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It's all about belief



Tonight at Carver Hawkeye the arena exploded in thunderous applause for the local underdog Mike Zadick. Zadick was wrestling the #1 seed, Reggie Wright from arch-rival Oklahoma State in a critical second round match. With every shuck, shot, lunge and counter the pro-Hawkeye faithful held their collective breath and roared its' approval for each Iowa point. The Zadick fanatics, screamed with the faithful, tears rolling down their cheeks from the pressure packed excitement of the biggest bout of the tournament so far. Zadick started slowly giving up two early takedowns….but then, it happened. Late in the match with Zadick needing two critical takedowns he exploded for one score and then with the clock winding down inside of fifteen seconds left Zadick drilled another two point score to tie the match. But as the avid wrestling fan knows if there is time left on the clock a Hawk will find a way to win---and Zadick did just that. Zadick quickly hit a turn----the crowd erupted into a deafening ovation for the giant head to head victory. It was loud in Carver-Hawkeye and the victory was an all too familiar scene for the opponents of the Hawkeyes, the most dominant college team, in any sport, over the past 25 years. Why does it happen? When the pressure is on, time and time again, the Hawkeye finds a way to win. Terry Brands had to have an unfamiliar feeling when he returned to Iowa City this week. Brands is an enormous part of the Hawkeye mystique, but now he has moved on from his alma mater to assist in coaching duties for the University of Nebraska. When Brands was asked if he has heard Carver that loud before, a wry smile crossed his face, "I have, the Hawks have been doing this for years." Brands knows what it takes to be a part of the Gable legacy, but now it seems Head Coach Jimmy Zalesky will continue to keep this perennial championship program at the top. Brands knows why the Hawks keep winning, like they did, opening the tournament with a perfect 17-0 mark on Thursday. "It all comes down to belief. The coaches, the wrestlers, the Hawkeye program in general they believe." As Brands begins to talk he reverts back to the fire of a competitor from years ago. He's in that Hawkeye zone. The words begin to roll out of his mouth, building up speed like it's a drill of a familiar takedown. "These guys believe, they won't let up, this is the time of the year when it has to matter more to you. All the training and effort of a season goes into this meet. This is not a time when you quit. You step up and wrestle harder." As Brands keep his fire building he focuses in on the coaching. "These wrestlers listen to their coaches 100% of the time, always, always, and they won't let up for anything. It's the light switch; you throw that switch and these guys will find a way to get it done. They aren't satisfied with a close loss; they aren't here for that at all. You wrestle to be a champion that's what you do, that's it." The transition to Nebraska surely is different for Terry Brands. Nebraska has been a consistent team, jockeying for position in the top ten and occasionally moving in the elite teams of the top five. Losing is not a comfortable thought to Brands, so is not battling for a team title. However, Brands speaks positively of the team he's worked with from Lincoln. "I wouldn't trade this Husker team for any of the ones that I coached in Iowa City." Unfortunately, the Huskers day started badly as Jason Powell at 125 pounds, the #4 seed and the Big 12 Champion was pinned by Tommy Hoang of Duke after leading. Powell then lost his wrestleback and was eliminated from the tournament. For Brands, it was a disappointing end to Powell's freshman campaign. "I have no doubt in my mind that Jason is the toughest guy in that weight class, but he doesn't believe it yet. When he believes it you're going to see the fire in him and he will win every time he steps on the mat." The Husker fans are hoping to see a program on the move under the enthusiastic coaching of Head Coach Mark Manning, Brands, Tolly Thompson, Steve Hamilton, and Eric Akin. "We'll get there we've got to keep building teams to dominate, like what Iowa's been doing. The only way teams will pass up Iowa is to coach and wrestle to dominate, that's it, nothing less than that." The Hawkeye team continues to be the measuring stick for all other programs to compare themselves to. Other teams are trying to move to that level. Terry Brands is looking to duplicate that success at Nebraska now, as he cuts off the questions he says, "I gotta go-Vering's going to go out and get a pin." Vering advanced easily in his second round match but the pin Brands spoke of was elusive. Afterall, though, it's about belief. This article provided as a service of the USA Wrestling National Coaches Education Program. Contact Ted Witulski for more information about Copper, Bronze, Silver and Gold level coaching certification.
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