The IA Wrestle team has gone through the performances of all of the wrestlers at the NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA level and after some deliberation we have named Iowa State’s 197 pound senior Kyven Gadson as our inaugural winner of College Wrestler of the Year.

As a prep Gadson was a three time state finalist and two time state champion for the Waterloo East Trojans guided by his coach and father Willie Gadson. Gadson’s college career flourished early as he defeated returning round of 12 wrestler Joshua Ihnen of Nebraska in his first college tournament, but was hampered by injuries most of his redshirt season. His freshman year ended quickly as he suffered a shoulder injury in his first home dual. The loss is the only time Gadson ever lost in a dual for the Cyclones, and has a pretty big asterisk next to it.

Gadson’s sophomore campaign saw a 30-5 season, with a 6th place NCAA finish. Gadson was bounced from the championship bracket 2nd round by Oklahoma State’s Blake Rosholt before coming back strong on the backside with 3 straight victories to reach the consolation semi-finals, eventually placing sixth. The 2012-13 season took great strain on Kyven, as we lost the legendary Willie Gadson just a day after Kyven captured his first of three Big 12 championships.

The 2013-14 season saw a 30-4 season for Gadson, and a fourth place NCAA finishes. All 4 losses came at the hands of Minnesota wrestler Scott Schiller. Gadson lost to Schiller in both the third place match and in the championship quarterfinals. Gadson ended his career with a bang and a tremendous season in the 2014-15. Gadsons lone loss came to Spencer Johnson of Nebraska early in the Southern Scuffle, but was perfect the remainder of the season. Gadson earned a Cliff Keen Las Vegas title early in the season, defeating his nemesis Scott Schiller.

Gadson dominated competition late in the season; scoring bonus through Big 12’s and NCAA’s in all but one match. Gadson entered the 2014-15 season as the 3 seed, annihilating opponents en route to a title. Gadson scored a 19-4 tech fall, a fall, a 12-2 major, a 4-1 decision and a fall en route to his national title. Gadson trailed Junior World Champion Kyle Snyder 1-0 early his title bout when he hit his patented “Gadson” throw, securing the fall almost immediately. The Iowa State legend scored 26.5 team points for the cyclones, the most of any individual wrestling at the NCAA championship.

Other Nominees – DI: Cory Clark (Iowa) – The former Southeast Polk Ram Clark finished up a great year for the Hawkeyes with great national tournament. The sophomore was runner up at 133 pounds, dropping the final match to Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer. Clark earned All-American honors for the second year in a row and racked up 30 wins against only six losses. He won The Midlands Championship, collecting a major decision and pinfall along the way. He went 13-4 in dual meets and had a 12-6 record against ranked opponents.

DII: Zeb Wahle (Maryville) – Former Lewis Central prep Wahle completed the season with a 29-7 record and a runner-up finish at the Division II National Championships.  Of those 7 losses 4 came to Division I opponents, with the other 3 coming to eventual National Champ Joey Davis (Notre Dame College, OH).  In addition to Wahle’s talents on the mat he was named a 1st team All-Academic selection for his efforts in the classroom.

DIII: Farai Sewera (Coe College) –  As only a junior Sewera became just the 3rd wrestler in the history of Coe College wrestling to win a national title as he claimed the D3 title at 165 pounds. Sewera came into the D3 national tournament as the #2 seed after suffering his only D3 loss on the season to Andrew Steiert of Wartburg in the 2nd sudden victory period at the Central Region qualifier. At NCAA’s Sewera rattled off four victories including a 9-4 win over Tyler Schneider of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the final. Sewera finished the year 29-2 and posted six major decisions, three technical falls and three falls during the season.

NAIA: Ryak Finch (Grand View) – The senior former top 100 recruit capped off his terrific career as a two-time NAIA champion for the Vikings finishing his two year career 55-0. Finch was Grand View’s fourth two-time NAIA champion and was later joined in the same club by Brandon Wright. Finch was dominant all through his tournament as he won every match by bonus on the way to his second title and finished his career with a 10-1 win over Aaron LaFarge of Oklahoma City. Grand View captured national titles in both of Finch’s seasons.

NJCAA: Tyler Hoffman (Iowa Central Community College) – The former 195 pound state champion from East Buchanan high school made waves this season on the junior college level when he cut down to 184 pounds and beat out the #5 ranked Bryce Fisher for the starting spot. Hoffman went on to win the JUCO title in exciting fashion and he didn’t take the easiest road there. His first match of the tournament was a hard fought 11-8 decision over #2 ranked Brock Warren of NEO. Hoffman followed that with a technical fall and a fall to reach the finals against Ellsworth’s #1 ranked Matt Hurlford. In his finals match, Hoffman hit a spladle and pinned Hurlford, to win the 184 crown, and pushed his tournament point total to a team high 25.5 points.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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