football Edit

Iowa commit Wirfs wrestling with changes during Army All-American Bowl

Iowa commit Tristan Wirfs at Army All-American Bowl practice
Iowa commit Tristan Wirfs at Army All-American Bowl practice (NICK LUCERO |

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Getting back into form for a number of players at the Army All-America Bowl has been part of the preparation for the game, but Tristan Wirfs has had a little more on his plate than others.

Actually, it’s how little he’s had on his plate that has been the story with him headed into the weekend.

Prior to the start of wrestling season, the Mount Vernon, Iowa, offensive lineman weighed-in at 320 pounds. To wrestle this season, he must enter every meet at 285.

“I had to cut 35 pounds,” he said. “That was probably like the hardest thing I ever had to do. The wrestling coach gave me a plan, they just wanted me to wait as late as possible so I wasn’t like dead for this game. I just wanted to finish my wrestling career with a great senior season.”

Wirfs lost that weight for his first meet this year, which came just before having to be in Texas for Army week. Shedding those pounds didn’t seem to hinder him on the mat - he won his first match by pinning his opponent in just seven seconds.

He is playing at 310 this week, but he’ll have to repeat the process again for his next meet. Even just for one game, the thought of staying at his wrestling weight to avoid fluctuating in mass wasn’t really even an option.

“I can’t really stay at 285,” he said. “I’d make weight for a meet, then I’d eat what I brought for after and immediately go back up to 290. So it’s really just not eat too much the day of the meet, workout and then just wait till the next meet to do it again.”

That strategy likely would have gone out the window anyway with the way players are fed at a big all-america game like Army. Just hearing his diet schedule in order to get to his wrestling wait is enough to induce hunger.

“When I was cutting weight I would just have like a cup of a smoothie for breakfast, a solid lunch and then another little cup of a smoothie for dinner,” he said. “We’d have practice after school and then after I would go in the sauna and bring the stationary bike in there.”

Getting into different shape both technically and physically has added an extra element to Wirfs finding his comfort zone during practice, but he said that things are coming along. In Tuesday’s practice, he won two of his three one-on-one reps versus defensive linemen.

“I’ve definitely been shaking off some rust” he said. “Just getting back into the football mindset, getting that pass set back down, but the second day went a lot better than the first and I think I’m doing alright.”

Wirfs said that even with the specific methods and training tailored to wrestling, the coaches at Iowa haven’t raised concern. In fact, he said that the top wrestlers are no stranger to the program at all. The coaching staff had just one simple request.

“They said they support me no matter what,” he said. “They just said they didn’t want me cutting off an arm or a leg to get down to weight. They’ve had a lot of wrestlers on their team and last year they had Austin Blythe and he was a three-time state champion in high school and now he’s in the NFL.”

Wirfs’ Mount Vernon team advanced to the Iowa 2A state semifinals, and capping his career as an all-american makes for a pretty good showing during his senior football season. Once he gets back home, things are all about another senior season.

“I’m like 20 away from 100 wins,” he said. “So hopefully I can get to that after I get back.”