Thomas Gilman spent the past three years crossing the border into Nebraska to attend a high school he felt would enhance his wrestling career.
He won’t be leaving the state for college.
The Council Bluffs native, whose resume includes three Nebraska state championships and a Junior National title, said Tuesday evening that he will attend Iowa. The Omaha Skutt Catholic senior picked the Hawkeyes over Nebraska and Oklahoma State.
“I think it’s the best place to be if you want to be a national, World and Olympic champion,” said Gilman, ranked the No. 5 overall prospect in the Class of 2012 by InterMat. “I think that’s enough said.”
Gilman is the fourth wrestler to commit to Iowa’s 2012 class and the third in two days. He joins a group including two other three-time state champions — Southeast Polk’s Cory Clark and Davenport Assumption’s Topher Carton — and Illinois state champ Sam Brooks.
Gilman and Brooks were teammates in August on the freestyle squad that represented the U.S. at the Cadet World Championships in Hungary. His relationship with Clark goes back further.
“I know Cory real well,” said Gilman, who defeated Clark this summer in a freestyle match on his way to the 119-pound Junior National title. “We’ve wrestled maybe 30 times altogether ever since we were real little. I’d say we’re pretty good friends.”
They could one day become training partners and fixtures in the Iowa lineup at the two lightest weights. Gilman and Clark both project to begin their college careers at 125 pounds and one will likely move up to 133 eventually.
“He spends a lot of time studying different techniques, the Russian wrestlers and the technical things about their style of wrestling and taking what he can from that and a lot of American wrestlers too,” Skutt coach Brad Hildebrandt said. “He’s a great student of the sport. He spends a lot of time watching film and trying to incorporate things into his own style, and I can really appreciate that as a coach.”
For months, Gilman expressed his desire to wrestle for the Hawkeyes, but he dropped Iowa from his list for a brief period this summer after Clark announced his commitment.
“After they picked up Cory Clark, I really wasn’t sure if that was the place to be,” Gilman said. “But then I started thinking about it and that’s what Iowa wrestling is about. They bring in the best guys and have them battle it out and whoever comes out on top is going to be the guy starting and probably winning a national championship. I figured I’d just go there and have the best workout partners, coaches, best facilities, best everything.”