Long says he?ll be a Cyclone
Predicament photo by WYATT SCHULTZ National champ: Andrew Long of Creston takes down Donte Butler of Missouri on his way to the Junior Greco-Roman title at 105 pounds this summer at Fargo, N.D. It was his third national championship. Long has verbally committed to Iowa State University.
By LARRY PETERSON
CNA sports editor
Another Long plans to be on the Iowa State campus next fall.
Two-time state wrestling champion Andrew Long of Creston verbally committed to the Iowa State coaching staff during an official visit to Ames last weekend.
Andrew?s brother, Dylan, is also a two-time state champion for Creston and is an assistant coach for Cael Sanderson at Iowa State. Dylan, 27, wrestled at Northern Iowa, where he was a national runner-up.
Andrew can sign a national letter-of-intent in November to formally accept Iowa State?s scholarship offer.
?At times he (Dylan) played a big role, but at other times he didn?t,? Andrew said. ?It was brother to brother. He never told me where I should go. He just gave me background on schools, and what he liked. There was no pressure on me.?
Dylan said he tried to separate the roles of brother and ISU coach during Andrew?s decision process.
?I always think of him first as family,? Dylan said. ?I would not want him to make any choice that he really wouldn?t want to, or that wasn?t right for him. I told him it was totally up to him. Whatever he wanted to do was fine with me. But, I honestly couldn?t see a better place for him, from what I?ve seen in this program since I?ve been here. It?s a great atmosphere, and we are going to be so good here in the next couple years.?
Iowa State finished second in the NCAA Tournament last spring in Sanderson?s first year as coach, with six freshmen in the lineup. Four seniors have to be replaced, including twins Trent and Travis Paulsen of Lewis Central. Trent Paulsen was the NCAA champion at 157 pounds. Another senior was 197-pound national runner-up Kurt Backes.
Long said he enjoyed last weekend?s visit, including being a guest of the wrestling team at the Cyclones? 15-13 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Jack Trice Stadium.
?I was very comfortable there and they showed me a great time,? Andrew said. ?The football game kind of put a cherry on top of it.?
Andrew informed the coaches of his decision before returning to Creston.
?Cael Sanderson asked me if I liked it there, and if I had a good future in mind there,? Andrew said. ?I said, ?yeah, most likely.? Then later (assistant) Tim Hartung said it feels great to be a Cyclone, doesn?t it? I said, ?it sure does!? I watched them practice, and I met with the wrestling academic counselor.?
Long plans on majoring in civil engineering, which was another factor in favor of choosing ISU, an institution known for its strength in the engineering field.
?Actually being in athletics can sometimes help your academics,? Dylan said of the challenging schedule awaiting Andrew. ?So much of your time is scheduled, and there?s (mandatory) study table and academic counselors available.?
Having placed eighth and first twice at the state tournament, Andrew will be seeking his third state title as a senior. The past two seasons he has gone 48-1 and 47-1, losing only to out-of-state wrestlers in a holiday Kansas City tournament, and he ranks 10th on the school?s all-time winning chart with a 129-13 record.
Dylan stands seventh on the list at 135-13, so Andrew has that mark in his sights early in the 2007-08 campaign. The all-time leaders are 2007 senior Caleb Brus and Boone Hayes from the class of 2004, both with 156 wins.
Long is coming off a successful summer campaign. He earned his second national title in Greco-Roman style ? no leg attacks allowed ? and had a 4-2 mark in the Junior Nationals in freestyle at Fargo, N.D. He competed at 105 pounds. Two years ago he won National Cadet titles in both Greco and freestyle at 84 pounds.
Long was eighth and first at 103 pounds in his first two state tournaments, and sailed to the 112-pound title last year over Blake Sorensen of Denver/Tripoli, 21-7. He also won by a technical fall in the 2006 finals, 20-5, over Cory Olson of Denver.
Andrew said he is projected as a wrestler at 133 or 141 as a Cyclone. That would likely match him up in the wrestling room with the likes of associate head coach Cody Sanderson or .... Dylan Long.
Dylan, a member of the Cyclone Wrestling Club who had to take most of the summer off from competition due to bulging disks in his neck, looks forward to working with his brother.
?It will be fun. I?ll be kicking his butt every day!? he said, laughing. ?Actually, he?ll have a lot of really good guys to work with. The way the coaches here coach, it?s just a real positive situation.?
Cael Sanderson was a four-time national champion at Iowa State with a 159-0 record, and went on to earn an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling. He was the featured speaker at last winter?s postseason banquet for the Creston/O-M state championship team.
?I kind of anticipated that he would make that decision,? said Creston/O-M coach Darrell Frain, ?but I thought he might spend a little time looking at other places first. He liked Iowa State even before Dylan went there, so that just added to it.?
Lehigh University was one of the few Division I schools to actively recruit Long. Frain said others possibly thought Iowa State?s inside track to Andrew through Dylan?s presence might have swayed them from more vigorous recruiting.
?I think everybody kind of talked to him, but maybe didn?t pursue it a lot because of that,? Frain said.
Dalton Jensen of Missouri Valley, who joined Long as a national Greco-Roman champion at Fargo at 130 pounds, is also an Iowa State recruit.
Larry Peterson can be reached
at 782-2141, ext. 232