Nebraska's 133-pound Jason Renteria competes against Rutgers' Scott Delvecchio during Big Ten Wrestling Championships Day 2 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, MI on Saturday, Mar. 4, 2018. Renteria went on to defeat Delvecchio by decision, 3-2, placing 5th overall in the tournament. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Transfers add to wrestling mix


One weight class held all the questions at Iowa; now, coach Tom Brands has an answer — well, two answers.

By James Geerdes

Just two short months ago, the Iowa wrestling roster’s lone hole fell on the 133-pound weight class.

Last season turned from a rebuilding year to a contending year following the removal of 125-pounder Spencer Lee’s redshirt. Lee led the team in Cleveland at the National Championships with a title.

Eight of Lee’s teammates joined him in Cleveland, but one weight didn’t quite make the cut. Iowa’s 133-pounder was its only weight to fail to qualify for the National Championships in March.

At the time, that weight was the biggest question mark among a talented Hawkeye staff. Would Justin Stickley, the 125-pounder before Lee, put on weight? Would Paul Glynn make a sudden turnaround for Tom Brands? The answers just weren’t good enough for the title-hungry Hawkeye fan base.

Then, 133-pounders started flowing in. On April 30, Drexel’s Austin DeSanto announced his transfer to Iowa. DeSanto was one win away from All-American status during his freshman campaign in Cleveland.

While at Drexel, DeSanto went 30-7, with 11 of those victories coming via technical fall.

DeSanto was seemingly the answer to Iowa’s prayers. Then, another blessing came. To the dismay of many Iowa faithful, Nebraska helped Iowa. On June 17, then-Cornhusker Jason Renteria announced his transfer to the Hawkeyes.

Renteria, who was once an Iowa-commitment in high school, chose the Cornhuskers over the Hawkeyes. Now, following a season in red and white, he will be in black and gold. The transfer went 8-4 as a true freshman at Nebraska. He was also Flowrestling’s No. 32 overall recruit in the 2017 class. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2018 but infamously missed weight and didn’t compete.

DeSanto and Renteria both have three years of eligibility left under Brands, who is known for breeding top-tier lightweights. Lee will lead the way in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this coming season and could either be followed by DeSanto or Renteria.

Both wrestlers come with potential downfalls, however. DeSanto’s time at Drexel was riddled with unsportsmanlike calls. He infamously tried an illegal arm bar to score late in his 13-1 loss to Stefan Micic.

Renteria was the only wrestler in the NCAA Championships’ field to miss weight in March. But he could also move to 141-pounds to avoid that..

The addition of DeSanto and Renteria puts Iowa on the cusp of an NCAA team title this coming season. The Hawkeye roster is based on a national champion, four more returning All-Americans, DeSanto, and Renteria. Emerging freshmen Jacob Warner and Max Murin could round out a talented Hawkeye squad.

Potential Lineup

125 ​— Spencer Lee

133 — Austin DeSanto/Jason Renteria

141 — Max Murin/Carter Happel/Vince Turk

149 — Jaren Glosser

157 — Michael Kemerer/Kaleb Young

165 — Alex Marinelli

174 — Kaleb Young/Joey Gunther/Michael Kemerer

184 — Cash Wilcke

197 — Jacob Warner

285 — Sam Stoll

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