By Taylor McNitt
On Nov. 11, Iowa wrestling took a previously unscheduled trip to Decorah, Iowa, to participate in the Luther Open. No surprises there; Iowa dominated.
The most important thing about the Hawkeyes’ performances was insight.
Four true freshmen — Justin Stickley (125), Max Murin (141), Jacob Warner (197), and Aaron Costello (285) — took first place in the elite division, along with sophomore Jeren Glosser (149), sophomore Jeremiah Moody (165), and senior Phillip Laux (133). Freshman Myles Wilson (184) and redshirt freshman Sam Cook (197) took first place in the silver division.
Three of the title matches — 125, 141, and 149 — were intrasquad battles. Stickley beat junior Perez Perez for a second time, Murin took down redshirt freshman Carter Happel, and Glosser won over redshirt freshman Stephen Alvarez. Only two Hawkeyes didn’t place in Decorah.
None of the matches in Decorah were direct upsets of what the wrestle-offs had shown. They were affirmations of results that both solidify the starting lineup and provided more experienced depth at each weight level.
The only “upset” from the wrestle-offs was at 165. Senior Logan McQuillen, who defeated Moody in the Iowa wrestle-offs, was defeated by a Wartburg wrestler and was outpaced by Moody in the Luther Open.
This season, with all the questions surrounding it, is starting to provide answers. One big one has been Stickley; he’s once again proved himself and will likely take the starting 125 spot. Another big one has been Warner, and he, too, has proved himself. He will likely hold the 197 spot.
The Luther Open ended up being a successful confidence-booster and a lineup solidifier. The rest of the season will test its accuracy as a predictor.