A Look Inside Salt Company

By Ashley Ruden

Salt Company is a weekly gathering about celebrating Jesus as a family on Thursday nights at Cornerstone Church in Ames.

For more than 40 years, Salt Company has been a big part of the Iowa State Community.  It started off as a small bible study of 12 students led by Jack Owens.

“We meet in Cornerstone Church, which is an auditorium that holds 1,793 people, which is crazy,” said Mark Vance, director of Salt Company.


The worship band playing to the Salt student crowd during a Thursday night gathering.

Vance has been the director of The Salt Company at Iowa State since 2012.

“I love it here at Iowa State, Salt Company is a huge part of my life and for it to be one of the largest student ministries in the country is absolutely amazing,” Vance said.

Salt has smaller group meetings throughout the week for the people seeking a more personal setting for worship and discussion; these are called connection groups.

In connections groups, the students talk about what was covered in salt and apply it to their lives, as well as discuss the bible. They are held at various times throughout the week and usually take place at one’s home or in dorms around Iowa State’s campus.  These groups can range from 8-12 sometimes even more.

“Connection group is a place to grow in your faith or to seek out your faith,” Jaclyn Repplinger, student leader of Salt Company said.  “It is a place to be in community with others who want to love and live for Jesus.”

Aside from connection groups and Thursday night gatherings, Salt Company has three different retreats you can attend throughout the year.  They also usually have some type of mission trip you can go on over the summer.


Director Mark Vance speaks to Salt Company on a Thursday night service. Photo credits Salt Company website.

All people are welcome to Salt no matter what background they have.  They’re very open and accepting.

“What I like most about Salt is that they talk a lot about not needing to be perfect and how it is okay to be broken and that Jesus loves us anyways.” Molly Fink, Salt attendee said.

To put on a gathering as big as Salt Company, it takes a lot of people to make everything flow.  Salt has about 20 executive members, and many student leaders to help put on the Thursday night gatherings of about 1,200 people.

“Our student leaders are really important to us, without them we wouldn’t be able to put on our Thursday night gatherings or have many connection groups,” Vance said.

Salt Company is always eager to get new people to walk through the doors of Cornerstone Church, if you ever get the option to experience it they encourage you to step through those doors and give it a shot.

“I got involved my freshman year because my sister was involved in salt, Repplinger said. “She was a leader and always talked about how great it was so when I came to college I wanted to try it out and I loved it instantly.”


Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson coaches USA Cadet team

By Ashley Ruden

Iowa State head wrestling coach Kevin Jackson and the USA Cadet wrestling team are back in the US from the World Championships, and they did not empty-handed.

Jackson is a very competitive, humble coach that has always had passion for not only his wrestlers but USA wrestling as well.

Before becoming Iowa State’s head wrestling coach in 2008, Jackson had previously coached the National Freestyle USA wrestling team from 2001-2008.  He himself has also been a two-time World Champion (1991, 1995) and an Olympic gold medalist (1992.)

Jackson believes he will always be apart of the Olympic wrestling movement.

“I have a passion for freestyle wrestling, I find going and coaching these young kids refreshing,” said Jackson.


Iowa State wrestling room where Coach Jackson and assistants coach their college athletes.

Wrestlers on the Cadet team are 16 years old and younger. Training began in early June and Jackson was gone a lot throughout the summer at training camps helping these guys prepare for the Cadet World Championships in Tbilsi, Georgia, in mid September.

The returning world champions for the United States are 220-pound wrestler Gable Steveson and 139-pound wrestler Yianni Diakomihalis; needless to say coach Jackson had high expectations for his team this year.  The wrestlers exceed his expectations, 4 out of the 10 wrestles came back to the United States with medals.  The wrestlers are held to high expectations because coach Jackson wants to see the United States become the best wrestling country in the world.

Coach Jackson was gone a lot throughout the summer and the beginning of this school year attending several different training cramps with the USA Cadet team.  As for Iowa State wrestling, preseason recently began not too long ago.

“I’ve been in and out a lot the past couple of months, for weeks at a time and my guys do a fabulous job keeping things running around here,” Jackson said.

Assistant coaches Travis and Trent Paulson and volunteer coaches Angel Escobedo and Kyven Gadson know how coach Jackson wants things done in the wrestling room.


2015 Cadet World champion Yianni Diakomihalis, wrestles under coach Kevin Jackson at this year’s world championship. Photo Credits: TheMat.com

“KJ gives his assistants a big piece of the program so if he ever is gone, he knows nothing is going to skip a beat,” said assistant volunteer coach Angel Escobedo.

This wasn’t coach Jackson’s first time out of the country but for many wrestlers on the team, it was.

“Seeing how some of these guys that have never been in a foreign country before adapt to the amenities was very interesting and fun to watch,” said Jackson.

“It was a real privilege getting to coach these guys and see them compete, Jackson said.  “The overall experience was a lot of fun and I think that’s where I’m going to hang my hat on.”