A month ago Iowa's future -- in the near-term and long-term -- at 133 lbs looked very murky. They had Paul Glynn, who gamely tried to fill that hole last season but struggled to a 7-11 mark last season and failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, and, uh, that's about it. Now the future at 133 lbs is looking a whole lot brighter in Iowa City. At the end of April Iowa added Austin DeSanto, a high-profile transfer from Drexel who will be able to compete immediately in 2018-19 and give Iowa a potential All-America-caliber (and maybe more than that, if things go very well) wrestler at that weight. And now Iowa's added some long-term solidity at the weight in the form of Class of 2018 recruit Aaron Cashman.
Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton broke the news on Twitter:
Just spoke with 2016 Cadet World Team member Aaron Cashman. He's headed to Iowa after spending this past season at the OTC. Likely a 133-pounder in college.
— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) May 29, 2018
And Cashman himself confirmed it on Instagram:
Cashman was one of the last unsigned seniors in the current 2018 recruiting class, but he could be a very solid find for Iowa. He was ranked 80th overall by Flowrestling in their final 2018 rankings and was also their 8th best 133 lb prospect. He may have been ranked higher if he had followed a more typical prospect path, though. After finishing fourth and second at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, Cashman went 39-1 and won a state title as a junior. Instead of trying to repeat as a state titleist and compete in the bevy of prep competitions around the country, though, Cashman spent what would have been his senior year of high school at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
At the OTC Cashman was immersed in wrestling and trained one-on-one with Kevin Jackson (former Olympic gold medalist and former Iowa State wrestling coach, now the National Freestyle Developmental Coach). He also competed in a few collegiate opens, finishing 4-2 at the Cowboy Open, sixth at the Northern Colorado Open, and fifth at the Wilkes Open. Most recently, he won a gold medal Flatz Open in Austria, a freestyle event, and placed fourth at the Junior World Team Trials earlier in May. (He's had freestyle success in the past, too, earning a spot on the Cadet World Team in 2016.) Cashman competed at 125 lbs this year in collegiate competitions and 57 kg (125.66 lbs) in freestyle competition, but he's expected to compete at 133 lbs at Iowa. (Iowa has a pretty good 125er already.)
Under Brands Iowa has had some pretty good luck with wrestlers who spend time at the OTC before coming to Iowa City, too. Montell Marion spent time at the OTC before transferring to Iowa, where he became a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA finalist. Nathan Burak also spent a year at the OTC between his prep career and his time at Iowa; he also became a three-time All-American. Getting that level of success out of Cashman would make this a truly fantastic pick-up.
“Then I really got to see the intensity and how the practices were ran and I thought this is a place I would want to wrestle in, these are coaches I’d want to coach me and if I wrestled here, I’d get so much better.
“I got to see how Tom and Terry Brands coach practice. I love their intensity and how they coach. The way they ran practice is my type of style and how I like to be coached. After that week I started talking to Tom and Terry and I was a little (more) interested. I went on my visit last week and just made it happen.”
In comments to Flo, Cashman also cited the quality of the training partners he'd have (including Spencer Lee) as being a big part of his decision to choose Iowa over Ohio State, Cornell, and Iowa State. And that's hardly surprising: in Tom and Terry Brands, Iowa has two of the best lightweight coaches in the country, the Hawkeye Wrestling Club boasts Thomas Gilman, Cory Clark, and Jesse Delgado as members, and Cashman's current teammates will be Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto. If you're a lightweight who wants to be around the best, it's awfully hard to top Iowa City right now.
DeSanto's arrival means Iowa doesn't have an immediate need for Cashman at 133 lbs, so he should be able to redshirt in 2018-19 and take his time bulking up to 133 lbs and getting up to speed at the college level. If DeSanto stays at 133 lbs for the next three seasons, then Cashman may have to bide his time for a few years. But Cashman's presence also gives Iowa some insurance if DeSanto moves up to 141 lbs before his career is over (a possibility which has been mentioned in the past). More importantly, adding Cashman means we get to keep making "Cash money!" and "Straight cash, homie" jokes even after Cash Wilcke uses up his eligibility (and even opens up the possibility of Iowa fielding a lineup with both Cash and Cashman -- 20% of the way to a Cash-only lineup!). Welcome to Iowa, Aaron.