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10 Questions with Cayden Rooks

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Cayden Rooks made an immediately impact in his first season in Bloomington. Rooks was second on the team in wins with 21 wins in the 2019-20 season. He tallied a 21-13 overall record, 6-4 mark in dual matches and 4-4 record in Big Ten dual matches.
 
If someone asked you to describe what it's like to compete in the Big Ten for wrestling, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that every week it's a battle. The Big Ten is the toughest conference in the NCAA for a reason.

What is the one habit you have picked up because of the pandemic that you will keep?
I have made it a habit to use hand sanitizer more frequently so I will probably keep that up after the pandemic is over.
 
What is one of your favorite songs that you know all the words to?
That's a tough question haha. I would have to say it's Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton though.

What is your earliest wrestling memory?
The earliest wrestling memory I can think of is practicing at my elementary club for the first couple times and meeting my youth coach. I wouldn't be where I am today without
him.
 
What are some activities you enjoy doing with your teammates outside of wrestling?
Right now, we like to get on a zoom call and play Among Us, an online phone and computer game. We also like to play Call of Duty.

What was it like being in the lineup your freshman season and what do you hope to improve on this year?
It was awesome! I've dreamed of wrestling in the Big Ten ever since I was young so getting to do it as a freshman made it all the  more sweeter. I didn't achieve my goals, but I don't think I could be any more prepared for the rest of my career. In the upcoming season I hope to improve on areas where I struggled last season physically like shot defense or my counter attacks. I would also like to improve where I struggled last season mentally like my self-confidence. There were a lot of times last season where I could've beaten opponents but didn't because I didn't have enough self-confidence.

How did you find creative ways to work out and train during the pandemic this summer?
A friend of mine has a pretty nice barn so we threw some mats in there and we would work out. 
 
Who is a teammate of yours you think will have a breakout season and why?
I think my brother (Graham) is going to have another breakout season. He had his NCAA tournament taken away from him last year so he's hungry to get back there and get on the podium. He also showed that he can battle with the best in the nation.

What is your major at IU and what do you want to do after college?
I am majoring in Psychology. After college I would like to be a Dean at a high school (preferably my old high school) and coach wrestling there as well.
 
What is the best part about being on the IU wrestling team?
I'd say I really have two things that I would consider to be the best part about being on the team. The first best part about being on the IU wrestling team is having the opportunity to work with our coaching staff. These guys know what it takes to be great and they give up a lot of their time for us in case we want to come in and work extra or watch film. The other best part about being on the team is the bond that we all have. A lot of times we describe it as going to war and I wouldn't want any other group of guys to have my back.

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Willham Earns All-America Honors at UWW Junior Nationals

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– IU wrestlers Nick Willham and Jack Chesman competed this past weekend at the UWW Junior Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska.
 
Willham wrestled at 92kg, while Chesman wrestled at 74kg.
 
In the first round Willham beat top 100 recruit Ben Vanadia then proceeded to take down Pittsburgh starter and 2019 top 100 recruit Austin Cooley. He also prevailed against Gabe Christenson, 2020 top 100 recruit and Iowa freshman.
 
Willham, a sophomore who started several matches last year, finished in sixth-place at the tournament.
 
"Nick used this quarantine to his advantage and made huge improvements in his wrestling," IU head coach Angel Escobedo said.  "His effort was tremendous, his defense was really stingy, and he was executing the techniques we have been working on in practice. This is the toughest freestyle tournament for his age group and for him to walk away as an All-American is a great accomplishment. The thing I love about Nick is that he is eager to get back on the mat to keep improving."

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5 hours ago, Class of '66 Old Fart said:

For those of you who are seriously into college wrestling, todays IU vs Illinois match can be watched on BTN starting at noon.

Watched. We are awful in comparison to Illinois.  They absolutely destroyed us.  We won 1 of the 7 or 8 matches I watched. 
 

but we are young.........we actually are.  

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I don't follow the wrestling program that carefully but I looked up the latest team rankings.  Illinois wasn't ranked in the top 25, but the B1G is one tough wrestling conference:

Iowa #1; Penn State #2; Michigan #3; Nebraska #5; Ohio State #7; Minnesota #12; Rutgers #15; Purdue #16; Wisconsin #20; Northwestern #22.

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6 minutes ago, Class of '66 Old Fart said:

I don't follow the wrestling program that carefully but I looked up the latest team rankings.  Illinois wasn't ranked in the top 25, but the B1G is one tough wrestling conference:

Iowa #1; Penn State #2; Michigan #3; Nebraska #5; Ohio State #7; Minnesota #12; Rutgers #15; Purdue #16; Wisconsin #20; Northwestern #22.

Illinois embarrasses us today. Most matches weren’t even competitive.  

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