By James Geerdes
Iowa held its first wrestle-offs since 2012 to help decide its lineup for the upcoming season, trying to relieve uncertainty surrounding some weight classes.
“When you have six returning All-Americans, you know who your team is,” Brands said in a release. “There is a lot that we don’t know right now. We have a number of unknowns, and we have a number of unknowns at the same weight.”
After finishing fourth at the NCAA Tournament with 97 points last season, the team wants to build on last year, even after losing NCAA champion Cory Clark and UWW world silver medalist Thomas Gilman to graduation.
Iowa returns senior Brandon Sorensen at 149 pounds and Michael Kermerer at 157 at the heart of the lineup. NCAA qualifiers Joey Gunther, Cash Wilcke, and Sam Stoll also return for the Hawkeyes.
Wrestle-offs provide insight into the team’s bests, with each weight class being contested.
“You can define unknown three ways,” Brands said in a release. “Who is going to be where? Is a true freshman is going to wrestle? How are injuries coming around? I’m excited for all of it.”
Injury wise, junior Stoll returned after missing parts of his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He won at 285, with a brace on his knee, topping freshman Aaron Costello, 2-0.
Freshman Jacob Warner emerged as a top Hawk when he worked his way through the 197-weight class bracket to win after beating returner Wilcke, 4-3.
Freshman Justin Stickley also showed dominance. Wrestling in Gilman’s weight class of 125, he won his two matches against Perez, 13-3 and 15-0, to emerge as what seems to be Iowa’s go-to man for that weight class.
Highly recruited 125-pound freshman Spencer Lee did not wrestle this past weekend. Sophomore Paul Glynn won 133’s bracket to fill the large shoes of Clark.
Sophomore Vince Turk won the 141-pound bracket after beating freshman Carter Happel. Sorensen and Kermerer captured their weight classes. Senior Logan McQuillen won at 165, and sophomore Gunther won at 174. At 184, junior Mitch Bowman beat Myles Wilson.
Iowa will host the Iowa City Duals on Nov. 17 at Carver-Hawkeye, facing off against Iowa Central Community College, Buffalo, and North Dakota State.