Kevin Jackson begins his sixth year as Iowa State’s wrestling coach with three returning All-Americans.
A pair of them – seniors Kyven Gadson and Michael Moreno – have accomplished nearly everything college wrestling has to offer.
“There’s only one more step to take,” Jackson said in reference to winning an NCAA title. “They’re ready to take it.”
Beyond those two, Jackson can also point to five other wrestlers who have qualified for the NCAA Championship.
But, what excites Jackson more than anything is team depth from 125 pounds through heavyweight. He has never had this type of depth at Iowa State.
Former Olympic champion Ed Banach once told me that the practice room provided the best competition he faced during his undergraduate career. When the lights came on, Banach knew he had prepared better than his opponent because of the people he wrestled daily.
That, in reality, was because of depth.
Jackson, I’ll repeat, likes his team’s depth.
“You’ve got to have that challenge, each and every day by a high-level, high-caliber athlete in your weight class” Jackson said at media day this week. “You’ve got to be challenged each and every day so that depth is definitely allowing us to take that next step.”
Depth in the workout room can’t be overlooked. It’s a basic ingredient in top-shelf performance.