Welcome to The Weigh-In, our extensive preview of Iowa wrestling heading into the 2019-20 season. We'll be doing weight-by-weight previews for all ten weight classes, as well as some full team breakdowns -- and maybe a few extra goodies as well.
|Kaleb Young||JR (RS)||5-10 / 157|
|Jeren Glosser||SR (RS)||5-8 / 157|
|Keegan Shaw||SR (RS)||5-8 / 157|
|Joe Kelly||FR (RS)||5-8 / 157|
|Dan Murphy||SO (RS)||5-8 / 157|
|Preston Stephenson||SO (RS)||5-10 / 157|
THE KNOWN QUANTITY
Kaleb Young (5'10", 157 lbs, JR (RS), 54-20 overall, 24-7 (2018-19), 2019 NCAA All-American)
Young was part of the same recruiting class that brought Alex Marinelli to Iowa and while Marinelli has overshadowed Young in terms of recruiting hype, big wins (Marinelli has twice beat #1-ranked Vincenzo Joseph), and Big Ten championships (Marinelli won a B1G title last year), Young has the edge on his classmate in one respect so far: NCAA finishes. Marinelli has had some pitfalls at the biggest tournament of the year, finishing 6th in 2018 and 7th last year. In his first year as a starter, Young broke through to finish 5th at 157 lbs at the NCAA Tournament a year ago -- not too shabby at all.
Young has floated around the middleweight ranks for Iowa during his Iowa career -- he wrestled 165 during his redshirt year, then floated between 165 and 174 a year later -- before seeming to settle in at 157. He was superb at 157 last year, going 24-7, with 12 bonus point wins. He made a surprise run to the NCAA Tournament semifinals thanks to an impressive 7-5 OT upset over #3 seed Ryan Deakin in the quarterfinals (which avenged a 6-2 loss to Deakin in the Midlands final earlier in the season). Young lost a fairly tight 5-3 decision to eventual NCAA runner-up Tyler Berger in the semis and then dropped a 6-2 decision to Michigan's Alec Pantaleo in the consolation semifinals. But he bounced back with another 7-5 OT win over Deakin in the 5th place match. Sustaining that success against Deakin this year will be vital to Young's hopes of finishing higher on the podium this season, as we'll discuss below.
Young has above-average size and length for a 157er, and he's able to use his somewhat lanky frame to his advantage, both on offense an defense. It also makes him a tough rider from the top position. What we want to see from Young in 2019-20 is just more: more action from neutral, more aggressiveness from the top position, more bonus points, just more of everything. He established his credibility at this weight last year; now it's time to establish himself as a legitimate title contender.
IN THE WAITING ROOM
Jeren Glosser (5'8", 157 lbs, SR (RS), 57-17 overall, 15-6 (2018-19))
Keegan Shaw (5'8", 157 lbs, SR (RS), 36-14 overall, 14-5 (2018-19))
Joe Kelly (5'8", 157 lbs, FR (RS), 10-6 overall)
Dan Murphy (5'8", 157 lbs, SO (RS), 19-10 overall, 1-2 (2018-19))
Preston Stephenson (5'10", 157 lbs, SO (RS), 9-9 overall, 8-7 (2018-19))
Glosser has been mentioned as a competitor at 149 lbs, but for now he seems likely to be at 157. He's a very capable wrestler -- he went 8-2 (!) at Midlands last year, which included a pair of some sold wins over Army's Luke Weiland, Illinois' Eric Barone, and Rutgers' John Van Brill. His overall record is strong, too (57-17) and he gets bonus points at a decent clip. Glosser would likely be a national qualifier if he was the starter at this weight and could probably win a few matches at the NCAA Tournament as well. He makes for very solid depth for Young and he should be a good option to fill in during some dual meets.
Keegna Shaw is another wrestler capable of providing pretty solid depth -- at multiple weights. Shaw has spent most of his career at 157, but he bumped up to 174 for three duals last year and went 2-1 in those matches, including a solid win over Northwestern's Johnny Sebastian. Most of his action will likely come at open tournaments this year. Kelly, Stephenson, and Murphy are younger depth options who will likely only see action at various open tournaments.
STANDING IN THE WAY
|Hayden Hidlay||JR||NC State||50-5||2x All-American, 2018 NCAA runner-up, 2x ACC Champion|
|Ryan Deakin||JR||Northwestern||65-14||2019 All-American|
|Larry Early||SR||Old Dominion||74-29||2019 All-American|
|David Carr||RS FR||Iowa State||0-0||23-1 while redshirting|
|Brady Berge||SO||Penn State||20-5||3rd place, 2019 Southern Scuffle|
Half of last year's All Americans are gone, including three of the top four finishers and both finalists, Penn State's Jason Nolf (a 3x NCAA champion) and Nebraska's Tyler Berger. Michigan's Alec Pantaleo finished 3rd and has also graduated. The top returning placer is NC State's Hayden Hidlay, who has managed two Top-4 finishes in his first two years in college -- not too shabby. He's only lost five matches in his career thus far -- two to Nolf, and one each to Berger, Pantaleo, and Old Dominion's Larry Early. Early and Hidlay have already faced off this year, too, with Hidlay picking up a 6-4 win last weekend. Both Hidlay and Early have fairly soft schedules in terms of dual meets, so both should be able to rack up a lot of wins this year, which could help them when it comes to the seeding process. Outside of the Big Ten, the other big name to keep an eye on is David Carr, probably the best wrestler Iowa State has had since Jon Reader. Carr was a blue chip recruit, went 23-1 as a redshirt last year, and won a junior work championship last year. He looks like the real deal.
In the Big Ten, the good news is that Nolf, Berger, and Pantaleo are all gone -- huzzah! Young's biggest challenger to finishing atop the podium at the Big Ten Tournament looks to be Northwestern's Deakin. As noted, Deakin knocked off Young in the Midlands final last year, but Young avenged that loss twice over in the NCAA Tournament. They're pretty evenly matched -- Young needed a sudden victory takedown to beat Deakin in both of those NCAA Tourney matches -- so any matches between them this year figure to be tight, nervy affairs. The other name to know in the Big Ten at this weight might be Penn State's Brady Berge. Berge went 20-5 at 149 lbs and failed to land on the podium there, but there's been a fair amount of chatter that the weight cut to 149 did him no favors last year and he could be much more effective at 157 lbs. Time will tell, but betting against PSU wrestlers has been a losing proposition more often than not over the last decade.
|#6||David Carr||RS FR||at Iowa State||11/24/19|
|#9||Quincy Monday||SO||at Princeton||12/8/19|
|#7||Kendall Coleman||RS FR||at Purdue||1/12/20|
|#5||Brady Berge||SO||Penn State||1/31/20|
|#14||Will Lewan||RS FR||at Michigan||2/8/20|
Young has an intriguing -- and fairly challenging -- schedule, with matches against four other Top 10 wrestlers. The gauntlet starts this weekend with ISU's Carr -- that match should be a great measuring stick for Carr and also a big test for Young. That match could have key seeding relevance come March, too. Young could see Princeton's Monday at a dual in December, and Coleman and Berge in January. And it's not listed here, but Young could see Deakin again at Midlands, as Iowa will be there and Northwestern is always there (they're the hosts, after all). So there will be plenty of chances for Young to see how he compares to the best at this weight this season.
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN
To win Big Ten and NCAA titles this year, Iowa needs some guys to break through and get to that next level. That means winning semifinal matches and getting into the finals (and, hopefully, winning there, too). Young appears to be very well-positioned to try and make that leap this season. The upper crust of this weight has departed and Young has done well against the guys that remain (though he's yet to face Hidlay), which is encouraging. I think will be a Big Ten finalist -- with a great chance of getting a Big Ten championship. I think seeding and bracketing will be a key factor for Young at the NCAA Tournament, but if he can stay on the opposite side of the draw from Hidlay, I think he'll have a good shot of making the finals there, too. Either way, I think a Top-4 finish is well within his grasp this year.