAA titles as an athlete at the same university. He racked up a career record of 158-7-2 (.952 win percentage) with 46 pins. Tom was awarded Outstanding Wrestler at the 1992 NCAA Championships after beating three-time finalist and 1994 NCAA champion Alan Fried of Oklahoma State in the finals. 

133 Backup: Mark Ironside

Hometown: Cedar Rapids

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 6, 3, 1, 1 (134)

The first-ever Iowa wrestler to win the Hodge Trophy, Mark Ironside was a two-time NCAA champion with a career record of 127-10. The Cedar Rapids native went undefeated his last two seasons. He was a four-time Big Ten champion and three-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. A 1998 WIN Magazine article included the following quote:

“He’s driven to destroy and to dominate his opponents. He lives when he wins and dies when he loses. To me, that’s the definition of wrestling.” - Tom Brands on Mark Ironside

Honorable Mention

Eric Juergens - 4X AA and 2X NCAA champion for Iowa from 98-01

Cory Clark - 3X finalist and 2017 NCAA champion for Iowa

Joe Colon - 2014 AA with a career record of 62-6 record

Andrew Long - 2010 & 2011 AA for Iowa State/Penn State with a career record of 47-9

Joey Slaton - 2008 NCAA finalist for Iowa

Lowell Lange - 3X NCAA champion for Cornell College from 1947-50

Les Anderson - 3X finalist and 1958 & 1960 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Norvard Nolan - 1953 & 1954 NCAA champion for Michigan


141 Starter: Dan Gable, 1968-70

Hometown: Waterloo

College: Iowa State

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1 (130), 1 (137), 2 (142)

When people think Iowa, they think Dan Gable. He’s one of the, if not the, most recognizable name[s] in the sport of wrestling. In an era when freshmen weren’t allowed to wrestle varsity, Gable won 117-straight matches before famously losing the last match of his career to Larry Owings.

Gable was a pinner. Despite losing in the 1970 NCAA finals, Gable was awarded the Gorriaran Award for most amount of falls in the least amount of time. He won the same award in 1969 when he pinned all five of his opponents at NCAAs and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. All-in-all, 76 of Gable's 117 wins came by pin.

141 Backup: Doug Schwab, 1998-2001

Hometown: Osage

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ (126), 1, 3, 2 (141)

Under head coach Jim Zalesky, Doug Schwab was able to pick up 130 wins, three All-American honors, and win the 1999 NCAA title at 141 lbs, beating Michael Lightner 4-2 in the finals. Schwab’s two losses at the NCAA tournament his final two years came to Carl Perry and Michael Lightner by a combined three points.

Honorable Mention

Joe Gibbons - 4X AA and 1985 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Cliff Moore - 3X AA and 2004 NCAA champion for Iowa

Kevin Dresser - 2X AA and 1986 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Montell Marion - 2010 & 2012 NCAA finalist for Iowa

Lenny Zalesky - 3X AA and 2X NCAA finalist for Iowa in the early 80s


149 Starter: Tim Krieger, 1986-89

Hometown: Mason City

College: Iowa State

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5, 1, 2, 1 (150)

With a career record of 116-3-2, Krieger is one of the best Cyclone wrestlers of all time. After suffering a knee injury at the conference meet his junior year, Krieger was still able to make the NCAA finals where he lost in overtime to Scott Turner 2-1. His senior season, Krieger went undefeated and won Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAAs after picking up three falls, an 11-0 major, and a 5-0 decision.

149 Backup: Bill Koll, 1946-48

Hometown: Fort Dodge

College: Northern Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 1 (145), 1 (147)

It can be hard to compare older wrestlers to more recent generations. Wrestling technique normally doesn’t hold up, but Bill Koll was an absolute savage (fought in WWII) and had crazy stats. He went 72-0 and won three NCAA titles. He won OW at the NCAA Championships not once but twice and made the 1948 Olympic Team where he placed fifth.

Honorable Mention

Chuck Yagla - 3X AA and 2X NCAA champion for Iowa in the 70s

Brandon Sorensen - 4X AA and 2016 NCAA finalist for Iowa

Keith Young - 3X NCAA champion for Northern Iowa in the 40s & 50s

Ron Gray - 3X finalist and 2X NCAA champion for Iowa State in the 50s

Mike Natvig - 1962 & 1963 NCAA champion for Army West Point

Dale Bahr - 3X AA and 1968 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Bruce Kinseth - 2X finalist and 1979 NCAA champion for Iowa


157 Starter: Jim Zalesky, 1981-84

Hometown: Shueyville

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5, 1, 1, 1 (158)

Jim Zalesky was a HAMMER in college. His career record was 132-7-1 (.939 win percentage) and he ended it on an 89-match winning streak. I was unable to locate stats for bonus point victories, but Zalesky was named the 1984 NCAA Championship Outstanding Wrestler and Amateur Wrestling News named him the Wrestler of the Decade for the 1980s.

157 Backup: Derek St. John, 2011-14

Hometown: Parnell

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 4, 2, 1, 5 (157)

Long and lanky, Derek St. John could out-scramble almost anybody. He compiled a career record of 106-17. Not necessarily known for dominating opponents, St. John’s career record includes 14 pins, nine tech falls, and 20 major decisions. St. John was almost unbeatable in Carver-Hawkeye, going 31-1 with the lone loss coming his senior year against Dylan Ness. At the 2013 NCAA championships, St. John defeated Alex Dieringer 3-2 in the semifinals before taking out Jason Welch 3-2 in the finals. This wasn’t the only time St. John beat Dieringer. The Iowa native was 3-0 against Ringer and gave the three-time NCAA champion three of his four college losses.

Watch a very exciting highlight video of Derek St. John beating Alex Dieringer 2-1 in their 2014 match.

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Honorable Mention

Bill Nelson - 3X NCAA champion for Northern Iowa in the 40s and 50s

Trent Paulson - 3X AA and 2007 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Dave Martin - 2X finalist and 1970 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Stewart Carter - 1987 NCAA champion for Iowa State


165 Starter: Royce Alger, 1985-88

Hometown: Lisbon

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5 (158), 1 (167), 1 (177)

Royce Alger somehow has the wrestling to back up his huge personality. While wrestling under Coach Gable, Royce went 131-11 with 49 falls. The year Alger won it at 167, he went 16-1, 17-9, 16-5, 25-10, and then 10-4 over Kevin Jackson in the finals. Ridiculous. 

Now Alger just crashes FRL and gives outrageous interviews on The Bader Show.

165 Backup: Mark Reiland, 1989-92

Hometown: Eagle Grove

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 4, 1, R12 (167)

A double dose of Hawkeye pinning power at 165. Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Reiland accumulated a career record of 105-34-3 including 45 pins. In the 1991 NCAA finals, Reiland pinned eventual two-time NCAA champion and one of the scariest men ever to fight MMA, Kevin Randelman. That same season, Reiland earned 44 victories, good enough for third all-time in University of Iowa history.

Honorable Mention

Mike Van Arsdale - 3X AA and 1988 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Daryl Weber - 3X AA and 1996 NCAA champion for Iowa


174 Starter: Jay Borschel, 2008-10

Hometown: Marion

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 3, R12, 1 (174)

After being deprived of a year of eligibility when he followed Brands and transferred from Virginia Tech to Iowa, Jay Borschel went 98-10 with 24 falls. He capped off his career with a perfect 37-0 season, beating Mack Lewnes 6-2 in the NCAA finals. Borschel had a fun style that always produced entertaining matches.

Watch an incredibly high definition video of Jay Borschel beat Robert Hamlin at the 2009 Midlands below.

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174 Backup: Tom Peckham, 1964-66

Hometown: Cresco

College: Iowa State

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5 (167), 1, 1 (177)

Two-time NCAA champion and three-time All-American wrestler at Iowa State, Peckham’s career record was 58-3 with 32 pins. The Cresco native also made the 1968 Olympic Team, where he finished fourth.

Honorable Mention

Bart Chelesvig - 3X 3rd place finisher for Iowa in the early 90s

Rich Binek - 2X AA and 1973 NCAA champion for Iowa State

Gary Kurdelmeier - 2X AA and 1958 NCAA champion for Iowa


184 Starter: Eric Voelker, 1986-89

Hometown: Dallas Center

College: Iowa State

NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ, 1, 3, 1 (190)

Eric Voelker was a three-time conference champion with a career record of 101-13-3 for the Cyclones. He defeated Minnesota’s Mike Dean (4-3) to win the 190-pound national title and boost ISU to the team title in 1987. The year Voelker took third at NCAAs, he still won the Gorriaran Award for the most amount of falls in the least amount of time.

184 Backup: Drew Foster, 2016-19

Hometown: Burlington

College: Northern Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 7, NQ, 1 (184)

UNI’s most recent national champion had a great senior year. He went 28-5 with 13 bonus point victories and only lost by regular decision. In addition to NCAAs, Foster won Big 12s and Midlands. He avenged one of his few losses of the season to Max Dean in the NCAA finals.

Watch Drew Foster take out Max Dean in the NCAA finals below. 

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Honorable Mention

Jessman Smith - 4X NQ and 2002 & 2003 AA for Iowa

Grant Gambrall - 2011 NCAA 3rd place finisher for Iowa


197 Starter: Kyven Gadson, 2012-15

Hometown: Waterloo

College: Iowa State

NCAA Finishes: 6, 4, 1 (197)

After suffering a season-ending injury in his very first match as a freshman, Kyven would become a three-time Big 12 champion and three-time All-American. Everyone remembers when Gadson pinned Kyle Snyder in the NCAA finals, but people forget Kyven had already beaten Snyder earlier that year at CKLV. Snyder would go on to win Worlds over Abdusalam Gadisov six months later. Gadson also didn’t give up one single takedown in his 2015 NCAA title run.

Watch Kyven Gadson pin Kyle Snyder below.

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197 Backup: Lee Fullhart, 1996-99

Hometown: Decorah

College: Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: 4, 1, 3 (190), 2 (197)

Lee Fullhart was a bad man. His career record while at Iowa was 107-18. He would go on to have a bit of rivalry (that Fullhart won several times) against Cael Sanderson on the senior level. If this was a freestyle dual, I’d probably go with Fullhart, but this is a college competition, so Kyven gets the start. A 2014 Des Moines Register article included this quote:

"He (Fullhart) doesn't like a lot of people. Seriously. He really doesn't. I think if you look at what he's doing now, he's a (U.S.) Border Patrol guy on the U.S.-Mexico border. So he lives a little dangerously.” - Dan Gable on Lee Fullhart

Honorable Mention

Pete Busch - 1982 NCAA champion for Iowa

Sean Stender - 3X AA and 2005 NCAA finalist for Northern Iowa


285 Starter: Tolly Thompson, 1994-97

Hometown: Janesville

College: Nebraska

NCAA Tournament Finishes: R12, 1, 3, 3 (275)

The only non-Iowa located college wrestler to make the lineup, Thompson was 157-21 with 13 of those losses coming his freshman year. His sophomore year he won the national championship by majoring Justin Greenlee 8-0 in the finals after Greenlee took out Kerry McCoy in the semis. Thompson’s senior year he lost to Stephen Neal in the semifinals but won the Gorriaran Award for most amount of falls in the least amount of time.

285 Backup: Joel Greenlee, 1986-89

Hometown: Waverly

College: Northern Iowa

NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ (190), R12, 4, 2 (275)

Joel Greenlee never lost a collegiate dual meet, putting up a 58-0-3 record during his career as a Panther. Greenlee’s career record of 127-16-4 is good for a .878 win percentage. In the 1989 NCAA finals, Greenlee lost to Carlton Haselrig 1-0.

Honorable Mention

Justin Greenlee - 3X AA and 2X NCAA finalist for Northern Iowa in the 90s

Trent Hynek - 2X AA and 1998 NCAA finalist for Iowa State


There you have it, the greatest Iowa D1 lineup of all-time.

WeightNameYears ActiveHometownCollege
125Bary Davis1981-85Shueyville
Iowa
133Tom Brands1988-92Sheldon
Iowa
141Dan Gable1968-70
WaterlooIowa State
149Tim Krieger
1986-89Mason CityIowa State
157Jim Zalesky
1981-84Shueyville
Iowa
165Royce Alger1985-88LisbonIowa
174Jay Borschel2008-10MarionIowa
184Eric Voelker1986-89
Dallas CenterIowa State
197Kyven Gadson2012-15WaterlooIowa State
285Tolly Thompson1994-97
JanesvilleNebraska

 

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