Warner Wins Title, Iowa Opens Season With Easy Wins at Iowa City Duals

By RossWB on November 22, 2017 at 10:00 am
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Ed. Note: Future recaps will be posted in a more timely fashion; the last week has been a bit hectic with Iowa football playing twice in less than a week, Iowa hoops playing a non-conference tournament, plus the holidays. -- Ross

As expected, Iowa won all three dual meets at the season-opening Iowa City duals event last Friday. They blanked Iowa Central, 48-0, beat Buffalo 33-6, and finished things off with a 37-6 win over North Dakota State. The level of competition was not outstanding, but it was still an improvement from past Iowa City Duals events. Buffalo and NDSU are both solid DI programs and have a handful of ranked opponents. 

We learned a bit about where Iowa is at this stage of the season and they are... rough around the edges. That isn't exactly unexpected for a team that lost a huge productive senior class (farewell, Cory Clark, Thomas Gilman, Sammy Brooks, Alex Meyer, and Topher Carton) and that features five new starters, another starter debuting at a new weight (Gunther at 174), and another starter returning from a long injury absence (Sam Stoll). It's also important to remember that the lineup that's taking the mat for Iowa now a) isn't their best possible lineup and b) could -- and very likely will -- look much different in January, February, and March.

The coaches are being very conservative with Alex Marinelli's injury, but he's expected to return to action fairly soon and should provide a boost at 165 lbs. By all indications, Pat Downey is still expected to join the program for the second semester and should bring a lot of firepower to either 184 or 197 lbs. And true freshmen blue chippers Spencer Lee and Jacob Warner could yet see their redshirts pulled and in action this year at 125 and 197 lbs, respectively. The wrestling season is a marathon and it's only just getting underway for Iowa. Let's see how it all unfolds. 

Speaking of those true freshmen phenoms, the most exciting result from the weekend wasn't anything that happened at the Iowa City Duals, but what Warner did at the Lindenwood Open in St. Charles, Missouri. And "what he did" was simply blitz the field. He went 4-0 in the Gold division (the top-level division), winning two matches via decision (5-2, 3-1), one via technical fall (19-4), and one via major decision (16-7). That latter win came against his toughest opponent as well, Missouri's Willie Miklus, ranked #3 in the nation at 197 and a two-time All-American at 184 lbs. Starting to think we might have a pretty good one in Warner, folks. If Warner is doing that to Top-5 wrestlers... well, the decision on whether or not to redshirt him just got a lot trickier. That said, his decision wins came against currently unranked opponents (Jake Woodley and Andrew Dixon of Oklahoma), so he's not steamrolling everyone just yet. I don't expect a final decision to be made for a while yet, but if he has another strong performance at Midlands at the end of December (especially if he gets some impressive wins over tough opponents), we could see him making his official Iowa debut before long. 

In other Lindenwood Open action, Jeren Glosser (149) took 3rd in the Gold division, while Perez Perez (125), Cade Brownlee (197), and Aaron Costello (285) all took 4th. Aaron Meyer (141) and Jeremiah Moody (165) did not place. In the Black division (freshman/sophomores), Connor Corbin took 1st at 197, Danny Murphy (141) and Myles Wilson (184) took 2nd, and Sam Cook took 5th at 197. Full results are available here

As for the Iowa City Duals... 

125 Justin Stickley (Fr, 4-0) TECH FALL (15-0) Kevin Radcliffe IOWA 5-0
133 Phillip Laux (Sr, 4-0) DEC (8-5) Todd Small IOWA 8-0
141 Vince Turk (So, 1-0) TECH FALL (18-3) Eric Clarke IOWA 13-0
149 #2 Brandon Sorensen (Sr, 1-0) TECH FALL (24-8) Yar Aldiva IOWA 18-0
157 #3 Michael Kemerer (So, 1-0) FALL (2:47) Alex Leone IOWA 24-0
165 Kaleb Young (RS Fr, 1-0) TECH FALL (20-5) Tyler Helfrich-Meyers IOWA 29-0
174 Joey Gunther (So, 1-0) MAJ DEC (22-10) Jonah Elgi IOWA 33-0
184 Mitch Bowman (Jr, 1-0) FALL (3:17) Brady Vogel IOWA 39-0
197 #11 Cash Wilcke (So, 1-0) DEC (10-4) Tyree Sutton IOWA 42-0
285 #7 Sam Stoll (Jr, 1-0) FALL (1:49) Jordan Hill IOWA 48-0

There isn't much to say about the Iowa Central dual. Iowa thrashed them with four technical falls, three pins, a major decision, and two regular decisions. It was good to see Stoll getting back into the swing of things with a pin in his first real match in a long time. And seeing Kemerer look for pins (he was cradling guys all day) was a very exciting development. Of the two decisions, Laux's came against Small, the JUCO national champion at 125 lbs last year. For the most part, Iowa did exactly what you would want them to do against a team like Iowa Central. 

125 #17 Kyle Akins (Jr, 1-0) DEC (8-4) Justin Stickley (Fr, 3-1) BUFFALO 3-0
133 #5 Bryan Lantry (Jr, 1-0) DEC (2-0) Paul Glynn (So, 2-2) BUFFALO 6-0
141 Vince Turk (So, 2-0) MAJ DEC (12-2) Balek Retell BUFFALO 6-4
149 #2 Brandon Sorensen (Sr, 2-0) FALL (4:40) Jason Estevez (Sr, 0-1) IOWA 10-6
157 #3 Michael Kemerer (So, 2-0) FALL (1:34) Kobe Garrehy (So, 0-1) IOWA 16-6
165 Kaleb Young (RS Fr, 2-0) MAJ DEC (12-4) Noah Glover (Fr, 0-1)  IOWA 20-6
174 Joey Gunther (So, 2-0) DEC (3-1) Austin Weigel (Sr, 0-1) IOWA 23-6
184 Mitch Bowman (Jr, 2-0) DEC (10-4) Brett Perry (Jr, 0-1) IOWA 26-6
197 #11 Cash Wilcke (So, 2-0) MAJ DEC (14-3) Joe Ariola (Sr, 0-1) IOWA 30-6
285 #7 Sam Stoll (Jr, 2-0) DEC (4-3 2OT) Jake Gunning (Jr, 0-1) IOWA 33-6

The good vibes ended a bit with the start of the Buffalo dual, as the Bulls grabbed the first two matches to put Iowa in a 6-0 hole. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be the last time that happens this year (pending certain redshirt decisions). 125/133 have been an axis of strength for Iowa's lineup for a long, long time, but this year's team is definitely lacking in that regard. It didn't help that 125/133 are also the strongest weights on Buffalo's team, so it was a matchup of their biggest strength against Iowa's biggest weakness. Iowa swept the remaining eight matches of the dual, though, with bonus points in four, including major decisions from Young and Wilcke and pins from Sorensen and Kemerer (his second-straight first period pin). That said, it wasn't all that encouraging to see Iowa wrestlers laboring to defeat some of these guys, like Gunther's nervy 3-1 win or Stoll's marathon 4-3 win in 2OT. There will be much tougher opponents in the months ahead, so hopefully they can work out the kinks very soon. 

125 Paul Bianchi (RS Fr, 5-1) FALL (1:57) Justin Stickley (Fr, 3-2) NDSU 6-0
133 Phillip Laux (Sr, 5-0) TECH FALL (15-0) Tirso Lara NDSU 6-5
141 Vince Turk (So, 3-0) TECH FALL (19-4) Sam Hampton (RS Fr, 4-1) IOWA 10-6
149 #2 Brandon Sorensen (Sr, 3-0) MAJ DEC (11-3) Kyle Gliva (Sr, 4-2) IOWA 14-6
157 #3 Michael Kemerer (So, 3-0) TECH FALL (17-2) #14 Clay Ream (Sr, 4-1) IOWA 19-6
165 Kaleb Young (RS Fr, 3-0) DEC (3-2) Andrew Fogarty (So, 9-2) IOWA 22-6
174 Joey Gunther (So, 3-0) DEC (10-4) Dylan Urbach (Jr, 0-1)  IOWA 25-6
184 Mitch Bowman (Jr, 3-0) DEC (5-4) Tyler McNutt (Jr, 3-3) IOWA 28-6
197 #11 Cash Wilcke (So, 3-0) DEC (5-3) Cordell Eaton (So, 3-1) IOWA 31-6
285 #7 Sam Stoll (Jr, 3-0) FALL (6:13) Dan Stribal (So, 4-0)  IOWA 37-6

Against NDSU, Iowa once again went down 6-0 to start the dual, although this time it was after just one match as Justin Stickley got himself, er, stuck with a first period pin. My hopes/expectations for Stickley were definitely tempered by his results at IC Duals; he has promise, but there are going to be some rocky moments as well if he mans this weight the entire year. Laux and Glynn split the matches at 133 here, with Glynn eating the only loss -- but he also faced the toughest opponent (by far) in Buffalo's Lantry. I'm not sure that lineup battle is settled just yet. Shoutout to Vince Turk for putting on a show in his Iowa debut; injuries have slowed him the last few years, but he's finally healthy and he had a good showing here, with three bonus point wins featuring plenty of points. The opposition was nothing to write home about, but the aggressive mindset and scoring prowess are definitely appreciated. Turk is one of the swing performers for this Iowa team; if he can exceed expectations, Iowa can have a much better season than they're projected to have right now. 

There's not much to say about Sorensen and Kemerer; they're by far Iowa's two best wrestlers and they took care of business at the Duals. Kemerer almost had three first-period pins on the day; he had a deep cradle locked up on Ream in the first, but was never quite able to get both shoulders on the mat. He had to settle for a technical fall very early in the second period. Oh, and he also did that against a Top 15 opponent -- not too shabby. Watching his development -- and dominance -- is going to be a treat. 

The back half of the NDSU wasn't particularly impressive; Iowa won all five matches, but only Stoll's win featured bonus points (another pin) and three of the four decision wins were decided by two points or less. Iowa's wrestlers need to be getting more separation from their opponents and winning more decisively -- and with more bonus points -- when they have the opportunity to do so, as they should have against a host of unranked NDSU opponents. 

Still, Iowa City Duals was overall a very solid event for Iowa wrestling and a nice way to kick off the 2017-18 season. 

NEXT: #22 Rider ventures to Iowa City on Black Friday (November 24, 7 PM CT). 

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