• Name: Ethan Andersen
• Class: 2016
• School: Southeast Polk
• Projected college weight: Heavyweight
• High school record: 138-11
• Why he’s one of the Iowa Eight: Andersen might have the highest ceiling in this group, although he’s had occasional head-scratching bouts that don’t match up with his talent level. When he’s on top of his game — like he has been the past two years at the state tournament when he registered five pins and downed his other three opponents by a collective 35-13 margin — he’s as good as any big guy in the country.
The two-time 220-pound state champion employs an unconventional skill set for a heavyweight prospect, utilizing lightweight-like scrambling skills to put opponents in danger. Andersen said he crafted his style by wrestling throughout the summer, making gains on the mat while many other top upper-weight prospects prepare for football.
The Southeast Polk star is 94-1 during the past two high school seasons with more than 70 pins. His resume also includes a Greco-Roman Fila Cadet World Championships appearance and a Folkstyle Nationals title.
• Upcoming season outlook: Andersen said he turned down the chance to spend his senior year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and passed on opportunities to leave Southeast Polk for private national powerhouse programs on the East coast. One decision still needs to be made: 220 or heavyweight? Andersen said he’s undecided which class he’ll compete in as a senior. Whichever weight he picks, he’ll likely be favored to claim his third state title. But that’s not the only goal Andersen is targeting. He said he wants to break the Southeast Polk single-season takedown record that Missouri All-American Willie Miklus set in 2012 when he piled up 368.
• Future prospects: Andersen committed last year to Missouri.
• Quotable: “When he’s persistent about going to the next (move) and the next and the next, people absolutely cannot keep up with him. … What makes him so dangerous is he’s naturally a bloodthirsty pinner. He’ll go to his back to put you on yours. He’ll sacrifice position almost every time to go for the pin, and that’s really unexpected for big guys in particular.” — Southeast Polk assistant Jessman Smith
ABOUT THIS SERIES
The Iowa Eight is the Register’s preseason list of the eight best wrestlers in the state of Iowa. Incoming freshmen through seniors are eligible. The team is selected based on Register staff observations and consultation with high school and college contacts. The Register will have additional Iowa Eight lists for key boys’ and girls’ sports throughout the year.