We're still squarely in the middle of the wrestling offseason -- at least as far as folkstyle competition is concerned. It's a busy time of the year for freestyle and Greco-Roman competition, as the past few weeks have seen several World Team Trials as the U.S. assembles its team to compete at the Senior World Championships (October 22-28 in Budapest, Hungary), the Junior World Championships (September 18-23 in Trnava, Slovakia), and the U23 World Championships (November 12-18 in Bucharest, Romania). Several current and former Hawkeyes competed for spots on those teams, so let's recap.
Senior World Team Trials
The Iowa wrestler who had the most success over the past few weeks didn't even wrestle in any of the Trials, if we're being honest. Thomas Gilman is one step away from a return trip to the World Championships, but he didn't have to fight his way through the Team Trials to get there. By virtue of his silver medal finish at last year's World Championships, Gilman automatically entered a spot in Final X, the best-of-three championship series to determine the wrestler at each weight. He'll face current Oklahoma State wrestler Daton Fix on Saturday to see who will represent the U.S. at 57 KG in Budapest. Fix redshirted this past season but is poised to make a big-time splash at the college level this season.
Based on the guys Fix has turned aside on his way to Final X, Gilman will definitely have his hands full earning his way back to the World Championships. Fix defeated Ramos in two straight matches in the best-of-three finals at the World Team Trials, 4-1 in the first match and 10-3 in the second match. He smashed Eddie Klimara, Zane Richards, and Zach Sanders on his way to the finals.
Outside of Ramos, the only other wrestler with Iowa ties at the Senior Team trials was Nathan Burak, who finished 3rd at 97 KG.
Junior World Team Trials
Iowa had several guys in action here -- and one big winner.
57 KG: incoming Iowa recruit Aaron Cashman finished 4th and went 3-2, including a win over highly-touted Minnesota recruit Pat McKee and NCAA qualifier Rayvon Foley.
65 KG: Max Murin went 1-2 and did not place. He beat touted Ohio State recruit Sammy Sasso, but lost to two Penn State wrestlers, Nick Lee and Jared Verkleeren.
74 KG: Alex Marinelli went 1-1 and finished runner-up in the challenge tournament. He trounced Ohio State's Kaleb Romero (16-3) and narrowly lost to Virginia Tech's Mekhi Lewis, 6-5. Lewis then beat another Iowa wrestler, Jeremiah Moody, in the best-of-three finals, two matches to none. Moody had earned a spot in the best-of-three finals thanks to his national title at the junior level at the U.S. Open in April.
86 KG: Myles Wilson went 0-2 and did not place.
92 KG: Like Moody, Jacob Warner earned a spot in the best-of-three finals here by virtue of his junior-level national title at the U.S. Open in April. He made quick work of his challenger, Virginia Tech's John Borst, beating him 10-0 and 11-0. Those wins gave Warner the 92 KG spot on the U.S. team at the Junior World Championships; he'll compete for gold in Trvava, Slovakia on August 17-23.
125 KG: Incoming Iowa wrestler Anthony Cassioppi went 2-1 and finished runner-up in the challenge tournament at 125 KG. Cassioppi steamrolled his first two opponents, Army's Bobby Heald and North Dakota State's Brandon Metz, 10-0 and 11-0, respectively. He ran into Minnesota's incoming phenom Gable Steveson in the challenge tournament final, though, and things did not go well: Steveson won 12-2. The silver lining? Cassioppi was the only wrestler at the Junior World Team Trials to score on Steveson -- he won his other four matches by a combined score of 43-0. (He's going to be really really really good, y'all.)
U-23 World Team Trials
61 KG: Perez Perez went 1-2 and did not place.
65 KG: Justin Stickley went 4-2 and did not place.
70 KG: Jeren Glosser went 4-2 and did not place.
70 KG: Pat Lugo went 7-2 and placed 5th, including a win over the 3rd place finisher at the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Princeton's Matthew Kolodzik.
74 KG: Tristan McDonald went 0-2 and did not place.
74 KG: Kaleb Young went 8-1 and finished 3rd.
86 KG: Mitch Bowman went 5-2 and did not place.
86 KG: Cash Wilcke went 7-2 and finished 5th.
92 KG: Sam Cook went 2-2 and did not place.
92 KG: Steven Holloway went 1-2 and did not place.
125 KG: Aaron Costello went 0-2 and did not place.
Whew! The standouts here were certainly Young, Lugo, Wilcke, all of whom placed fifth or better. Young had the best finish of all, taking third and avenging his lone loss (to North Carolina's Kennedy Monday in the process). Wilcke wrestled down at 86 KG, or around 189 lbs, which supports the chatter that he's going to head down to 184 lbs next season. With Jacob Warner coming out of redshirt and looking like a monster at 197 lbs, that's probably a prudent move for Cash Money.
Young wrestled at 74 KG, or around 163 lbs. The nearest folkstyle weight to that is 165 lbs, but Young won't be wrestling there as long Alex Marinelli is healthy. With Michael Kemerer reportedly moving up to 174 lbs, Young's best bet to make the roster might be to try and cut down to 157 lbs. If he can do that and maintain the skills that he displayed at this event, he could be a very interesting weapon for Iowa.
Finally, Pat Lugo had a very solid showing at 70 KG (around 154 lbs). He's still expected to replace Brandon Sorensen in the Iowa lineup at 149 lbs and performances like this give us some confidence that he'll do well in that role.
There were several Iowa wrestlers that did not compete in any of the Trials, including some very notable guys like Spencer Lee, Michael Kemerer, and Sam Stoll. Lee previously announced that he wouldn't be competing for any World team spots this summer, while Stoll is likely resting up for his senior season. Given his tortured history with injuries, taking it easy in the offseason is probably a good idea. Kemerer ended the year dealing with several injuries, so healing up from those is priority #1 -- and focusing on gaining weight for a move up to 174 lbs appears to be priority #2, if the latest chatter is to be believed. Lee in particular would have given the United States a high-powered option to contend for medals this fall, but we certainly don't fault him or anyone for resting up and recharging in the offseason. There will be plenty of time for Lee and Iowa's other current stars to try and contend for international glory in the future; our focus now is on seeing them help Iowa bring home some championship trophies from the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.