This time last year there was a lot of talk about what the Iowa Wrestling lineup would look like for the following season. There is not a lot of guesswork or speculating about the lineup for next season. Iowa returns six All Americans and two NCAA Qualifiers from this year’s NCAA Tournament and two-time All American Michael Kemerer will be back after missing this season with an injury.
Let’s take a look at the weights.
125: Spencer Lee is…Spencer Lee. I do not know how else to describe this guy. Spencer Lee will be going for title number three next year and I do not know how anyone could bet against him winning it.
133: Austin DeSanto came a long ways this season. The work ethic, intensity, passion, and endurance that DeSanto has in the Iowa Wrestling room is amazing. DeSanto brought a lot to the Iowa Wrestling program this year. Even though he placed fifth this season, I look for a much improved Austin DeSanto next season.
141: You could make a case that no single Iowa wrestler improved more the past year than Max Murin. Steady improvement all season long and solid fundamentals were put into play at Nationals where he was a 4-1 match away from being an All American at a tough and deep weight class. And as a #22 seed. Murin has the potential to be an elite wrestler on the national scene next year. There will be plenty of competition at 141 for Murin with Vince Turk, Carter Happel, and Jason Renteria.
149: Patricio Lugo made All American status by placing 8th at Nationals. He consistently improved as the season went along. I look for that improvement to continue next season and see Lugo climb higher on the awards stand.
157: I called Kaleb Young as my dark horse before Nationals. Young showed some big improvement with two overtime victories over Ryan Deacon of Northwestern to place 5th. Deacon had defeated Young 6-2 in the finals at Midlands. He was also close in a 5-3 loss in the semifinals. That was a very good tournament for Young and with the way this weight clears out from graduation combined with continued improvement, Young should be in the hunt to win it all next season.
165: Alex Marinelli placed 7th at Nationals while being the #1 seed. Look for Marinelli to be back better than ever next season. Bull will be there at Nationals in Minneapolis next March gunning for the title.
174: I am sure it has been a long year for Michael Kemerer taking a redshirt year due to a knee injury. Iowa lost out on more than just points by not having Marinelli in the lineup this year. Kemerer leads by example with his toughness and results. I am sure all Iowa fans are looking forward to seeing Kemerer back in the lineup.
184: Cash Wilcke was so close to winning the match on Thursday night to the eventual finalist at Nationals. He made it to the Round of 16 after making it to the Round of 12 the previous two years. In his senior season next year, Wilcke will certainly have the potential to find a spot on the awards stand at Nationals.
197: Jacob Warner placed 7th this season to become an All American as a freshman. I would think that winning the national title next year would be a realistic goal here. Warner has so much potential to score a lot of points from anywhere in a match. An offseason in the weight room and continuing to improve on the mat could lead to a title next year. No limit to what Jacob Warner can accomplish in wrestling.
Hwt: Anthony Cassioppi will be a redshirt freshman next season. I know there are a lot of very talented young heavyweights out there. I would not trade Cassioppi for any of the them. Anthony Cassioppi is a Hawkeye through and through. His physicality, work ethic, skill set, strength, and his ability to learn and improve will be seen next season. I would not want to put any limitations on what Cassioppi will accomplish next season, or any season.
Nelson Brands will be a redshirt freshman next season and is looking very good in the room. I have no idea where he fits in the lineup. At this time I do not believe anyone knows. A lot can happen between now and the Big Tens next March. We will have to wait an see.
A wrestler that is being forgotten is Myles Wilson. This guy surprised me with what I saw of him in competition this year. The drop to 174 was the answer. I believe if Wilson had stayed healthy that he would have been at Nationals with the potential to win some matches. Where does Wilson fit in as a sophomore next year? I do not know.
The 2019-2020 edition of Iowa Wrestling should be exciting to follow. Iowa should contend for All American status at all ten weights. The Hawks are past due to host Penn State, Okie St, and Ohio State in Carver. I could see a sellout crowd for Penn State. Iowa should have a team looking for a title heading into U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN on March 19-21 for the 2020 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
We have over seven months to get ready for next season. We as fans will be wondering if there will be any changes to the lineup and speculating what the competition will have. That is all part of the process of being a fan.
It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.