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Iowa coaching staff and fans steer Mocco to sign with Hawkeyes



Wrestling at the Cliff Keen Dream Team Classic in Cedar Rapids Iowa, Blair Academy's Steve Mocco said the Iowa fans made him feel like an Iowan. On Wednesday, the nation's number one recruit gave Hawkeye fans good reason to cheer as Mocco signed with the Iowa wrestling program. The four time national prep champion and three time junior national champion signed with the Hawkeyes over Oklahoma State, Penn and Lehigh. Mocco, who was just voted the outstanding wrestler at the high school nationals in Delaware, cited the Iowa coaching staff and fans as his main factors in choosing Iowa. Mocco said "the tradition, the intensity in the program, the outstanding coaching staff and the commitment, sincerity and the love of the sport the Iowa fans had for wrestling is what made me choose to sign with the University of Iowa." Mocco went on to say "the coaching staff is great and will help me tremendously with technique and conditioning. Being able to work with Wes Hand everyday will help me greatly in preparing for competition." The signing of Mocco is a major coup for the hawkeyes who return only two All-Americans next year. Mocco believes that him and the hawkeyes will be a great fit. Mocco said, "I will do whatever is asked of me. I am excited about what Iowa has to offer. The coaching staff is going to push me to my limit and beyond and I am going to bring to them my work ethic, goals and will to win." Many critics have begun to forecast a downslide for the hawkeyes but the talk did not deter the humble Mocco. When asked if he was concerned about the hawkeyes struggling in the future Mocco said "absolutely not, Iowa has been on top for 20 years and will continue to compete to be number one. Coach Zalesky and Brands will not be satisfied with being second." Mocco added "One of my goals is to help keep Iowa at its elite status and win the NCAA team title." Mocco will add a strong presence to the Iowa line up at heavyweight where Iowa struggled greatly last year. The highly skilled senior brings a rare combination of power, agility and athletic ability for a heavyweight to Iowa City. However, Mocco will enter into the strongest and deepest weightclass in the Big Ten, which was evident by the top three placers (John Lockhart, Tommy Rowlands and Garrett Lowney) at the NCAA tournament all came from the conference and return next season. Mocco, who is one of the most polite and respectful young men you will meet, grew up wrestling in the state of New Jersey and has been winning titles since he first put on a singlet. His older brother Joe was a two-time NCAA qualifier for Brown University. However the biggest influence on the Iowa bound wrestler was the late Dave Schultz. Schultz began working with Mocco twice a week when he was nine years old. It was Schultz, who first brought Mocco to the New York Athletic Club and introduced him to Roman Ruderman. Ruderman, the NYAC Coach has coached Mocco for the past seven years. Mocco is also quick to point out that wrestling for Blair Academy and Coach Jeff Buxton was a great experience and something he will cherish for life. Mocco, who enjoys fishing and hunting when academics and wrestling are not taking up his time, is undecided about what he plans to study in college but is leaning towards education or business. Along with his wrestling goals, his main academic goal for his first year is to build a strong foundation with his education at Iowa. Steve Mocco says that he is looking forward to wrestling in front of the Iowa fans as a Hawkeye next season. The Iowa fans will be looking forward to seeing him over the next four years and really making him feel like an Iowan.
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