Hawks mine Colorado for two wrestling recruits
Andy Hamilton ? Iowa City Press-Citizen ? May 13, 2009


Joe DuCharme and Phil Sheridan haven't yet gotten to the travel details.

The Colorado state wrestling champions figured out their college choice and selected Iowa. They have their living arrangement settled and plan to room together when they enroll in the fall.

And sometime in the next few months they'll nail down how the 1,000-mile carpool to Iowa City is going to work.

"I'm not exactly sure of that yet," DuCharme said. "I think I'm going to bring my truck out there, so if he wants he can ride along."

The Hawkeyes haven't mined the Rockies for recruits much since they plucked Duane Goldman -- now 17 years into his career as Indiana's head coach -- out of Colorado Springs in 1981.

But Iowa established a link to its latest two recruits through a camp in DuCharme's hometown. During his time at USA Wrestling's Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Iowa assistant Terry Brands worked as a clinician at a camp in Pagosa Springs that DuCharme and Sheridan regularly attend.

"That's how I got involved with the Iowa program," Sheridan said. "I've always wanted to wrestle for the University of Iowa with the way they run their program and the way they develop their athletes. Once (Brands) went there from the OTC in Colorado, I was pretty excited because I knew I was going to have a chance."

Sheridan went 48-1 as a senior at Centuari High School in La Jara and won the 140-pound state title. He placed third as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior before racking up 71 points in four matches at the state meet as a senior on his way to the title.

DuCharme's development took a little longer. He lost nearly as many matches as he won as a freshman before making a gradual rise up the medal stand at the state meet, placing sixth as a sophomore, third as a junior and going 32-0 as a senior.

"I was kind of a late bloomer," he said. "But (the improvement came from) just working hard and doing a lot of stuff over the summer, and a lot of it is I got better coaching as the years went on in high school."

DuCharme and Sheridan grew up nearly two hours apart in communities near the New Mexico border. They met at a wrestling tournament as high school freshmen and became friends.

"We've hung out quite a bit through wrestling," DuCharme said.

They each attracted interest from Wyoming and Division II programs before selecting the Hawkeyes. They join a recruiting class that now has seven wrestlers who combined to win 14 state high school titles.

"I liked everything (about Iowa)," DuCharme said. "The guys are really cool, the coaches, the wrestling, the facilities, the school, everything seems to be a pretty good fit."

Sheridan said there was really never a question about where he would wind up. He said he made up his mind months ago that he was headed to Iowa.

"To tell you the truth, probably last July," he said. "I wasn't really not talking to other colleges, but I had my mind set early on so I kind of shied away from other colleges. I looked a little at the University of Wyoming. There were a few colleges I kept in mind, but the Hawkeyes were always my number one go-to place.

"I had a few offers from Division II schools, but I tried to be as respectful as I could and told coaches I kind of already had my plan, but if it didn't work out, I'd come back to it. But I tried to respectfully turn it down."

Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or ahamilton@press-citizen.com.