The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Feb. 16.
Tristan Wirfs’ dream of a state title
A competitor must win four matches in a three-day span against the state’s best wrestlers to claim an Iowa high school state championship.
The intensity, pressure and nerves seemingly double with each match as 16,110 wild and raucous fans fill the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
One slip-up or miscalculation can land a wrestler on their back, state title dreams gone as quickly as it takes the ref’s hand to hit the mat.
Yes, trying to win the state tournament, which begins Thursday, is a grueling task. Yet, it may not be the toughest thing Mount Vernon High School’s Tristan Wirfs goes through this wrestling season considering he dropped 37 pounds.
Now, as he tries to claim the Class 2A heavyweight crown, Wirfs is using what he went through in November and December to fuel him this weekend.
“With the work that I put in to cut weight that would be the ultimate payback,” the Iowa offensive lineman signee said.
Wirfs is familiar with state. This is his third time making it to Des Moines.
What he isn’t familiar with is outlasting the field. He didn’t earn a top-8 finish in either of his previous trips.
Now? He isn’t settling for taking home just any state medal.
“I didn’t make the podium and that was a pretty big letdown for me,” Wirfs said. “A title would be huge.”
One is a possibility. He is 17-3 on the season and ranked the No. 2 Class 2A heavyweight by The Predicament.
A very favorable draw helps, too. Wirfs will open with Creston High School’s Cody Tanner, who is 29-11. He won’t face a ranked wrestler until at least the semifinals where either No. 6 Ethan Lape of North Fayette Valley or No. 7 Nic Hoefling of Spencer could be waiting.
Top-ranked Spencer Trenary of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows is on the other side of the bracket, along with the Nos. 3-5 wrestlers in the Predicament rankings.
Nothing is guaranteed at state. Wirfs knows as much. He just hopes weight is the only thing he drops this week while eyeing that championship.
Combing through the NFL Combine invites
Four Iowa Hawkeyes are heading to the NFL Combine.
It’s good news for QB C.J. Beathard, DT Jaleel Johnson, CB Desmond King and TE George Kittle. But the invite likely means more for Kittle than the others.
Beathard, Johnson and King were invited to the Senior Bowl, but Kittle wasn’t. His highlight reel is impressive, especially when run-blocking, but it is limited. Injuries derailed the second half of his season.
A combine invite could indicate the NFL may be higher on Kittle than the draftniks, who project him as a late-round pick. A strong performance at the combine, with every NFL team in attendance, would ensure that draft status and help him overcome a senior season that didn’t go as he hoped.
Peter Jok, the finalist
Peter Jok was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS award on Wednesday. The award is given to a senior “who excel both on and off the court.” The judging criteria consists of four categories: community, classroom, character and competition.
Also, Iowa is hosting a “Whiteout” against Illinois on Saturday (1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET, BTN). Fans are encouraged to wear white shirts to Carver Hawkeye-Arena.
Lots of links
- The new Iowa football staff looks to add consistency to the offense and in recruiting.
- Thomas Gilman found new motivation in his quest for an NCAA wrestling title.
- Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman and the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Marc Morehouse discussed the new coaching staff in the latest OnIowa podcast.
- New Iowa football coaches Tim Polasek and Kelton Copeland will make a combined $550,000 in 2017, Morehouse reports.