Looking for Sorensen to ‘blossom’


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Let’s get this straight, Brandon Sorensen did not come out of nowhere this season.

Sure, it’s true that No. 1 seed at 149-pounds in this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament redshirted the 2013-14 season, but don’t make the mistake of disregarding his past accolades. He had 24-4 record competing unattached last year and going back further, he won four individual state championships at Denver-Tripoli High in Iowa.

Impressive, but not nearly as much as his wins over the two reigning NCAA finalists, Oklahoma State runner-up Josh Kindig and last year’s champion, Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis.

With all that, Iowa head coach Tom Brands still wants more.

“We’ve got to get him to open up a bit more in some of these matches coming up here and let that potential blossom,” Brands said. “He’s done a good job, and I look at some wins that he had where he did score takedowns, so we know he can do it.

“He’s an able competitor, but he hasn’t reached his potential.”

What, exactly, that potential is remains to be seen. Sorensen has proved that he can takedown the best (quite literally) and seems to have the work ethic to go along with it.

“I kept working all summer long, all through the season, and I’m still working on things,” Sorensen said. “I really focused on hitting scores, getting to my offense, getting to my attacks.

“I just stuck with it.”

Sticking with it has played out well for him. He overtook junior Brody Grothus for the spot after the Midlands Championships in December 2014 and never looked back.

He still needs a bit of polish, but for being just a redshirt-freshman, his poise has been unshaking and solid.

“He’s someone that you look at who doesn’t get rattled, he’s a very cool customer,” Brands said. “He knows the way he wants to wrestle — that’s fair to say — and he tries to go out and wrestle that way.”

For the most part, he’s succeeded. He’s twice won Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors and went undefeated in conference meets.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s gained the respect of his teammates in the process.

“I don’t think leadership means you have to be a senior,” 184-pounder Sammy Brooks said. “I think there are some guys who are redshirting this year that could be leaders, I think there are guys younger than me; Sorensen, he leads by example; it’s not about age, it’s about what you do and how you back it up.”

Whether or not Sorensen wins this weekend at the Big Ten Tournament, there’s still work to be done if he wants to go all the way to the top.

It’s a tournament he watched last year, waiting for his chance to prove something.

He swears, however, that he wasn’t doing any scouting.

“Scouting? I don’t know about scouting,” Sorensen said. “I’d say that I was more watching our team, and I’m sure it’s going to be similar this year; I’m excited.”

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa wrestling team.

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