An interview by Logan Shanks
Alex Thomsen is wrapping up his third season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, getting 10 matches under his belt. Before becoming a Husker, Iowa-native Thomsen posted a 190-1 record at Underwood High School, making history and winning four state titles. He built up a dominant prep resume and was rated the seventh-best 126-pound wrestler in the nation in his class by FloWrestling.
His deep experience at national events prepared him well for the collegiate stage; in 2017, he became the Junior National Greco-Roman titleholder. Thomsen was also the recipient of two Dan Gable Class 1A Wrestler of the Year awards. During his time at Nebraska, he was qualified for NCAAs in 2020. Here’s what the Chain Wrestling athlete had to say about his career so far:
Q: What made you want to start working with Chain Wrestling?
A: Aden Reeves texted me and was talking about Chain Wrestling and how they had merch coming out, and I thought that was a really cool idea. I liked that I knew the guys personally that were going to be making my clothes.
Q: Take me through some of the most memorable matches in your high school career and how it prepared you for the college level.
A: I treated the state tournament like just a regular tournament, which helped me level it down and feel more relaxed. I was really nervous going into the Fargo finals but it helped me break through barriers in my head and it became easier. Wrestling the bigger events helps you for high school and especially college.
Q: What's your relationship with Ridge Lovett, who is a fellow Chain Wrestling athlete?
A: Me and Ridge are pretty close. I like this swagger that he walks around. Ethan and Grant, the founders of Chain Wrestling, reached out to me about him being interested in his own collection, and Ridge loved the idea. He’s doing a lot of big things right now and I wish him nothing but the best.
Q: Talk to me about what it's like to wrestle at the Devaney Center and what that atmosphere is like.
A: I think our fan base has been growing steadily over the past few years. When we wrestled Penn State my freshman year there were about five or six thousand people there and they were loving it. The fans get behind you whether you win or lose and are really respectful people.
Q: What coach(es) have made the biggest impact on your career?
A: To get me where I am today, I would have to give thanks to the coaches that brought me up which would be: Jake Head, Joe Stephens and Jay Collins. I am still in contact with all three of those guys. Jay brought me up through middle school, then Jake took me under his wing and taught me how to lift correctly. Joe taught me how to be ready for points and taught me how to hand fight.
Q: How special is it to wrestle your whole life in Iowa and then come to Nebraska which are both great wrestling communities?
A: Getting that standing ovation at the state tournament was one of the most surreal moments I've ever had. I never got to slow down in high school but I realized how great fans in Iowa are. I’m really glad Iowa is a wrestling state.
Q: Take me through a typical morning of/ week leading up to a dual or tournament. Pre-match routines and anything you do that helps you prepare.
A: Beginning of the week is normal training, and then depending on how our bodies are doing, the coaches adjust whether to tone things up or down. For the day of, I get up and hit the treadmill at Devaney, go get lunch and chill out, then do our pre-match warm ups and get warmed up. I don’t do any extravagant or superstitious pre-match routines, pretty simple warm-ups.
Q: What/who got you into wrestling and made you stick with it?
A: I tried a lot of sports and I really enjoyed soccer, it was great for conditioning and getting my mind off wrestling when I got older. Wrestling kind of just stuck, my dad brought me to clubs when I was young and when I got older I was beating high school guys and I thought: “I could get really good at this." From there, I just fully bought into wrestling.”
Q: What’s your offseason look like after NCAAs?
A: I’ll do a lot of Greco tournaments if I get a chance. I’ll try and hit the World Team qualifier. I’ll train mainly freestyle but wrestle more Greco tournaments. I’ll probably wrestle three or four tournaments this offseason and the U.S. Open for sure.
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About the author: Logan Shanks
Logan was part of the Ankeny High School wrestling team from 8th grade until he graduated in 2020. He's currently a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa State University. Logan hopes to one day write for a major league sports team and share with the world his thoughts and opinions on multiple sports. More about Logan.