If you have been reading my blog over the last two years you know that I have been high on Gabe Arnold, originally from Albany, Georgia. I stated several times that I thought Arnold had the physicality, technique, and skill set to compete right away as a true freshman and at an elite level.
We are still in November and just in the beginning of the season, but I sure like what I see out of Arnold so far.
Arnold started the season by winning the 174 lbs. title at the Luther Open. He had three tech falls, a major decision and a decision. His decision was 14-7 over teammate Will Carano.
In the home opener Arnold competed against #11 Travis Wittlake of Oregon State. Wittlake was an All American at Oklahoma State before transferring this past off season. Arnold won by a 4-2 decision over a senior to announce his arrival in college wrestling.
What happened in Ames for the Iowa-iowa State dual was even more impressive. Arnold went up a weight to 184 to wrestle returning All American Will Feldcamp. If the rest of the country did not know about this kid they certainly do now.
In an interview with ESPN following the match Arnold stated that he did not know that he was going to be wrestling in the Iowa State meet until the day before. Gotta love his mentality to step up and want to compete.
Against Feldcamp Arnold controlled the ties and the center of the mat throughout the match against another experienced All American senior. When Arnold got in on a single leg at the edge of the mat he showed a lot of explosive pop, strength, and technique to get the takedown. That was the best move of the entire dual meet.
Feldcamp was at least 5” taller yet Arnold showed a lot of discipline in controlling and maintaining superior positioning on their feet. Arnold used his strong hips, hand fighting, and his head to take away one entire side of Feldcamp. It is tough to score when you cannot use one side of your body because it is being controlled. That was some high level technique, discipline, and positioning. Especially impressive for an 18 year old true freshman.
The rest of the country now has videos of how Arnold wrestles. You always see the rest of the country make adjustments by mid-season when the Big Ten schedule kicks in and definitely by the time of Big Tens and Nationals. What works for a freshman right out of the gates early in their first season may be limited as the rest of the country makes technical adjustments.
What makes me confident about Arnold is that we have only seen a glimpse of what he can do. Being tough to score on, stingy is the Iowa Wrestling term, travels well. In other words it is always a great thing to have going for you regardless of the level of competition. I also like his conditioning and confidence. Arnold can light up the scoreboard with a takedown, let them up, takedown, and so on that Iowa fans love to see.
We have four months to go in the season. We do not even know for sure if Arnold is going to compete or redshirt this year. As a selfish fan I sure hope we see Arnold out there for the Hawks for the rest of the season.
The Arnold family moved from Albany, Georgia to Iowa City last year and Gabe won a state title for (Iowa City) City High. I can see this being a blueprint for future out of state recruits to do the same when they see the success that Arnold has in the Iowa program.
Jim Gibbons made the comparison of Arnold to Hawkeye legend Chris Cambell during the broadcast of the meet. That is not the first time I have heard someone from that era make the comparison. Campbell was a World Champion and two-time Olympian. More than a few Iowa legends a generation older than me believe Chris Campbell is the best Iowa wrestler ever. High praise for Gabe Arnold.
The sky’s the limit for Gabe Arnold.
174 Luther Open – 1st Place
Tyler Haydon (Wisconsin-Whitewater) W-TF 19-3
Luis Cruces (Luther) W-TF 21-5
Will Carano (Iowa) W-D 14-7
Stefan Major (Stevens Tech) W-TF 19-4
Seth Goetzinger (Augsburg) W-MD 11-3
#11 Travis Wittlake (Oregon State) W-D 4-2
184 #6 Will Feldcamp (Iowa State) W-D 3-2
It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.