Aug. 14, 2015
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By CHRIS BREWER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Eight days after announcing the 2015-16 wrestling season will begin with a never before seen event, the University of Iowa and Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau is reminding the world of an upcoming encore.
The local organizing committee for the 2016 Olympic Wrestling Team Trials unveiled IowaCitytoRio.com Friday morning, the host website for a two-day wrestling event that decides the United States Olympic teams at Carver-Hawkeye Arena from April 9-10.
Six wrestlers from three divisions — men’s and women’s freestyle, and Greco-Roman — will advance from Iowa City to Rio de Janeiro and compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a member of Team USA.
All-session tickets go on sale Sept. 14 — two days after the final day of the 2015 World Championships — but until then fans can visit the home page to study hotel options and area information.
“Our community supports wrestling as well as any in the world, and launching this website is just another reminder of the great things to come,” said Josh Schamberger, president of the CVB and a member of the 2012 local organizing committee that first brought the trials to Iowa City. “By all accounts 2012 was the best Olympic Trials that USA Wrestling has ever experienced, and we’re thrilled to bring it back and give it the home it deserves.”
The 2016 Olympic Trials, the anchor of an incredible sixth-month stretch of wrestling, means the upcoming wrestling season has a pair of heavy bookends.
The Hawkeyes announced last week that they will open the season hosting Oklahoma State on Nov. 14 inside Kinnick Stadium. It is the first time in NCAA history two schools will wrestle outdoors in a Division I football stadium.
The event, billed as “Grapple on the Gridiron”, is expected to break an NCAA dual attendance record, set at 15,996 by Penn State in 2013. Early attendance predictions range from 20,000 to 40,000. UI head coach Tom Brands is on the modest end of that spectrum, but knows anything is possible.
“We have fans out there that embrace this sort of thing,” Brands said. “They’re nutty enough themselves, and they’re wrestling purist and enthusiasts.”
The stories in between the beginning and end of 2015-16 aren’t bad either. Somewhere in between Kinnick Stadium and Rio de Janeiro, you can find the Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and the NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden.
The conference tournament is March 5-6 in the house that Gable built. The NCAA Championships are March 17-19 in the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”
“There are a lot of things on the schedule to look forward to, but like every year it doesn’t mean much if we’re not ready to go,” Brands said. “Let’s not take in the excitement. Let’s create the excitement.”
Ticket packages that include the “Grapple at the Gridiron”, 2016 Big Ten Championships, and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials are available for purchase through the UI Athletic Ticket Office and at hawkeyesports.com. Single tickets to “Grapple at the Gridiron” go on sale Oct. 1. All-session tickets to the Big Ten Championships go on sale January 18.