Preparing for success
It may be the middle of summer, but Iowa Lakes wrestling coach Jason McCloud still has plenty to do in preparation for the Lakers’ first full season of competition in the 2008-09.
Iowa Lakes didn’t have a complete roster in the 2007-08 season, but wrestlers competed in several open tournaments.
This winter, McCloud says the goal is to compete for a national title.
“Will it happen in the first year, probably not,” he said. “But if the kids who come in stay healthy and have no distractions, they have the makings of a championship-calibre team. A lot will happen between now and February.”
The Lakers are starting with many of the ingredients needed to win.
“We’ll have the facility, the coaching staff and the support-all the ingredients we need to win,” he said. “The one ingredient we don’t have is tradition.”
Of the four Iowa two-year colleges with wrestling programs, McCloud said Iowa Central currently has the tradition.
“They’ve won three national titles in a row and built a tradition over many years,” McCloud said.
The coach is working to start the tradition immediately with several of the top recruits from around the country.
The recruitment started close to home as he signed Spirit Lake Park wrestler Dillon Miner.
Miner finished fourth, second, first and third at the high-school state tournament.
“I think he’s by far the top recruit in Northwest Iowa,” McCloud said. “Also after getting beat at state (his senior year) he’ll be hungry.”
Of the Iowa community colleges that competed in wrestling last season, Iowa Central (Fort Dodge) finished first in the nation, North Iowa Area Community College (Mason City) finished fourth and Ellsworth (Iowa Falls) finished sixth.
DaVaughn Perkins, who earned a national title with NIACC last season, is transferring to Iowa Lakes this year giving it instant credibility.
The Lakers are expected to be deep at 125 pounds with the top-rated recruit Brian Moreno from Santa Ana, Calif. He also is a three-time state champ.
The No. 10 rated wrestler at that weight, Mike Brardesco of Ocean, N.J. also has signed as has the No. 27 wrestler, Luis Rosalez of Madison, Neb.
Other top recruits include 165-pounder Trevor Suter of Paulsboro, N.J., rated No. 3; and Karon Reid, a 141-pounder from Brick, N.J., rated No. 9.
Currently, McCloud has recruits coming in from nearly 20 states, so one of the questions he hears is “Why are they coming to Iowa Lakes?”
Over the past 10 years, McCloud, he has represented the NAIA on the board of directors for USA Wrestling and the National Wrestling Coaches Association. He also has spent the last eight summers conducting camps throughout the U.S.
McCloud said one of the most interesting aspects of this year’s team is combining the youth from all around the country-Jersey kids, those from North Carolina and California.
The Lakers will see all the top teams this year, traveling to seven different states for meets. Besides Iowa, the wrestlers will travel to Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri.
Practice begins Sept. 29 with the region tournament Feb. 15, 2009 at Fort Dodge and the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships Feb. 27-28 in Rochester, Minn.