For Iowa wrestling, season opening dual meets are usually about introductions, not exclamation points. The big dual meets will come later in the season, after Iowa has had a chance to rev up. November dual meets are more about shaking off the rust and meeting new faces. Based on Sunday's evidence, this Iowa team doesn't have too much rust to shake off -- but there are several new faces to meet. There were just four returning starters from last year's lineup in action today, but the new faces at most weights acquitted themselves well as Iowa rolled to nine wins out of ten matches and a 42-3 dual meet victory over Cal Baptist.
The new faces in this lineup were even more pronounced than what we would normally expect to see, as Iowa's projected starters did not compete at 125, 141, or 174. Two other weights (133 and 157) feature Iowa's fiercest lineup battles, so the wrestlers in action there today may not be the same guys who get the nod in January and February. But there was little to complain about anyone's performance today. Iowa outscored the Lancers 112-42 in total match points and had a 36-2 edge in takedowns. The Hawkeyes picked up bonus points in seven of their nine wins, including three pins and two technical falls. Pretty much exactly the performance you'd hope to see against an opponent like Cal Baptist.
|157||Cobe Siebrecht||FALL (4:58)||Joey Mora||IOWA 6-0|
|165||#14 Patrick Kennedy||TECH FALL (20-5)||Mateo De La Pena||IOWA 11-0|
|174||Drake Rhodes||MAJ DEC (13-4)||Zach Rowe||IOWA 15-0|
|184||#10 Abe Assad||DEC (11-4)||Peter Acciardi||IOWA 18-0|
|197||#2 Jacob Warner||FALL (0:38)||Elijah Sobas||IOWA 24-0|
|285||#4 Tony Cassioppi||FALL (2:13)||Chris Ireland||IOWA 30-0|
|125||Elijah Griffin||DEC (9-4)||Aidan Harris||IOWA 30-3|
|133||Brody Teske||DEC (6-4)||Hunter Leake||IOWA 33-3|
|141||Drew Bennett||MAJ DEC (16-5)||Edison Alanis||IOWA 37-3|
|149||#7 Max Murin||TECH FALL (24-9)||Chaz Hallmark||IOWA 42-3|
A few thoughts:
- Cobe Siebrecht got the started at 157 today and put in a performance that suggested that he might be the man to beat at that very unsettled weight. Siebrecht has a funky style, some unorthodox attacks, and a strong riding game, which helped him build a commanding lead before grabbing a cradle and getting a pin in the second period.
Patrick Kennedy has made spot appearances for Iowa before and wrestled in various early season tournaments, but this was his proper debut in Carver-Hawkeye Arena -- and he did not disappoint. Kennedy displayed a relentless pace and aggressive style, attacking his opponent's legs repeatedly and turned the match into a takedown clinic; he finished with seven takedowns on his way to a tech fall victory.
Drake Rhodes was a surprise starter, though with Nelson Brands and Brennan Swafford both recovering from injuries, Iowa is a bit thin in options at 174. Rhodes, a true freshman from Montana, made the most of his opportunity, wrestling hard for all three periods to come away with a major decision win. He picked up two takedowns in the first period to build a 4-1 lead, and also added two more takedowns in the third period as he pushed for -- and got -- a bonus point victory. Barring any more physical setbacks from Brands and Swafford -- or some really impressive wins for Rhodes -- a redshirt still seems most likely for him this season, but this was a great way to get a taste of action at Iowa.
Abe Assad has been a frustrating wrestler to watch at times during his Iowa career, though persistent injuries the past two seasons haven't helped his case. Assad looks healthy now, though, and he produced an 11-4 decision win that was very workmanlike, but still effective. His opponent was more concerned about frustrating him and stalemating Assad's attacks than doing much to score himself, but Assad was able to work through that and score a handful of takedowns. He wasn't able to finish a takedown in the final 30 seconds of the match that would have secured a major decision, but this was still a fine showing overall.
Jacob Warner produced the most emphatic result of the day as he spent less than a minute on the mat. He scored a takedown from an ankle trip off the whistle, and only a few seconds later he was able to horse his opponent directly to the mat and score a pin -- all in just 38 seconds of action. No better way to get your senior season started than with a quick pin.
Tony Cassioppi followed with a pin of his own, although his pin took a whole two minutes and 13 seconds. Slacker. But this was classic Cassioppi: quick takedown, a dominant ride, and eventually wrist control and a pin. Bam!
Aidan Harris, a transfer addition from Iowa Central, got a surprise start at 125 lbs; unfortunately, he was also the only Iowa wrestler to lose today, falling 9-4 to Cal Baptist's Elijah Griffin. Not a great debut for Harris, who was out-fought from neutral and overpowered on the mat in this one. Hopefully there will be better days for Harris in the future.
Alongside 157, 133 is the other up-in-the-air weight for this Iowa team and today was UNI transfer Brody Teske's opportunity to show what he can do. This was one of the tighter matches of the entire dual meet, but Teske prevailed 6-4 thanks to takedowns in the second and third periods. This one was maybe more of a grind than expected, but Teske avoided the upset, got the win, and showed off some toughness in the process. He'll probably need to show a bit more offensively to hold off Cullan Schriever, the other top contender at 133 in this Iowa lineup.
Drew Bennett got a start in place of high-profile Stanford transfer Real Woods at 141 and produced an impressive 16-5 major decision win. Bennett produced a takedown clinic performance, recording seven takedowns in his lopsided victory.
- Finally, Max Murin ended the dual with one final bonus point win for Iowa. His 24-9 tech fall victory was the highest-scoring match of the dual meet -- and also featured some of the highest drama. An early attack helped Murin put Chaz Hallmark in a cradle, but Murin got a little out of position in his efforts to pin Hallmark and ended up getting put on his own back. Murin avoided the pin, but still gave up a reversal and four nearfall points. Murin was a little less wild after that, but no less relentless on the attack, as he chained together multiple takedowns and a few turns to secure back points to earn the points needed for a tech fall victory.
A handful of other Iowa wrestlers (including Schriever, Teske's main challenger at 133 lbs) were in action at the Luther Open on Saturday. Schriever was the star of the show, going 4-0 and winning the 133 lb bracket while outscoring his opponents 60-16, but three other Iowa wrestlers finished 2nd or 3rd at the event in Decorah. Cody Goodwin has more details about Iowa's performance at the Luther Open at Hawk Central.