Cascade's Aidan Noonan ends Adam Allard's bid for four state titles by winning the Class 1A 126-pound state title. The Des Moines Register


This was supposed to be a big spring and summer for Aidan Noonan.

A rising senior at Cascade, Noonan made history in February when he defeated West Sioux’s Adam Allard in the Class 1A state final at 126 pounds. He’s the first Iowa wrestler ever to beat a three-time state champion going for a fourth title.

The victory rocketed Noonan up national big boards. He is considered the No. 175 overall prospect in the 2021 class by MatScouts. Colleges are calling, and a strong showing during the summer months could’ve helped him become a consensus top-100 recruit.

But the coronavirus had other plans, canceling every big national wrestling event that’s normally planned for the spring and summer. Because of that, wrestlers hoping to be recruited won't get as many opportunities this summer.

So instead of competing at a slew of national tournaments, meeting coaches and taking college visits, Noonan is just wrestling with his brother every day at home.

“We have a full-sized mat in our barn,” Noonan told the Des Moines Register. “We are pretty fortunate to have that. I’m not sure when I’ll compete again.

“I’ve been getting calls and stuff, but it’s hard because of the dead period. I can’t visit any schools right now.”


Cascade’s Aidan Noonan defeats West Sioux’s Adam Allard 4-2 to win the 126 pound match in 1A. Noonan, a junior, scored 3 near fall points with 5 seconds left to stop Allard from winning his 4th state title. The Des Moines Register

The coronavirus shut down sports nationwide in mid-March. The start of the Iowa high school baseball and softball seasons garnered national attention this week, leading team sports’ slow-and-steady return, ahead of even professional sports leagues.

Wrestlers, especially those hoping to get recruited this summer, are facing a different kind of challenge.

USA Wrestling, the sport’s governing body, offers many regional and national events throughout the spring and summer months — national dual competitions, age-level world team trials, national championships, among others. College coaches routinely attend each to evaluate and recruit.

But in late April, USA Wrestling postponed all regional tournaments, age-level world team trials and national dual competitions. A month later, it canceled the 16U and Junior freestyle and Greco-Roman national championships, arguably the biggest and toughest high school wrestling tournaments in the country.

What’s more, the NCAA implemented a recruiting dead period that’s been extended to July 31, banning in-person contact between coaches and wrestlers. Electronic communication is allowed — texts, phone calls, video chats — but visits are not.

“Both on and off the mat, the recruiting situation is unprecedentedly frustrating and difficult,” Willie Saylor, the lead writer and talent evaluator at MatScouts, wrote last month.

He continued: “No events means virtually no evaluations. And that's devastating to an industry predicated on two things: prospects and development.”