Iowa wrestling's official season doesn't get underway for another week and a half -- not until UT Chattanooga comes to town for a dual meet on November 17. But Iowa fans will have an opportunity to see Iowa wrestlers in action this week, in a series of structured "preseason" matches. In the past these matches have been called "wrestle-offs," referring to having two (or more) wrestlers compete against one another to determine the starter at a given sport. This isn't that, though it is another point of information the coaches will no doubt use to help determine who does start when the season gets underway. This is really just a chance to get an early glimpse of Iowa wrestlers in action.
All action takes place at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Attendance is free.
THURSDAY (3:30 PM CT)
1) 125 lbs: Spencer Lee vs Aaron Cashman
2) 133 lbs: Gavin Teasdale vs Paul Glynn
3) 141 lbs: Carter Happel vs Justin Stickley
4) 149 lbs: Pat Lugo vs Zach Axmear
5) 149 lbs: Vince Turk vs Cobe Siebrecht
6) 174 lbs: Michael Kemerer vs Jeremiah Moody
7) 197 lbs: Sam Cook vs Connor Corbin
8) 197 lbs: Zach Glazier vs Jacob Warner
9) 285 lbs: Tony Cassioppi vs Aaron Costello
If you can only attend one of the two days of preseason matches, this might be the one to prioritize. You get see Iowa's best wrestler, Spencer Lee, in action. You also get to see the first look at Gavin Teasdale in action. You get to see Michael Kemerer in action for the first time in almost two years and for the first time at his new weight. And you get to see Tony Cassioppi, Iowa's new heavyweight, who wrestles an exciting, active, pin-heavy style. That's a lot to enjoy.
FRIDAY (3:30 PM CT)
1) 141 lbs: Austin DeSanto vs Aaron Meyer
2) 149 lbs: winner of Lugo/Axmear vs winner of Turk/Siebrecht
3) 157 lbs: Kaleb Young vs Zach Axmear
4) 165 lbs: Alex Marinelli vs Joe Kelly
5) 165/174 lbs: Nelson Brands vs Jeremiah Moody
6) 184 lbs: Cash Wilcke vs Abe Assad
7) 197 lbs: Jacob Warner vs winner of Corbin/Cook
Friday's slate of matches isn't without its own charms, though. If the 149 matches go as expected on Thursday, we should get Lugo vs Turk on Friday. Lugo's penciled in as the starter at 149, but there's been positive buzz about Turk during the offseason; perhaps moving up to 149 will unlock a better Vince Turk than we've seen in the past. Friday also sees matches for DeSanto and Marinelli, two of Iowa's best and most exciting wrestlers not named "Spencer Lee." The Brands-Moody match looks like one that could produce some offensive fireworks, too. Wilcke-Assad is a match-up of Iowa's present and future at 184 and while it would take a lot for Assad to unseat Wilcke as the starter, this will be his first public opportunity to strut his stuff. Warner's match with Corbin or Cook could give us a taste of how much Warner has improved from his performance as a redshirt freshman last year.
There are also a few notable absences from these matches -- first and foremost is Max Murin, penciled in as Iowa's starter at 141 lbs. I haven't heard why he isn't scheduled to compete in these preseason matches; hopefully he just picked up a minor knock during Iowa's preseason training. (He did have a battle with a cat at last week's Iowa Wrestling Media Day.) Jaren Glosser is also absent; he was expected to cut down to 149 and provide competition for Lugo (and Turk). I also don't know why he isn't listed here, though it could be injury-related as well. Myles Wilson, who filled in for Michael Kemerer at 174 lbs last year before getting injured himself and missing the rest of the season, is also absent from these matches; he may be continuing his rehab from the knee injury that ended his season last year.
Finally, we won't be getting what Iowa fans had circled as the most intriguing intra-squad showdown: Austin DeSanto vs Gavin Teasdale at 133 lbs. Is it significant that DeSanto will be facing Meyer, a natural 141er, as part of these matches? Maybe! There's been chatter about Teasdale taking the starting spot at 133 and DeSanto sliding up to 141 lbs. This certainly add some fuel to that speculation. We may not have any definitive word on where exactly Teasdale and DeSanto fit into Iowa's lineup for a few more months. Another Brands-Marinelli scrap would have been fun to see as well; so it goes.
To the best of my knowledge these matches aren't being televised or streamed, but no doubt fans and Iowa media will be in attendance to provide results and impressions. If you're able to attend the matches, feel free to provide your thoughts in the comments below!