By ANDY HAMILTON
Iowa City Press-Citizen
One of the most sought-after wrestling recruits in the country has said “yes” — to Iowa.
Cory Clark, who will continue his unbeaten run at a potential fourth state championship this winter for Southeast Polk High School, committed Sunday to compete for the Hawkeyes.
“I felt like it was the best pick,” Clark said. “I liked their style of wrestling and I feel like I wrestle a similar style to the Hawkeyes — so it won’t be a big change for me.”
In three seasons at Southeast Polk, Clark owns a 133-0 record. He won his first 10 matches at the state meet without surrendering a point and entered a 119-pound state semifinal match in February with Waverly-Shell Rock’s Eric DeVos — a 2010 state champ — allowing only three career takedowns and no reversals before surviving for a 7-6 win.
Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Wisconsin also recruited Clark, he said.
“I like their mentality,” Clark said. “It seems like a lot of good wrestlers come out of Iowa because of the hard workouts they put you through. You develop a really good work ethic.”
Clark said he’s projected to wrestle at 125 pounds for Iowa, which returns senior Matt McDonough — a 2010 national champion and 2011 national runner-up. McDonough will be a senior when Clark arrives on campus in the fall of 2012.
The chance to train with McDonough during a possible redshirt season thrills Clark.
“I was like, ‘Dude, that would be sweet to have a whole year with a national championship-caliber wrestler’ before I got to compete — hopefully,” he said.
Clark’s decision to commit to Iowa locks down two of the top high school wrestlers in the nation to in-state programs.
Roosevelt’s John Meeks — also unbeaten at 125-0 with a shot at a fourth state championship — committed to Nebraska, but changed his decision and will attend Iowa State.
Meeks is expected to compete at 133 or 141 pounds in college.
This winter, Clark and Meeks — who train together — will try to join the state’s most elite group. Only five wrestlers in history have finished their high school careers unbeaten.