We'd been hearing rumors of this move for a while -- TrackWrestling's Andy Hamilton raised it almost three weeks ago and our pals at IAWrestle were discussing it as a possibility back in May. Now it's official -- Lugo is heading from Edinboro to Iowa:
Iowa bound... pic.twitter.com/Nxi0XyerEP
— Pat lugo (@MasterP_145) July 4, 2017
If Lugo's name sounds familiar, it might be because Iowa fans have seen him last year -- as an opponent. Lugo wrestled Iowa's Brandon Sorensen at the Iowa-Edinboro dual as part of the NWCA National Duals -- and he gave Sorensen all he could handle.
Sorensen won 7-5 in sudden victory, but he needed a furious comeback to do so and Lugo gave him a hell of a match. Now they're training partners. Ed. Note: Actually Lugo beat Sorensen 7-5 in sudden victory!
Lugo went 63-18 at Edinboro in 2015-16 and 2016-17, recording bonus points in 42% of his wins total (and 48% of his wins last year). He was an NCAA qualifier both seasons, though he hasn't yet been able to earn All-America (top-8 finish) honors. He came close as a freshman in 2016, losing to Missouri's Lavion Mayes in the Round of 12/"blood round." He had a rougher go in 2017, going just 1-2 at the NCAA Tourney. In general, that sort of fringe All-America contender sums up where Lugo was in the 149 lb pecking order over the last two years -- he rarely lost to opponents outside of the Top 10, but he rarely beat Top 10-ranked opponents, either, though he did have several close losses. Obviously, the goal at Iowa will be turning those close losses into actual wins and becoming a wrestler who can earn All-America honors and contend for championships. The Iowa practice room ought to be good place for that development to occur.
At present, Lugo has not been released from his scholarship by Edinboro, per IAWrestle. That means that he is not eligible to compete for Iowa in 2017-18. While that's annoying for Lugo, it could actually work pretty well for Iowa in terms of roster management. Lugo also has a redshirt year available, so he won't lose any eligibility while sitting out 2017-18. Iowa just so happens to have a very, very good wrestler at 149 lbs already -- three-time All-American Brandon Sorensen -- so they don't need another 149er this season anyway. But Lugo's presence will give Iowa an excellent option in 2018-19 and 2019-2020 once Sorensen has graduated. Iowa's long term options at 149 are still a bit unclear, but the arrival of Lugo gives Iowa some very good short term stability for the post-Sorensen era.
Lugo isn't the only 149er named Pat to transfer to Iowa in recent weeks, either. Pennsylvania prep Pat Duggan left Lock Haven for Iowa back in June. Duggan finished in the Top 4 at the Pennsylvania State Tournament all four years as a high school wrestler, but he has had his struggles at the D1 level so far. He went 13-8 during a redshirt year at Lock Haven and just 11-11 last year as a redshirt freshman, with no particular wins of note. Duggan will also have to sit out the 2017-18 season, but will have two years of eligibility remaining after that. He doesn't figure to immediately contend for a starting spot -- but who knows, maybe he'll make some tremendous leaps forward in the Iowa training room. Per IAWrestle's Tony Hager, Duggan will be paying his own way to attend Iowa, so he's not costing the Hawkeyes any scholarship money to add him to the mix at 141/149. There's no harm in taking a flyer on him and seeing what happens. (And it might not hurt in landing a commitment from his brother Francis, a top 30 overall recruit in the 2018 recruiting class.)
And speaking of taking a flyer, Iowa also added one more late commitment to their 2017 recruiting class a few days ago when West Des Moines Valley's Connor Corbin opted to head to Iowa, according to IAWrestle. Corbin grew like a weed in high school -- he wrestled at 152 lbs to start his sophomore season and ended his high school career up at 195 lbs. He placed fifth as a junior and third as a senior at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament. Corbin projects at 197 lbs at Iowa, which is also the same weight as one of Iowa's blue chip recruits in their 2017 class, Jacob Warner. That said, Iowa has often been short of bodies at the upper weights in recent years, so having another wrestler up there is always good.
Welcome to Iowa, Mr. Lugo (as well as Mr. Duggan and Mr. Corbin) -- we're excited to see what you can do in black and gold.