Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling

Cassioppi and Kennedy win U23 WTT

It was a great performance for Iowa Wrestling in Geneva, Ohio. Tony Cassioppi and Patrick Kennedy won titles at the U23 World Team Trials. Cassioppi rolled to the 125 kg finals where he defeated Zack Elam (Tiger Style Wrestling) 2-0 in a best of three format by scores of 11-4 and 13-2. Cassioppi is the defending U23 World Champion at 125 kg.

Patrick Kennedy looked real tough in winning the title at 74kg. Kennedy defeated Peyton Hall (Mountaineer Wrestling Club) 8-3 and 5-0 to win the best of three finals. Kennedy is an elite recruit that is set to step into the lineup at 165 for the Hawks this year with four years of eligibility remaining.

Abe Assad (86kg) and Brennan Swafford (79kg) placed third, Cobe Siebrecht (70kg) placed fourth and Drew Bennett (65kg) did not place. With this impressive performance the Hawkeye Wrestling Club won the team title for the U23 WTT.

The U23 World Freestyle Championships are in Pontevedra, Spain on October 22-23. 

A special mention is needed for the showing that Siebrecht and Swafford had this weekend. Their performance really influences the landscape for the starting lineup for the upcoming season. It was also great to see Abe Assad back in action competing at that high of a level. A healthy Abe Assad can have a big year in 2023 for the Hawks.

Iowa Wrestling is going to be better this year than most may be thinking here in early June. This weekend was a big boost of confidence and excitement for me in the Iowa Wrestling program.

Great job Iowa Wrestling.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Kueter wins U20 WTT

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruit Ben Kueter won the best of three series 2-0 to win the 97kg/213 lbs. U20 World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio. Kueter defeated Noah Pettigrew (The Storm Wrestling Center) 5-0 and 7-0 in another dominating performance.

Kueter, from Iowa City (City HS), Iowa, will now represent Team USA at 97kg at the 2022 U20 World Freestyle Championships in Sophie, Bulgaria on August 15-16.

In April Kueter won the UWW U20 Freestyle Nationals in Las Vegas to automatically qualify for the best of 3 series when he defeated Pettigrew 4-3 in the finals.

Kueter wil be a senior this fall at City High. Last September Kueter gave a verbal commitment to both the University of Iowa Wrestling and Football programs. Very rare in today’s era of specialization. This is a special athlete that has unlimited potential in both football and wrestling at the highest level.

Nate Jesuroga (Pleasant Hill, Iowa/Southeast Polk HS) placed fourth at 57kg. Aiden Riggins (Waverly-Shell Rock HS, Iowa) at 74kg and Kaleb Franklin (Dubois, Pennsylvania/Wyoming Seminary) at 97kg did not place.

A special mention that Kueter, Jesuroga, and Riggins are all members of the Sebolt Wrestling Academy. This is the second consecutive year that SWA has a World Team member. Last summer Nate Jesuroga won a Bronze at the 2021 Cadet Freestyle World Championships.

Kueter and Jesuroga are in the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2023 that I have already labeled as the best junior recruiting class in the history of Iowa Wrestling. Riggins and Franklin are in the Class of 2022 and will be enrolled as freshmen this fall at Iowa.

The future looks great for Iowa Wrestling.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Nine Hawks competing at U20/U23 WTT

The present and future of Iowa Wrestling will be competing on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5. Seven current and two incoming Iowa Hawkeyes will be in action at the U20 and U23 Freestyle World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio. A spot on Team USA is on the line. Anytime you have a WTT you can expect great competition.

The U20 World Freestyle Championships will be in Sophie, Bulgaria on August 15-21. The U23 World Freestyle Championships are in Pontevedra, Spain on October 17-23.

Tony Cassioppi is the defending World champion at 125kg. Aiden Riggins and Kolby Frankin are in the incoming Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2022. 

Ben Kueter has already quaified for the U20 best of three finals at 97kg. Nate Jesuroga is also registered to compete. Jesuroga won a Bronze last summer at the Cadet World Freestyle Championships. Kueter and Jesuroga are in the outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2023.

Kueter, Jesuroga, and the entire Class of 2023 will officially be Iowa Hawkeyes on National Letter of Intent Signing Day on Wednesday, Novermber 9.

All of the competition will be covered by the premium service of FloWrestling. Wrestling begins at 8:30 AM CST Saturday for both the U20 and U23 division. 

 

U23 WTT

Drew Bennett – 65kg

Cobe Siebrecht-70kg

Patrick Kennedy – 74kg

Brennan Swafford – 79kg

Abe Assad – 86kg

Tony Cassioppi – 125kg

 

U20 WTT

Nate Jesuroga – 57kg

Caleb Rathjen – 70kg

Aiden Riggins – 74kg

Kolby Franklin – 92kg

Ben Kueter – 97kg

 

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Iowa leads the country in attendance

The University of Iowa wrestling program led the nation in attendance for the 15th straight year. The Hawks set a record with a 14,905-home average, selling out the entire season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The announcement was made by the National Wrestling Media Association.

I am still amazed that season tickets sales were halted in early November with over 14,000 preseason tickets sold. That will be a record that will be difficult even for the Hawks to ever top.

The Hawkeyes drew an overall attendance total of 89,430. Iowa has led the nation in attendance in every season that Tom Brands has been head coach which began in the 2006-2007 season.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

7 Hawks named NWCA Scholar All-Americans

Seven University of Iowa wrestlers have been named as 2022 National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I Scholar All-Americans.

Drake Ayala, Austin DeSanto, Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer, Jacob Warner and Tony Cassioppi represent the Hawkeyes as NWCA Scholar All-Americans.

To be eligible, student-athletes must have a 3.2 grade point average and have won 60 percent of their matches or maintain a 3.0 GPA while earning All-America honors.

Kemerer and Marinelli earned the distinction for a fifth time in their careers, Young earned his fourth, while Warner and Cassioppi are now three-time honorees.

Iowa has received 54 NWCA academic honors since Tom Brands was named head coach in 2006.  The seven honorees are the second-most in a season in program history, trailing the eight honorees in 2020.

To have seven starters named for this honor is impressive.

Iowa Wrestling – getting it done on the mat and in the classroom.

Well done.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Kueter wins U20 Nationals

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits were in action at the 2022 U20 Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend. In the U20 Nationals 97 kg finals Ben Kueter defeated North Carolina commit Noah Pettigrew (The Storm Wrestling Center), 4-3. Kueter was dominating on his way to the finals and had a great tournament. The sky is the limit for Ben Kueter.

By winning U20 Nationals Kueter will automatically qualify for the best-of-three 97 kg finals at the U20 World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio on June 5.

Incoming Hawk Kolby Franklin defeated Caden Rogers (Diplomat WC) 4-0 to place third at 92 kg. The third place finish qualifies Franklin for the U20 WTT. I was impressed with Franklin’s performance this weekend and look forward to him being an Iowa Hawkeye this Fall.

Kueter is in the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2023 and Franklin is in the Class of 2022.

Nate Jesuroga placed second at 55 kg at the U17 World Team Trials. In a loaded weight Jesuroga dropped a best of three series in the finals, 2-1, to Jax Forrest of Pennslyvannia. Bout three was 4-4 on criteria. Jesuroga is in the Recruiting Class of 2023.

Next up will be a huge weekend of wrestling on June 3-5 for the U20 and U23 World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio. I am hoping we see some Iowa Hawkeyes compete at the U23 WTT. I will keep you posted.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Iowa wrestlers and incoming recruits competing at U.S. Open

There will be plenty of action for Iowa Wrestling fans to follow this weekend. The South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will host the U.S. Open on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30. There will be elite competition for both men and women in Freestyle as well as Greco-Roman competition.

Iowa Wrestling fans will be able to follow the Hawks with past, current, and incoming recruits competing. You can follow all of the action on the premium service for FloWrestling.

Members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club in the Senior U.S. Open are Patricio Lugo, Rachel Watters, Victoria Francis, and Jordan Nelson. Cullan Schriever, a sophomore on the Iowa Wrestling team will also be competing in the Senior Open. 

In the U20 division current Iowa wrestlers Jesse Ybarra, Caleb Rathjen, and Sebastian Robles will be competing.

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruits Nate Jesuroga and Gabe Arnold will be competing in the U17 division. Jesuroga won a Bronze at the 2021 Cadet World Freeestyle Championships.The champion at each weight will represent Team USA in the 2022 Cadet World Freestyle Championships in Rome, Italy on July 27. This event will also be a qualifier for the Pan-American Championships on June 24-26, 2022 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Jesuroga and Arnold are in the outstanding Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2023 that I have already labeled as the best junior recruiting class in the history of Iowa Wrestling. By a large margin.

Competing in the U20 division are incoming recruits Aiden Riggins, Ben Kueter, Kolby Franklin, Joel Jesuroga, Jace Rhoades, and Easton Fleshman.

The U20 and U23 World Team Trials will be in Geneva, Ohio on June 3.

 

Senior Division

Cullan Schriever 

Pat Lugo 

 

Women’s Senior Division

Rachel Watters 

Victoria Francis 

Jordan Nelson 

 

U20 

Jesse Ybarra 

Caleb Rathjen 

Sebastian Robles

 

Incoming recruits:

Aiden Riggins

Ben Kueter

Kolby Franklin

Joel Jesuroga

Jace Rhoades

Easton Fleshman

 

U17

Nate Jesuroga 

Gabe Arnold

 

 

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Upcoming Freestyle schedule

After a bit of a break it is now time to transition into the Freestyle season for our great sport of wrestling. We will have former, current, and future Iowa wrestlers competing in freestyle tournaments starting this week and throughout the summer.

South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will host several tournaments this weekend. The Senior U.S. Open for Men’s and Women’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman will be the headliner for a weekend of great wrestling. The U.S. Open for U20, U17, and U15 will be a showcase for future recruits, incoming recruits and college freshmen.

I will keep you up to date right here on my blog of current, former and future Hawkeyes competing this weekend.

As fans we will be entertained nearly every weekend with elite competition that concludes with the biggest wrestling tournament in the World of Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo in July.

This Freestyle season will have an added boost with all of the the incomng Iowa Wrestling recruits that will be competing. Freestyle competition also provides fans a look at future recruits that will be making a name for themself on the Freestyle circuit.

Freestyle Schedule

April 29-30: U.S. Open for Senior Men’s and Women’s Freestyle, Greco-Roman, U20, U17, and U15 in Las Vegas, Nevada

May 6: Women’s National Championships – U15, U17 (Cadets), U20 (Junior), U23 in Ft. Worth, Texas

May 13: Last Chance Qualifier for Senior Men’s and Women’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman in Atlantic City, New Jersey

May 20: Senior World Team Trials Challenge Tournament for Senior Men’s and Women’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman in Coralville, Iowa

June 3: U23 and U20 World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio

June 3: Final X  for Senior Men’s and Women’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman in Stillwater, Oklahoma

June 6: Final X  for Senior Men’s and Women’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman in New York, New York

June 8: U16 (Cadet) Duals in Loves Park, Illinois

June 14: Junior Duals in Tulsa, Oklahoma

July 15: Junior and U16 (Cadet) Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota

 

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Wyatt Schultz and Chad Zaputil inducted into the IWHOF

Legendary press member Wyatt Schultz and former Iowa Hawkeye great Chad Zaputil were inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. A banquet honoring the IWHOF Class of 2022 was held at the Cresco Country Club in Cresco, Iowa on Monday evening. 

Wyatt started his lifelong connection to wrestling by competing for his hometown of Postville, Iowa. What started by taking pictures of wrestling events turned into a career passion for Wyatt as the owner of The Predicament. Wyatt sadly passed away last spring. Wyatt Schultz was a friend to everyone that knew him in the wrestling community and in life. You just do not replace a Wyatt Schultz and he will always be missed.

“Zap” was one of my all time favorite Iowa wrestlers. Coming out of Mystic, Iowa (Centerville HS), Zap shot to fame by defeating future teammate Terry Brands in the 1987 119 lbs. State Finals when he was a junior and Brands a senior. He was a member of the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 1988 with Troy and Terry Steiner and John Oostendorp. 

Zap went on to be a three-time NCAA Finalist and three-time Big Ten Champions for Iowa in 1991-1993. Iowa won a national team title all three years with Zap starting things off at 118 lbs. I have called the 1992 Iowa Hawkeyes the greatest wrestling team in the history of college wrestling many times over the years. Zap was lead off on that very team.

We all remember the “Zap Tap” for technique. My favorite memory is how many times Zap scored back points off of a takedown by having the strength to hold an opponent on their back before they bellied out to score a cheap two or three back points. Strong guy. 

Congratulations to Chad “Zap” Zaputil and God Bless our friend Wyatt Schultz for being inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

Sharratt named to Glen Brand HOF

Iowa National champion Joel Sharratt has been named to the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Located inside of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, the Glen Brand HOF was established in 2002 to honor Iowans who wrestled or coached for an Iowa school and made an impact on wrestling on a national level. 

A banquet honoring the Class of 2022 will take place at the Prairie Links Golf and Events Center in Waverly, Iowa on Friday, June 24. The time has yet to be released. Also in the Class of ‘22 are former Iowa Hawkeyes Jay Borschel, Luke Moffitt, and the Trizzino Family. 

Sharratt won a state title for Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota and a Junior National Freestyle title before being a member of the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 1990. Gable told me several times over the years that Sharratt along with Chris Campbell were physically the most college ready recruits coming out of high school that he ever coached. 

Sharratt was a three-time NCAA Finalist and 1994 NCAA National Champion at 190 lbs. He won a Big Ten title in 1995 and was a member of three Big Ten team titles (1993-95). Sharratt was a member of the 1993 and 1995 NCAA national championship teams. 

After college Sharratt placed third at the 1996 Olympic Trials and won a Bronze medal at the 1997 Pan Am Championships. He was a two-time member of the U.S. National Freestyle team.

After retiring from competition Sharratt began his coaching career. After serving as a grad assistant at Minnesota and assistant coach at Navy, Sharratt was the head coach at Air Force (2007-2014) and Navy (2014-2020).

Congratulations to Joel Sharrat for being inducted in the Glen Brand Hall of Fame.

For more information on the Class of 2022 HOF Banquet contact the NWHOF Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or dgmstaff@nwhof.org.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!