Tyler Nixt, All American for Univeristy of Iowa, took a few minutes out of his day to answer some questions about wrestling and to find out what he is up to now…
1. What years did you attend/wrestle at Iowa? I wrestled at Iowa fall 1999 through 2004. I’ll probably forget some, but I think Mike Mena, Jody Strittmatter, Eric Juergens, Mike Zadick, Bill Zadick, Doug Schwab, Lincoln McIlravy, Tj Williams, Joe Williams, Daryl Weber, Lee Fullhart, Chad Lamer and Wes Hand all competed and were in the room at least part of that time. Terry Brands returned to competing and wrestled in 2000 and Ray Brinzer was around for a time in 2000 as well.
2. Did you wrestle in the HWC after graduation? I made a junior world team in 2001 under the HWC while I was still in college. I then wrestled for the HWC for a year after I graduated and used up my NCAA eligibility. I was in grad school at the time. The coaches were Jimmy Zalesky, Mike Duroe, and Troy Steiner. I think Troy and Duroe ran a lot of the practices at the time. I wrestled with Tim Hartung quite a bit in practices too. I only completed a handful of times over that year, but sometimes it would just be another athlete (usually Cliff Moore or Luke Eustice) in my corner. I remember Duroe for sure and I think Jimmy and Troy were probably in my corner some as a well. This was in 2005, so it was the first year of a new Olympic cycle, so there were not as many guys in Iowa City training at the senior level. I am not sure if there was anyone beyond Cliff, Luke, Mike Zadick and myself. Chad Lamer may have still been competing, but I think he was done after 2004. I am a little embarrassed that I don’t recall if there was anyone else that year. We did get a monthly stipend, but it was not a lot of money. I supplemented that with a student job. Stephanie, my fiance’ at the time (now my wife), was working full time, so she was pretty much supporting us along with her parents whose house we lived in with roommates.
3. What events did the club have for fundraising? – I don’t remember any fundraisers other than just requests for donations. There were likely other things, but I don’t recall what they were and if the athletes were involved.
4. Any stories about coaches/teammates etc.. that would make someone smile? There are lots that some might enjoy, but I just go with one that just happened this past year at high school state wrestling. I ran into Royce Alger who was one of my college coaches. He asked me what I was up to and I told him that I am still doing accounting. He says, “Well you know what they say, there are three types of people in the world, those who are good at counting and those who aren’t.”
5. Who was your toughest opponent –either in college or outside of college? – I think I only wrestled one world champion in a match. I had to look up the name (Mehdi Hajizadeh Jouibari) from Iran pinned me at the junior world championships. That year he ended up second at junior worlds then finished 6th in senior worlds losing to Joe Williams that year while Joe got Bronze. The next year (2002) the Iranian won the senior world title in Iran while the US team did not compete. Joe beat the Iranian again in the 2004 Olympics, so I guess you could say Joe was the best I wrestled since he beat the only World Champion I ever wrestled in a match. Joe beat me 3 years in a row at Midlands and again at the Schultz tournament in 2005. He probably had at least100 practice room wins over me as well, so my record against him was not very good.
6. We have the largest HWC club in many years right now– how important is that in the development of collegiate athletes in your opinion? I think having a strong club is very useful, but it is up to the college athlete to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. I think the biggest thing to me is just the different styles and all the knowledge that comes from having a lot of high level athletes available to the college athletes. Even if those athletes are not an actual coach, just having them around creates opportunities to learn through observing that they are doing, talking strategy/technique/training methods, and getting different reactions in live wrestling situations.
7. Tell us about you after you were done competing — what did you do next— bring us up to speed on between then and now– As I mentioned earlier, I was in grad school the same time I was competing under the HWC. I graduated from the masters program in 2005, one year after using up my NCAA eligibility. I actually started working full time in September 2005 and continued training for a couple months and wrestled at the NYAC tournament I think around Thanksgiving time. I finished second to Andy Hrovat in that tournament, but he beat me bad on the scoreboard, so I decided it was time to focus work and give up trying to compete at the same time. I had married my wife Stephanie in August of 2005 and I was working for McGladrey & Pullen which is a public accounting firm in Iowa City at the time. I stayed there for a few years, then took a job at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I was there for only about 18 months until I took the CFO at McComas-Lacina Construction in Iowa City where I have been now for about 5 1/2 years. Stephanie and I have four kids (two boys and two girls) ages 10 to 4. They all like to try a lot of things, so we stay busy with their activities.
8. Do you still follow the sport? The Hawkeyes/HWC etc? – I still follow wrestling, just not as closely as I used to. I help out coaching youth wrestling in West Liberty where our family lives. I try to get to the home Iowa meets, but don’t always make it due to family obligations. I watch quite a bit more on TV or online than what I watch live. I was able to make it to the World Cup this year, and that was good. I was disappointed like most people that Russia and Iran were not there, but it was still good to see that level of wrestling competition right here in Iowa City.
10. Whats your recollection of the loudest Carver Hawkeye arena was when you were there live? – I was in the arena, but in the coaches office when Mike Zadick beat Reggie Wright at nationals in 2001. I remember being able to hear the crowd from the coaches office. A few others times that stick out are Joe Johnston pinning Luke Becker and Ryan Fulsaas beating Damion Hahn in the same dual meet when Steve Mocco was out. Ryan Morningstar as a freshman beating one of the Paulsons and Daniel Erickson beating Kurt Backes are a couple more that stick out to me.
Thank you Tyler!