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Seven Minutes with Brandon Sorensen

By Andy Hamilton, TrackWrestling, 11/10/16, 3:15PM CST


This is the 23rd installment of seven minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars.

Most of the question-and-answer sessions last roughly seven minutes. Hence the name. Iowa 149-pounder Brandon Sorensen earned All-America honors for the second time last season when he placed second at the NCAA Championships, completing a 29-2 season. The junior owns a 69-8 career mark.

Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton recently caught up with Sorensen.

Let’s say wrestling has one governing body and you’re the president, what would you want to change?

If I could change one thing I’d probably try to get more consistent calls, consistent reffing. I’d say the key area is within stalling. If someone is stalling, call it. If I’m stalling, call me. Just call it and let’s get the action going. A lot of guys slow down the match and don’t really just wrestle.

Take me through your pre-match preparation: What’s the typical size of a last-minute weight cut for you? What do you put in your body after you step on the scale? What do you have pumping through your headphones during your warm-up?

My typical weight cut is about two pounds and I look at it as more of a warm-up, too. You go in there about two pounds over, you drill, you get hot, you hit some good, hard executions and get your body going. By the time you’re done with that — it’s about 30 minutes, 45 minutes — you’re down to weight and you step on the scale and make weight. I’ll toss in two bottles of water — two pounds — usually a pound of Gatorade and I’m a cereal guy. I like the Special K with the strawberries or Honey Nut Cheerios. I don’t really drink milk. I feel like that would bloat me up a little bit, so I’ll throw the milk out. I’ll toss in a little fruit and half of a Clif bar. That’s usually consistent throughout the year.

Then I’ll go sit down and relax for about a half hour and while I’m relaxing I’ll keep sipping on water and keep it going through me. Then I’ll do another quick, 10-to-15-minute warm-up. This is more of a quick blast to get hot with some sprints, some hard executions, exploding up off the bottom and maybe some foot-fires to make sure everything’s moving good and I’m feeling good. Before that, I’m sitting there, relaxing and not really listening to music, just kind of hanging out with the guys and then I’ll hit that warm-up and get ready to go.

What’s the last thing you tell yourself before you set your foot on the line?

Just wrestle. Don’t let anything get to you. Just wrestle and stay focused and stay in the match.

What’s one thing your coach yells that you can hear every time?

One thing I always notice is they’ll yell my name and then point at their head (to) be smart or maybe they’ll point down if I’m on top to ride the guy. Those are two things I really notice.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever gone through your mind during a match?

A lot of my matches I’ll almost black out and my body takes over. That’s really when you need to focus and tell yourself to pick up the pace. The weirdest thing that’s probably gone through my head: I’ve definitely had some weird songs stuck in my head, playing over and over. I kind of think: Why is that stuck in my head right now? There’s this Pandora station we sometimes play in the room called Duck Sauce Radio and there’s a song called ‘Big Bad Wolf.’ You’ve got to look that up after this because that’ll give you a good laugh.

If you could go back and re-wrestle any match, which would it be and why?

My freshman year at the NCAAs in the second round. I got knocked off into the back side really early and I feel like I didn’t wrestle that match. I didn’t wrestle to my capability. It was a slow match and it just wasn’t me. That’s one I wish I could’ve had back to continue on the front side and go from there.

What’s the most interesting about you that has nothing to do with wrestling?

I love fishing and enjoy hunting, although I don’t get to do much of it anymore with wrestling season. I really enjoy just riding motorcycles.

What’s your greatest fear?

Probably the ocean. We were just having a conversation in the room. I go on a pretty much yearly salmon fishing trip with some guys — (Sam) Brooks, (Jake) Kadel, my roommate Logan McQuillen — and we go up to Lake Michigan. It’s a pretty big lake and there are some big waves and you get out there pretty far where you can’t see the shore and it’s a little scary.

We’re trying something different with the last part of the series. We’re giving every wrestler the opportunity to ask a question to the next guy we interview. Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers asked: Is it distracting when Tom Brands is wearing the bumblebee outfit and he’s coaching his head off in your corner?

(Laughs). That sweater is awesome. But I think his coaching is one of the best parts of being here. It really shows that he cares about the team and he is invested. Tom’s a guy who won’t give up on you and will give you the shirt off his back. It’s also entertaining to sit back and watch (the Brands brothers) when they are coaching other guys on the team.

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