IOWA CITY — Brandon Sorensen is a lot like the pet macaw that greeted Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands as he recruited the Hawkeye senior — persistent.
Brands received an introduction to the bird named Chewie as he recruited the three-time all-American, visiting the Denver graduate’s rural Cedar Falls family home.
"It was a mean son of a gun," Brands said. "It was one of those things if he doesn’t like you he is going to peck the living dog out of you, so I stayed away from it. I think that humanized me a little bit with the family."
Preparing for the final home duals of his Iowa career this weekend, Sorensen doesn’t dispute Brands’ description.
He said the bird is aptly named.
"It’s a big bird. We named it Chewie because it chews everything up, everything," Sorensen said. "If he likes you, he likes you. If not, it can be a mean bird."
The same can be said for the Hawkeyes’ 149-pounder, who carries a 116-13 career record into competition this weekend, including a 16-0 record this season as the nation’s second-ranked wrestler in his weight class.
Working to become just the 20th four-time all-American in Hawkeye history, Sorensen has found success either pecking away at opponents or simply dominating them.
His record this season includes three technical falls, three major decisions and five falls. Seven of his wins have come against ranked opponents, including precision-filled 4-2 decisions over third-rated Justin Oliver of Central Michigan in the finals of the Midlands Championships and Ohio State’s sixth-ranked Ke-Shawn Hayes.
"He’s one of the more diverse wrestlers we’ve had offensively," Brands said. "He’s super competitive, but he speaks softly and carries a big stick. That is probably how he has represented our program the best. He is a true Hawkeye. Over five years, he has given us everything."
Sorensen will help lead the seventh-rated Hawkeyes into competition in an 8 p.m. dual today against 18th-ranked Minnesota and at 10 a.m. on Sunday in a match-up at Carver-Hawkeye Arena versus 17th-rated Northwestern.
One of three seniors on the roster of a 9-2 Iowa team and the lone full-time starter in the game, Sorensen will be honored following the final home dual of the season on Sunday along with part-time 133-pound starter Phillip Laux and back-up 157-pounder Logan McQuillen.
His energies are centered on winning a national championship after placing fourth, second and third at the NCAA Championships in the last three seasons.
But for now, Sorensen’s thoughts are centered on the Golden Gophers and finding a way to help Iowa bounce back from consecutive dual losses to Ohio State and Michigan.
"The next match is the only thing that matters to me," he said. "That’s always been the way I’ve approached things."
Brands has an appreciation for that, calling the four-time Iowa state high school champion one of the most coachable wrestlers he has worked with during his 12 seasons.
"It’s a tribute to how he was raised. He comes from rural Iowa, good work ethic, and it has positioned him well to accomplish big things in our sport," Brands said. "He’s a true Hawkeye."