Bill Zadick, an NCAA Champion under Dan Gable, is back in Iowa City as Team USA’s head coach.
One of the nation's premiere wrestling competitions will be contested here in Iowa this fall.
USA Wrestling and Think Iowa City announced Thursday that the 2020 Senior national championships will be held Oct. 9-11 at Coralville's Xtream Arena & GreenState Family Fieldhouse.
The tournament will feature the country's best wrestlers in men's and women's freestyle and Greco-Roman, the Olympic disciplines. It will also be the first major event hosted by the national governing body since the novel coronavirus pandemic virtually wiped out the entire spring and summer schedule.
"USA Wrestling is very excited to again partner with Think Iowa City on another one of our country’s significant wrestling competitions," USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said in a statement. "With their long history of staging some of our sport’s best wrestling events, we are confident that the Senior Nationals will be another one of those awesome experiences for our sport.
"Obviously, we will work closely with the local organizing committee, the local public health officials and others to insure athlete safety is paramount. We are hopeful that this will be a milestone for our sport as we battle back from this worldwide pandemic."
The Iowa City/Coralville area has long been a spot for major USA Wrestling events. Recently, the 2018 UWW Men's Freestyle World Cup was held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, as well as the Olympic Trials in both 2012 and 2016.
The area has hosted U.S. Senior national championships previously, in 1975 and 1977, as well as the 1978 U.S. Senior Greco-Roman national championships and 1983 freestyle world team trials. Carver has also previously hosted the NWCA National Duals, the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
"Senior Nationals will be one of the very first major events we are looking forward to hosting in Xtream Arena," Coralville Mayor John Lundell said in a release. "Our athletes and coaches will know this location well as it is within 100 yards of the hotel they have used during the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Team Trials and 2018 UWW Freestyle World Cup.
"I look forward to welcoming them all to Coralville this October."
Xtream Arena will host other notable wrestling events in the future, including the Dan Gable Donnybrook, a new high school wrestling tournament that organizers hope will become one of the nation's elite prep competitions, and the 2021 Iowa girls' wrestling state tournament, hosted by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.
Much of the wrestling fanfare has come largely thanks to the Iowa wrestling program, which has won 23 NCAA team titles. This past season, the Hawkeyes went 13-0 in duals, won the Big Ten Championships and were the heavy favorites to win another NCAA title while also leading the nation in attendance for the 14th straight year.
Even more, Iowa's Spencer Lee, a two-time NCAA champion, won the 2019 U.S. senior national championships at 57 kilograms (125 pounds) in December to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials, which were then postponed because of the coronavirus.
"We are excited to once again welcome back our friends at USA Wrestling," said Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City. "Our community has been recognized many times over as Wrestling City USA and we aim to keep it that way by helping USA Wrestling deliver another memorable event."
Xtream Arena plans to open in September with a seating capacity of 5,100. The floor will fit six mats. The competition schedule will be finalized by next week. The event will be streamed on Flowrestling. Tickets will go on sale at noon on Aug. 3 at www.xtreamarena.com.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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