By James Geerdes
It’s always business when it comes to Iowa’s lone senior in the lineup, Brandon Sorensen.
When asked about his first match in the black and gold singlet, he smiles, but only for an instant before explaining his takeaways from his win.
“I was almost a little too hyped, I guess you could say,” he said. “That’s one thing that I really have to focus on: staying calm and relaxed. I look back at that match, and I had a 6-point lead. I ended up winning 7-6 or something like that.”
That was four years ago. Feb. 4 will mark Sorensen’s final appearance in Carver-Hawkeye on the team’s Senior Night.
Sorensen, along with Phillip Laux and Logan McQuillen, make up Iowa’s three seniors in the wrestling room. But Sorensen has always been the standout. As Iowa’s only competing senior, he has emerged as a leader on the team through his work ethic and performances.
Since his first match as a Hawkeye, Sorensen has quietly piled up accolades.
He placed fourth at the NCAA Championship his freshman year. The next season, he finished second at the NCAAs. His junior season, he finished third.
He’s a three-time All-American and a three-time Midlands Champion, and he boasts an overall record of 116-13.
Sorensen has preached calmness and not letting the stage get to him. His work-oriented demeanor is a tribute to who he is as a wrestler, said head coach Tom Brands.
The 149-pounder has been a rock in the middle of Iowa’s lineup his past four seasons. He makes up a back-to-back punch with teammate Michael Kemerer, who wrestles at 157. The pair has a combined 21-0 record this season.
“[Sorensen and Kemerer] are the leaders because of their credentials, and they bring the same kind of life into that room that everybody else does,” Brands said. “They might have a little bit of a different method, but they bring that same life.”
The senior’s method may be quieter than his counterparts, but his credentials don’t lie.
“[Sorensen’s] a super consistent wrestler,” Kemerer said. “He’s the same guy every time he steps in the room, the same guy every time he steps on the mat for competition. Just that consistency. He has that high standard, and he holds it all the time … He’s someone that I’ve learned a lot from watching and wrestling. He’s a great guy to have on the team.”
Sorensen has embodied the Iowa mentality. Brands often refers to his senior as someone who puts his head down and works. This has led the Cedar Falls native to 31 major decisions, 12 tech falls, and 21 pins so far in his Iowa career.
“He’s very diverse in what he can do out there,” Brands said. “He’s got a motor. He’s very disciplined. He speaks very softly, and he carries a big stick. He’s a true Hawkeye. For years, he’s given everything with very little downtime, if any.
“And you look at it more importantly, not one ounce of drama. Not one ounce of alcohol violations or anything where it was conduct-related. All loyalty. All loyalty to the cause and a true leader by example.”
Sorensen’s final match in front of the home crowd will be against Northwestern’s fifth-ranked Ryan Deakin, a fitting close for the Iowa wrestler who never turned down a challenge. In last year’s meeting, Sorensen won a 12-4 major decision.
“[Sorensen’s] a lunch-pail guy; he doesn’t need a new facility,” Brands said at Iowa wrestling’s media day in October. “All he needs is a mat and a little bit of heat with a roof over his head, and he’ll be just fine.”