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Dardanes of HWC to compete in NYC

Chris and Nick Dardanes of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club will be competing in the Bill Farrell Memorial International Open this weekend.  The Men’s Freestyle will be held on Saturday, March 31 with rounds of competition at 8 AM and 5 PM CST. The New York Athletic Club will host the event by Central Park in New York City.

The NYAC hosted an International tournament in December for over 50 years and have now changed the name and date for this year’s tournament.

Chris Dardanes will be competing at 61 kg and Nick Dardanes will compete at 65 kg.

All members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club will be competing at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas on April 27-28.


Bill Farrell Memorial International Open  Saturday, March 31

Men’s Freestyle Session I: 8 AM – 3 PM

Men’s Freestyle Medal Matches: 5 PM – 7 PM

*All times CST

10 Iowa Wrestlers named Academic All-Big Ten

The 2018 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference Team was announced.  Iowa Wrestling was well represented with 10 wrestlers being named to the prestigious honor.  To be eligible, an athlete has to be a student for the past twelve months, be a letter winner, and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.  Iowa Wrestling had 10 student-athletes named for this achievement out of 23 eligible student-athletes. That is an impressive percentage.  Iowa Wrestling had 9 wrestlers named to this honor last season.

Among those named to the Academic All-Conference Team were three wrestlers that obtained All American status last weekend at the national tournament.   Four-time All American Brandon Sorensen (149 lbs.), sophomore and two-time All American Michael Kemerer (157 lbs.), and freshman and All American Alex Marinelli (165 lbs.). Phillip Laux and Kaleb Young also saw varsity action this season.

The student athletes named to this honor are now eligible for Academic All American status.  Last season, Iowa Wrestling had three student-athletes obtain All American status for the second time in Tom Brands’ tenure.  Among those honored were Brandon Sorensen and Michael Kemerer.

This honor is a testament to the commitment to academics by the Iowa wrestlers, Iowa Wrestling coaching staff, the University of Iowa Athletic Department, and by the University of Iowa.  They truly are “Student-Athletes” in Iowa Westling. If you ever go to an Iowa Wrestling practice, you will hear Tom Brands talk about and emphasizes academics every time. These are the results.

I will keep you up to date when the Academic All American honors are announced.

Job well done.

Go Hawks!


Stephen Alvarez – RS Fr. – English & Creative Writing – Spring Valley, Calif.

Michael Kemerer – So. – Finance – Murrysville, Pa.

Phillip Laux – Sr. – Management – Brighton, Iowa

Alex Marinelli – RS Fr. – Sport & Recreation Management – Miamisburg, Ohio

Logan McQuillen – Sr. – Biology/Health & Human Physiology/Biology – Monticello, Iowa

Aaron Meyer – So. – Health & Human Physiology – Pleasant Hill, Iowa

Dan Murphy – RS Fr. – Open Major – Fort Collins, Colo.

Keegan Shaw – So. – Economics & Finances – Altoona, Iowa

Brandon Sorensen – Sr. – Sport & Recreation Management/Enterprise Leadership – Cedar Falls, Iowa

Kaleb Young – RS Fr. – Human Physiology – Punxsutawney, Pa.

My 2019 Iowa Wrestling Preview

Well wrestling fans, it is past time to start talking about the 2019 edition of Iowa Wrestling.  With Cleveland and the 2018 nationals in the rear view mirror, we now need to take a look ahead to the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh, PA on March 21-23.

The Hawks only graduate one senior from this year’s third place team in Brandon Sorensen.  Sorensen had a great career as a four-time All American and was the mere definition of consistency throughout his college career that saw him place fourth, second, third, and fifth in the nation.  The Hawks will have 84 returning nationals points and four All Americans to build on for next season.

Let’s take a look at the lineup:

125 – Spencer Lee.  As a defending national champ, I look for Lee to be much better next season.  Next year 125 will be once again be a stacked weight class that would be made even tougher with redshirt freshman Daton Fix of Oklahoma State.  Fix was a Junior World champ last year and may be the biggest recruit to come out of Oklahoma since Mark Perry in 2003. Fix defeated Tomasello of Ohio State in making the U-23 World team this past October as well.

133 –  Paul Glynn battled with graduating senior Phillip Laux throughout the season before being named as the starter.  Glynn did not qualify for nationals out of the very tough Big Ten. Look for an improved Glynn for next year’s squad.

141 – There will be an absolute battle for this starting spot.  Vince Turk and Carter Happel both saw action in the varsity lineup before Turk won a wrestle off the week before Big Tens.  Turk then really took his wrestling up a real big notch in qualifying for nationals. Turk looked good at nationals with a 3-2 record.  Prized recruit Max Murin took his redshirt year and placed ahead of Turk and Happel at Midlands. Turk won a close match in a wrestle off in early November over Murin and that was the only time they wrestled each other.  Murin defeated Happel in two tournaments including Midlands.

This weight may be decided right before Big Tens again next year.  I am expecting big things out of Murin who will be a big 141 lbs. wrestler.  Turk got a taste of the action and could really improve a lot in the offseason.  I am picking Murin to need until the second semester to get his starting spot secure and to hit his stride on his way to becoming an All American.  Will Happel go to 133?

149 – Patricio Lugo has a lot of people excited in the Iowa program.  When I asked Tom Brands about him in an interview, I got a glowing response.  Lugo is tough and fits right in with the Iowa Wrestling program. Lugo transferred in from Edinboro where he was an NCAA Qualifier during his true freshman and sophomore season.  He redshirted this past season. I am looking for a real big season out of Lugo at 149.

157 – Michael Kemerer showed a lot of guts and toughness this past season while competing through injuries to place fourth in the country.  Kemerer has another gear that is indeed there. He really developed a lot physically last year in the offseason. I look for an even better year out of Kemerer in 2019.

165 – Alex Marinelli, Bull, had an impressive freshman season that saw him enter the Big Tens undefeated.  After a sixth place finish and semifinals appearance at nationals, I look for Marinelli to be much better next year.

174 – Joey Gunther and Kaleb Young will once again battle out for the starting spot here.  Gunther won two overtime wrestle offs over Young. I look for Young to grow into the 174 lbs. division and become a force for the Hawks.  He needs the off season to put on needed size and strength, but he has everything else. With the added size, I see Young as an All American next year.

184 – Cash Wilcke and Mitch Bowman.  This may be the toughest weight to predict.  To start with, I see Wilcke going to 184, his natural weight.  Wilcke has wrestled at 197 and made it to the Round of 12 at nationals as a freshman and sophomore.  However, Mitch Bowman will have something to say about who is varsity. Bowman showed promise this year as he won two matches at nationals.  So we may have Wilcke coming down from 197 and Bowman putting on needed size for 184. This should be a real battle with the result being an All American candidate at 184 for the Hawks.

197 – Jacob Warner is a highly anticipated recruit that took a redshirt year this season.  If you have been reading my blog, you certainly know about Warner. I am very high on his potential.  From the looks of the 197 lbs. wrestlers at nationals, Warner will need to add some size and strength for next year and I am sure he will.  Both finalist at 197 graduated and it is a wide open weight for 2019. An accomplished freestyle wrestler, I an eagerly awaiting Warner competing in events this spring.  The sky is the limit for Jacob Warner at 197 for Iowa Wrestling. And I mean next year too, as in challenging for the national title at 197 and scoring a lot of points for the team.

Hwt – Sam Stoll became and All American this year by placing fifth and winning the award for most pins in the national tournament.  As a fan I thought that was great to see. A very hard worker, Stoll is a grinder that just keeps getting better every day. All four of the wrestlers that placed ahead of Stoll graduated.  I would think that would make Stoll the pre-season number one ranked Hwt in the country. Here’s to Sam Stoll chasing down a national title next year. I hope it happens.

As far as team rankings, I can see Iowa ranked as number two or three pre=season.  It will depend on how much the publications take into account what Ohio State graduated and how much Iowa has coming up.  Penn State will be the clear cut number one.

The prize will be in the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA on March 21-23 for the 2019 NCAA tournament.  There is a lot of living to be done between now and March 21 of next year. I am confident that Iowa Wrestling will field a very tough team that will be very entertaining.   The anticipation of a new lineup that already includes Lee, Kemerer, Marinelli, and Stoll should keep us fans entertained for the off season.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

Go Hawks!



Spencer Lee is…Spencer Lee

I have been using the phrase: “Spencer Lee is…Spencer Lee” in my blog and podcast for the last three months.  Why? Because I have never seen anything like Spencer Lee. I do not know who to compare him to. I gave myself a day to put into perspective what just happened in Cleveland at the NCAA tournament.  How do you describe the performance that Lee had coming off a major surgery as a true freshman at nationals? I will give it my best shot.

For starters, Spencer Lee won an amazing weight class that was loaded with returning All Americans and several other outstanding freshman.  In his five matches, Lee had two tech falls, two pins, and a dominating 5-1 decision in the national finals. The 27 team points that he scored was more than any other wrestler in the tournament.  I believe that is the second best performance at nationals in the history of Iowa Wrestling (Bruce Kinseth pinned his way through the ’79 nationals at 150 lbs.).  All the while, Lee made it look pretty darned easy. He just never seems to be out of position. Lee’s ability to improve his positioning to take his opponents offense away is impressive.

After getting a tech fall in the first two rounds, Lee made a fall in 3:58 look easy against defending All American Nick Piccininni of Oklahoma State.  The biggest match for me as a fan was the semifinals match against Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State. Tomasello won a national title at 125 as a freshman in 2015 and placed third in 2016.  In 2017, Tomasello moved up to 133 where he placed third before dropping back down to 125 this season.

Lee avenged his loss to Tomasello in the Big Ten semifinals by getting the fall over in 6:05.  Lee controlled the entire match. In his two biggest matches in the semifinals and finals, Lee scored the opening takedown, which was huge.  Even though Lee is known for his turns on top, it was his ability to score that opening takedown in those two huge matches that really set the tone.

You can talk about technique all you want, but it is easy to see that Spencer Lee is an absolute freak for strength.  Suriano and Tomasello are very well know for their strength and both appeared to be much bigger than Lee. Yet Lee was able to impose his will  with solid technique, but the whole key was physical strength like I have never seen out of a wrestler at that weight class. Maybe at any weight class.   

Here’s a scary thought for competitors.  Spencer Lee will be not only be better, but much better next year.  Look at how much better Lee got throughout the season. He is coming off of a full year where he was not able to train at his normal level due to surgeries.  That, and he is just a true freshman. Also, when I interviewed former Hawkeye All American and Young Guns head coach Jody Strittmatter on my podcast, he talked about how smart Spencer Lee is and how he will figure out college wrestling.  As in, he is just getting started.

My only concern with Spencer Lee coming out of high school is if he would be big enough to compete at 125 after a redshirt season. His three world freestyle titles were at 110 lbs.  Lee has definitely put on quite a bit of size and strength in the last year and did not need a redshirt season. Look for that trend to continue as he grows into a force on the International scene..

Several times in the past I have referred to April 20, 2016 as “The Recruiting Shot heard around the world.” That was the day that Spencer Lee, who several months later would win his third world freestyle title, announced that he was going to commit to wrestle for the University of Iowa.  Numerous times I have stated that Spencer Lee is the biggest recruit in the history of Iowa Wrestling. Even with all of the hype that surrounded Spencer Lee, he is even better than advertised. That is rare it today’s world. One last tidbit, I believe Spencer Lee is much better in freestyle than in folkstyle wrestling.  There’s a thought.

As soon as it was announced that the redshirt was coming off and Lee was wrestling against Michigan State on January 5, I predicted that he would win the national title.  With what I had seen in the practice room against incredible competition, that was an easy call to make. With all the excitement, we may have forgot that due to the rehab of a knee surgery, many did not think Lee would even wrestle this season.  That makes the performance at nationals even more impressive.

The humble interviews on TV and with the press only added to the “Rockstar” status that Spencer Lee is now at as the face of Iowa Wrestling.  Knowing that Spencer Lee is a class act on and off the mat and a very good student makes me an even bigger fan. How big will the legend of Spencer Lee turn out to be?  Time will tell and I am sure that all of us Iowa Wrestling fans will thoroughly enjoy the ride.

Spencer Lee – 2018 125 lbs. NCAA National Champion

Spencer Lee (22-2) placed 1st and scored 27.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 22-2 won by tech fall over Alonzo Allen (Chattanooga) 22-10 (TF-1.5 1:41 (18-0))
  • Champ. Round 2 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 22-2 won by tech fall over Luke Welch (Purdue) 32-11 (TF-1.5 3:59 (18-0))
  • Quarterfinal – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 22-2 won by fall over Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State) 24-5 (Fall 3:58)
  • Semifinal – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 22-2 won by fall over Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) 16-2 (Fall 6:05)
  • 1st Place Match – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 22-2 won by decision over Nick Suriano (Rutgers) 25-1 (Dec 5-1)


Hawks advance three to the Quarterfinals

It was a bittersweet Session 2 for the Iowa Hawkeyes at the NCAA national tournament.  The great news is Iowa is right in the team race. The Hawks are in third place behind Ohio State and Penn State. Iowa went 3-5 in matches in the championship second round. The Hawks advanced three into the quarterfinals and each wrestler scored bonus points.  Spencer Lee won his second straight match by the score of 18-0 by winning the tech fall in 3:59. Michael Kemerer looked very good in winning by a fall in 4:52 at 157 for his second fall of the day.  Alex Marinelli recorded his second fall of the day with a pin in 6:15. 

Iowa’s three Quarterfinalist have scored bonus point in all six of their matches with four falls and two tech falls and account for 17 of the 27 team points scored.  Those three wrestlers, Lee, Kemerer, and Marinelli are also a true freshman, sophomore, and freshman.  The future looks great for Iowa Wrestling.

The bad news is that Iowa dropped five bouts in the championship round. The biggest surprise was second seed Brandon Sorensen coming out on the short end of a 3-2 decision at 149.  Sam Stoll dropped a 7-2 decision at Hwt. That is a real tough blow to the Iowa Hawkeyes as both wrestlers were a strong favorite to win their matches.  I fully expect Sorensen and Stoll to fight back through the backside of their brackets and become an All American. Both are tough competitors and they will respond.  

Vince Turk, Mitch Bowman, and Cash Wilcke also lost their matches and are now in the consolation bracket. The five wrestlers that lost tonight will have to win three matches tomorrow to be an All American. I look for Iowa to not only win their two matches in the third round tomorrow morning, I am looking for bonus points to be scored.  Iowa can really make a huge move in the team race with their wrestlers on the backside. A third place finish in the team race would be a very good tournament for the Hawks.

In the wrestlebacks, Joey Gunther dropped a 3-1 decision at 174 to be eliminated from the tournament.


Quarterfinal matchups:

125: Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma St.)

157: Jason Nolf (Penn St.) vs Michael Kemerer (Iowa)

165: Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs Chad Walsh (Rider)


The Quarterfinals begin at 10 AM CST.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

Go Hawks!


Team scores:

  1. Ohio St – 36
  2. Penn St – 28.5
  3. Iowa – 27
  4. Michigan – 23
  5. NC State – 20
  6. Missouri – 18.5
  7. Oklahoma St – 15
  8. Lehigh – 14.5
  9. Rutger – 14
  10. Cornell – 13.5


Spencer Lee (19-2) place is unknown and scored 5.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 19-2 won by tech fall over Alonzo Allen (Chattanooga) 22-10 (TF-1.5 1:41 (18-0))
  • Champ. Round 2 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 19-2 won by tech fall over Luke Welch (Purdue) 30-10 (TF-1.5 3:59 (18-0))


Vincent Turk (15-9) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points.

  • Prelim – Vincent Turk (Iowa) 15-9 won by major decision over Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven) 35-14 (MD 12-2)
  • Champ. Round 1 – Vincent Turk (Iowa) 15-9 won by decision over Cole Weaver (Indiana) 25-11 (Dec 4-3)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Bryce Meredith (Wyoming) 31-1 won by decision over Vincent Turk (Iowa) 15-9 (Dec 5-2)


Brandon Sorensen (22-3) place is unknown and scored 1.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) 22-3 won by decision over Jared Prince (Navy) 22-5 (Dec 11-6)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Ronald Perry (Lock Haven) 30-3 won by decision over Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) 22-3 (Dec 3-2)


Michael Kemerer (24-1) place is unknown and scored 6.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) 24-1 won by fall over Coleman Hammond (CSU Bakersfield) 27-14 (Fall 1:38)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) 24-1 won by fall over Paul Fox (Stanford) 21-8 (Fall 4:52)


Alex Marinelli (18-3) place is unknown and scored 6.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Alex Marinelli (Iowa) 18-3 won by fall over Jacob Morrissey (Purdue) 21-19 (Fall 6:20)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Alex Marinelli (Iowa) 18-3 won by fall over Nicholas Wanzek (Minnesota) 23-11 (Fall 6:15)


Joseph Gunther (16-8) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Jacobe Smith (Oklahoma State) 19-6 won by major decision over Joseph Gunther (Iowa) 16-8 (MD 13-2)
  • Cons. Round 1 – Josef Johnson (Harvard) 29-12 won by decision over Joseph Gunther (Iowa) 16-9 (Dec 3-1)


Mitchell Bowman (13-12) place is unknown and scored 2.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Mitchell Bowman (Iowa) 13-12 won by major decision over Canten Marriott (Missouri) 25-7 (MD 10-2)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Myles Martin (Ohio State) 29-2 won by major decision over Mitchell Bowman (Iowa) 13-12 (MD 17-5)


Cash Wilcke (19-8) place is unknown and scored 1.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) 19-8 won by decision over Eric Schultz (Nebraska) 18-10 (Dec 4-3)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Jared Haught (Virginia Tech) 28-2 won by decision over Cash Wilcke (Iowa) 19-8 (Dec 5-3)


Samuel Stoll (20-5) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Samuel Stoll (Iowa) 20-5 won by fall over Antonio Pelusi (Franklin & Marshall) 25-9 (Fall 2:25)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Youssif Hemida (Maryland) 29-5 won by decision over Samuel Stoll (Iowa) 20-5 (Dec 7-2)


Hawks in first place after Session 1

Powered by 9.5 bonus points, the University of Iowa is in first place after the first round of the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships.  Iowa went an impressive 9-1 for the first round. Vince Turk got things started with a 12-2 major decision in his pigtail match and followed up with another win in the first round.  It took Spencer Lee only 1:41 to get an 18-0 TF at 125. Brandon Sorensen won a decision at 149, 10-6.

The Hawks then rolled up big team points with a pin by Michael Kemerer at 157 in 1:38 and Alex Marinelli in 6:20 at 165.  Iowa’s only loss for the opening round was Joey Gunther at 174. It is very important for the Hawks to have Gunther respond tonight with a big win.

At 184, Mitch Bowman looked great with a 10-2 major decision over the 15th seed.  Cash Wilcke had a great flurry at the end to score a winning takedown to win 4-3 at 197. Sam Stoll closed out a great round for the Hawks with a fall in 2:25.

There is a lot of wrestling between now and Saturday night, but you have to be very encouraged and excited about how the Hawks came out to compete in the first round.  Getting momentum on the Hawks side can only help. The 9.5 bonus points from three pins, a tech fall, two major decisions and a 9-1 record in the first round is hard to beat.

I would have to believe this is the first time Iowa has been in first place following a round at the NCAA tournament since the conclusion of the 2010 NCAA championships unless it happened in 2015.  It feels pretty damned good, too.

Tonight’s session begins at 6 PM CST.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

Go Hawks!


Team scores

  1. Iowa – 18.5
  2. Ohio State – 17
  3. Penn State – 16
  4. Michigan – 13
  5. N.C. State – 12
  6. Oklahoma St – 9
  7. Rutgers – 8.5
  8. Ariz St, Cornell, Lehigh, Minnesota – 8


125 Champ. Round 1 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) 18-2 won by tech fall over Alonzo Allen (Chattanooga) 22-9 (TF-1.5 1:41 (18-0))

141 Prelim – Vincent Turk (Iowa) 15-8 won by major decision over Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven) 34-13 (MD 12-2)

       Champ. Round 1 – Vincent Turk (Iowa) 15-8 won by decision over Cole Weaver (Indiana) 24-11 (Dec 4-3)

149 Champ. Round 1 – Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) 22-2 won by decision over Jared Prince (Navy) 22-5 (Dec 11-6)

157 Champ. Round 1 – Michael Kemerer (Iowa) 23-1 won by fall over Coleman Hammond (CSU Bakersfield) 27-14 (Fall 1:38)

165 Champ. Round 1 – Alex Marinelli (Iowa) 17-3 won by fall over Jacob Morrissey (Purdue) 21-19 (Fall 6:20)

174 Champ. Round 1 – Jacobe Smith (Oklahoma State) 19-5 won by major decision over Joseph Gunther (Iowa) 16-8 (MD 13-2)

184 Champ. Round 1 – Mitchell Bowman (Iowa) 13-11 won by major decision over Canten Marriott (Missouri) 25-7 (MD 10-2)

197 Champ. Round 1 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) 19-7 won by decision over Eric Schultz (Nebraska) 18-10 (Dec 4-3)

285  Champ. Round 1 – Samuel Stoll (Iowa) 20-4 won by fall over Antonio Pelusi (Franklin & Marshall) 24-9 (Fall 2:25)

Ragan of HWC to compete in Women’s World Cup in Japan

Alli Ragan of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club will represent Team USA at 57 kg/125 lbs. in the Women’s World Cup this weekend.  The World Cup is being held in Takasaki, Japan on March 17-18. Ragan, a two-time World Silver medalist and five-time world team member, will be apart of Team USA that will have a host of World champions and medalist.  

Team USA is in the same pool as defending World Cup champion Japan.  Japan is the number one women’s wrestling team in the world and Team USA is second.   Team USA last won the Women’s World Cup in 2003.

Former Iowa NCAA national champion Terry Steiner will serve as head coach of Team USA.  Steiner is the National Women’s Coach.

The Women’s World Cup will be live on

I will have a follow-up blog for results.


2018 Women’s World Cup

Event Schedule (CST +14 hrs.), The host city is 14 hours ahead of CST.

Saturday March 17th

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Session 1

Mat A – Canada vs USA; Japan vs. Sweden

Mat B – Mongolia vs. China; Belarus vs. Romania

11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Session 2:

Mat A – Sweden vs USA; Romania vs. China

Mat B – Japan vs. Canada; Belarus vs. Mongolia

5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Session 3

Mat A – Sweden vs. Canada, Japan vs USA

Mat B – Romania vs. Mongolia; Belarus vs. Chin


Sunday March 18th

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – 7th/8th place dual meet

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – 5th/6th place dual meet

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – 3rd/4th place dual meet

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Championship Finals dual meet

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Award Ceremonies

Nationals predictions for Iowa Wrestling

It is tournament time.  Just the mere mention of the word “Nationals” to an Iowa Wrestling fan brings out anticipation, excitement, memories, and a competitive fire.  Well wrestling fans, it is indeed time for Nationals.

If you would have asked even the most positive and loyal Iowa Wrestling fan back in October if they would have been happy with Iowa entering the 2018 NCAA national tournament with nine qualifiers, they would have responded: Hell yes!  Iowa was not even ranked in the pre-season top 10 by several publications. The Hawks roll into Cleveland with 9 NCAA Qualifiers to do battle with the best Division I wrestlers in the country. It is now time for me to put my predictions out there.

125  Spencer Lee – National champion.  I called it in early January when it was announced that the redshirt was coming off.  I am even more confident now than ever after what I saw in the semifinals of the Big Tens.  Coach Terry Brands will have a gameplan and have Lee dialed in to win it all. Seeing Spencer Lee wrestling without a huge bulky brace in practice on Sunday got me even more excited. Very confident here.

141 Vince Turk – DNP (2-2) On my podcast, I called Turk as my darkhorse for the Big Tens by predicting he would place fourth or fifth.  I was spot on. A tough pigtail match first thing is a huge test. I would really like to see Turk prove me wrong and make his way onto the awards stand Saturday night.

149  Brandon Sorensen – 2nd.  There was not a single takedown in the Big Ten finals match with Sorensen and Retherford.  An escape and riding time point was the difference, 2-0. I saw it as Retherford stalling on top, but it was never called.  Once. Do we take down when it is our choice? I am such a big fan of Sorensen that I need to realize that there are those calling for Leeth of Missouri with the upset in the semifinals.  Let’s get the finals and go from there.

157  Michael Kemerer – National champion.  I do not believe you let one move change your view on a wrestler.  Kemerer had one bad move in the Big Tens and then injury defaulted the remaining matches.  More than anything, Michael Kemerer is tough. Any physical ailments that Michael Kemerer has are not as bad as what Cory Clark had last year at nationals.  To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, The 13th Warrior: “War is often won in the will.” Kemerer has the skill set and toughness to win it all.

165  Alex Marinelli – 3rd.  We will see how Bull bounces back after Big Tens.  I am hoping that Marinelli is confident and lets the fur fly.  That is when he is at his best. Could he win it all? Heck yes but I am going with a third place finish in the toughest weight in the country.  Yes, I believe 165 is tougher than 125. Better wrestlers. Just my opinion.

174  Joey Gunther – DNP (2-2).  Gunther has a tough opening round match against a wrestler  (Smith – Ok St) that beat him 3-1 in January. Oh how an opening round win would get Joey Guns going.  

184  Mitch Bowman  DNP (2-2). First Mark Ironside and then Bobby Telford made the same comment about Mitch Bowman on my podcasts.  They both stated that nobody really wants to wrestle Mitch Bowman right now. Even though he is not seeded, Bowman is far from an easy out.  His attacking style and attitude could be a recipe for success against a highly ranked wrestler that looked past him or is hurting from making weight.  

197  Cash Wilcke – 5th.  It is difficult to call someone a darkhorse for a national  tournament to place fifth that has been ranked in the top five most of the season.  However, Wilcke comes into the tournament as the 14th seed. Last year Wilcke saved his best wrestling of the season, by far, for the national tournament.  After getting a wild card into the tournament after Big Tens due to an injury, Wilcke was within an eye blink of being an All American. This guy has the talent to go all the way at a weight class that is the biggest toss up in the entire tournament.  Wilcke has the physical tools and athleticism. It would be great to see him open up at nationals.

Hwt  Sam Stoll – 5th.  More than anything, I want to see Sam Stoll on the awards stand Saturday night as an All American.  I also see Stoll racking up some very good bonus points in the tournament as well. Go get ‘em Sam Stoll.

Should Iowa wrestle close to these predictions, I can see a third place team finish.  We really need at least one national champion. The Young Guns of Lee and Kemerer will get it done.  I also feel it is important for Iowa to score points from every wrestler entered. I expect Iowa Wrestling to “RESPOND” at nationals from their performance at Big Tens.

I made the comment to a wrestling fan at Sunday’s practice that I feel cheap or guilty for all of the great entertainment that I get from Iowa Wrestling.  This weekend, the world stops for fans like me as we follow our Hawks. I plan on being very entertained with some tough wrestling, Iowa Hawkeye style.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!     

Big Ten’s predictions for Iowa

It’s tournament time.  As great as the regular season is, tournament time is just different, and better.  The intensity goes way up and everyone is playing for keeps.  I say that the Big Ten Tournament gets tougher every year, and it does.  The depth at several weights is amazing. The quarterfinal round at Big Tens will have nationally ranked wrestlers.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are rolling into Big Tens in great shape.  The Hawks look healthy and ready to go.  I am expecting a very good to great Big Tens out of Iowa Wrestling.  Let’s go through the lineup.

125  I picked Spencer Lee to win the NCAA title as soon as is was announced that he was coming out of redshirt just after the first of the year.  Lee is seeded #2 and will probably face Tomasello of Ohio State in the semifinals.  Top seed and national #1 ranked Suriano of Rutgers is on the other side of the bracket.  The semifinals of the Big Tens starting off with Lee-Tomasello II may be the match of the entire tournament.

Prediction: Big Ten champ


133  Paul Glenn has the toughest road to qualify for the NCAA tournament.  The top seven at 133 will qualify for the NCAA tournament and Glynn is not seeded.  His name will be drawn out of hat and we go from there.  I really like what I see from Glynn right now for physical strength and confidence.  I say Glenn makes a way to qualify.

Prediction: 7th


141  Vince Turk is my pick as a wild card or dark horse for the Hawks.  I say that Turk is going to have a very good Big Ten tournament.  The top 8 qualify for nationals and Turk is not seeded.  Why am I confident in Turk?

  1. The push and grind of wrestle offs has kept him hungry all season.
  2. He is healthy and feeling strong and confident.
  3. We all know that he has the skill set from what is seen in the practice room.  

Predication: 4th


149  I do not see how you cannot be a big fan of Brandon Sorensen.  This guy leads by example with consistency, work ethic, toughness, and winning.  I am hoping for bonus points from Sorenson in the prelims.  A big re-match with Deakin of Northwestern in the semifinals who Sorensen beat in overtime a few weeks ago and then Retherford in the finals

Predication: 2nd


157  Michael Kemerer enters the Big Tens undefeated and looking tough.  I see Nolf getting the number one seed.  I see Nolf getting the top seed and wrestling two matches at the most at Big Tens.  That leaves Kemerer matched against Pantaleo of Michigan in the semifinals.  I see this as a very tough match as Pantaleo has a very good style to matchup with Kemerer.  

Predication: Big Ten Champ


165  How is freshman Alex Marinelli rewarded for entering the Big Tens undefeated?  By having the toughest road to a Big Ten title that I have ever heard of.  Should seeds hold up, Marinelli will face last year’s third place finisher Massa in the quarters, last year’s NCAA champ Joseph of Penn St in the semifinals, and two-time NCAA champ and last year’s NCAA runner-up IMar of Illinois in the finals.  It is kind of impossible to get a tougher road that that.  This has to be a record of some sort.  I say IMar wins a thriller in the finals to set up a Marinelli run for the title at NCAA’s.  Lose the battle (Big Tens), but win the war (NCAA’s).

Predication: 2nd


174  Joey Gunther is seeded #7 and the top 7 go to the NCAA’s.  I look for experience and the push of wrestle offs to be the difference for Gunther making it.  No room for error at all.  After the top three at this weight, it is up in the air for the rest of the conference.  I see Gunther placing anywhere between 4th – 7th.

Predication: 6th


184  Mitch Bowman has fought hard this season in a tough Big Ten.  Bowman enters the tournament seeded 8th and the top eight go the NCAA’s.  Bowman will face top seed and national top ranked Nickal of Penn State in the quarters.  It is crucial for Bowman to respond on the backside because there is no margin for error.

Predication: 8th


197  Cash Wilcke, seeded third, has had an interesting season and he is the most difficult Iowa wrestler to predict.  As I stated on my podcast, nothing would surprise me from Wilcke.  He could place sixth or win it all.  The top six qualify for nationals.

Prediction: 3rd


Hwt.  I am a Sam Stoll, fan, we all know that.  But I really, one more is needed, r-e-a-l-l-y like where Sam Stoll is seeded at #4.  We cannot overlook the quarters against a very tough Hermida of Maryland.  That would lead to a semifinal match against Coon of Michigan.  Stoll dropped a 3-2 match to Coon in the dual at Carver and basically did nothing in wrestling a bad match.  I say Stoll gets the win this time.  We want the number 2 or 3 seed at NCAA’s should Snyder be #1 and a Big Tens finals appearance should make that happen.

Predication: 2nd


Those predictions lead to Iowa getting all ten to the NCAA’s.  A little optimistic, but very realistic.  There isn’t one weight that is a real stretch to at least qualify for nationals.  

My prediction for the team race?  I am still going to put Iowa at third.  The Nolf situation could really make the team race even more interesting.  Iowa will have to wrestle a very good tournament to place third.  Do I want to see Iowa win the Big Tens?  Of course.  By far more than that, I want a great showing at the NCAA’s.  A healthy full team of 10 rolling into Cleveland in 13 days sound great to me.

Let’s get ‘em in the middle.

Go Hawks!  


Big Ten’s schedule

Saturday, March 3:

Session 1 through Quarterfinals – 9 AM

Session 2 Semifinals – 5 PM


Sunday, March 4

Session III Consolations – 11 AM

Session IV Finals – 2 PM

***All times are CST

The finals will be shown live on BTN.  All rounds will be live on and on FloWreslting.

Mark Ironside and Steve Grace will have all of the action on 800 AM KXIC and on iHeartRadio at free of charge.

Lisbon has great showing at AAU Kids State Tournament

Lisbon made is two great weekends in a row at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.  The high school captured their 16th state title in school history by winning the 1A title last weekend.  The future of Lisbon Wrestling rolled into the Iowa AAU Kids State Tournament this weekend and came away with a state champion and seven of eleven qualifiers placing.  That is a great performance.

Robert Avila won a state title at 130 lbs. in Division C.  Avila, in 8th grade, stormed to the finals with four straight tech falls by the scores of 25-9, 21-6, 22-5, and 20-5.  Considering the periods are only 1:30 long and that is against the top wrestlers in the state, that is very impressive.  Avila defeated Gabe Mcgeough of MFL in the finals, 3-1.

Avila was one of a total of four placewinners for our 8th grade.  Max Kohl was third at 138 lbs., Quincy Happel was fourth at 100 lbs., and Cade Siebrecht was fifth at 90 lbs.  Add in Jamien Moore who qualified at 145 lbs. and Lisbon will have a great freshman class next fall to join the high school program.  

Lisbon will graduate six seniors and lose 76.5 of their championship winning 127.5 points from this year’s team. Lisbon has 51 returning points for next year in 1A compared to Denver with 80 and Don Bosco with 72.  This eighth grade class and this year’s freshman will have to produce quite a bit for Lisbon to three-peat in 1A and tie Waterloo West as the most successful program in Iowa High School wrestling history with 17 state titles won.  I would say that the potential is definitely there.  

In Division B (5th and 6th grade), Lisbon also had a great showing with Mathias Kohl (6th grade) placing second at 98 lbs., Wes Sadler (5th grade) placing 7th at 70 lbs., and Justin Avila (5th grade) placing 8th at 92 lbs.  Tiernan Boots (5th grade) at 82 lbs. and Indiana Ferguson (6th grade) at 138 lbs. qualified for state.  

In Division A (3rd – 4th grade), Cade Happel (4th grade) qualified at 74 lbs.

A tip of the hat to the coaches that volunteer so much time to make our Lisbon Wrestling kids program this strong:

Matt Gogel

Nick Boots

Dean Happel

Matt Kohl

Jeff Clark


Congratulations to the Lisbon wrestlers, coaches, parents, and fans on a great season.  Thank you for the great entertainment.

Lisbon Wrestling of all ages will now enter the off season to compete in other sports, compete in Freestyle and Greco-Roman, attend camps, and hit the weight training and wrestling room to get ready for next year.

Our kids program is the future of Lisbon wrestling, and the future looks great.

Go Lions!


Division A (3rd – 4th grade)

Cade Happel, 4th grade, 74lbs, DNP


Division B  (5th and 6th grade)

Wes Sadler, 5th grade, 70lbs, 7th place

Tiernan Boots, 5th grade, 82 lbs, DNP

Justin Avila, 5th grade, 82lbs, 8th place

Matthias Kohl, 6th grade, 98lbs, runner-up

Indiana Ferguson, 6th grade, 138lbs, DNP


Division C  (7th and 8th grade)

Cade Siebrecht, 8th grade, 90lbs, 5th place

Quincy Happel, 8th grade, 100lbs, 4th place

Robert Avila, 8th grade, 130 lbs, Champion

Jamien Moore, 8th grade, 145lbs, DNP

Max Kohl, 8th grade, 152lbs, 3rd place


A 3rd-4th Grade 74 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Cade Happel (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Joseph Delgado (West Liberty Wrestling Club) (Dec 11-6)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Blake Fox (IAWC) won by tech fall over Cade Happel (Lisbon lions) (TF 18-0)
  • Cons. Round 2 – Cody Giron-buster (Ankeny Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Cade Happel (Lisbon lions) (Maj 14-4)


B 5th-6th Grade 70 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Cole Frost (Team Bosco) (Dec 1-0)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Ethan Skoglund (SBL Warriors) (Dec 1-0)
  • Quarterfinal – Jake Knight (Bettendorf Wrestling Club) won by fall over Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Fall 0:36)
  • Cons. Round 4 – Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Jayson Stevens (Team Valley) (Dec 5-0)
  • Cons. Round 5 – Maximus Brady (Ankeny Wrestling Club) won by decision over Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Dec 6-4)
  • 7th Place Match – Wesley Sadler (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Jayden Rinken (Waverly Area Wrestling Club) (Dec 3-0)


B 5th-6th Grade 82 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Ty Solverson (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) won by major decision over Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) (Maj 10-1)
  • Cons. Round 1 – Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) won by major decision over Taven Moore (Riverside Wrestling Club) (Maj 12-1)
  • Cons. Round 2 – Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) won by fall over Zac Finzen (Legends of Gold) (Fall 1:34)
  • Cons. Round 3 – Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) won by major decision over Keegan Ellsworth (Knights Wrestling Club) (Maj 16-4)
  • Cons. Round 4 – Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) won by fall over Jack Hansen (Ubasa Wrestling Academy) (Fall 3:00)
  • Cons. Round 5 – Ty Solverson (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) won by decision over Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) (Dec 14-7)
  • 7th Place Match – Vinny Mayberry (CIWC Team Intensity) won by decision over Justin Avila (Lisbon lions) (Dec 6-4)


B 5th-6th Grade 82 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Keegan Ellsworth (Knights Wrestling Club) won by decision over Tiernan Boots (Lisbon lions) (Dec 7-0)
  • Cons. Round 1 – Ethan Henson (Maquoketa Little Cards) won by decision over Tiernan Boots (Lisbon lions) (Dec 5-2)


B 5th-6th Grade 98 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Matthias Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Jesse Jones (SF Mat Pack) (Dec 6-4)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Matthias Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by fall over Brayden Combes (Falcon Wrestling Club) (Fall 0:46)
  • Quarterfinal – Matthias Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Kolby Gibbons (Ankeny Wrestling Club) (Dec 2-0)
  • Semifinal – Matthias Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Landon Fernandez (Team Bosco) (Dec 2-1)
  • 1st Place Match – Austin Evans (High Altitude Wrestling Club) won by decision over Matthias Kohl (Lisbon lions) (Dec 7-3)


B 5th-6th Grade 138 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Indiana Ferguson (Lisbon lions) received a bye () (Bye)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Jack Hiland (Bellevue Shooting Stars) won by fall over Indiana Ferguson (Lisbon lions) (Fall 1:34)
  • Cons. Round 2 – Indiana Ferguson (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Jathen Devereaux-carlile (HCWC) (Dec 4-2)
  • Cons. Round 3 – Justin Bowen (M st m) won by fall over Indiana Ferguson (Lisbon lions) (Fall 1:40)


C 7th-8th Grade 90 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Joshua Glendening (DC Elite) (Maj 8-0)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Jace Rhodes (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) won by fall over Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Fall 3:00)
  • Cons. Round 2 – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by fall over Logan Gard (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) (Fall 2:38)
  • Cons. Round 3 – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Lucas Else (pirate wrestling) (Maj 10-0)
  • Cons. Round 4 – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Dawson Bond (Red Oak Tigers) (Dec 7-5)
  • Cons. Round 5 – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by fall over David Grimes (CIWC Team Intensity) (Fall 2:14)
  • Cons. Semi – Dominik Ridout (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Dec 7-3)
  • 5th Place Match – Cade Siebrecht (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by decision over Owen Helgeson (Ankeny Wrestling Club) (Dec 3-1)


C 7th-8th Grade 100 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Kevin King (South Central Calhoun Titans) (Maj 11-1)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by fall over Elijah Mendoza (Bettendorf Wrestling Club) (Fall 1:29)
  • Quarterfinal – Garrett Funk (IAWC) won by decision over Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Dec 5-2)
  • Cons. Round 4 – Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by fall over Grant Odell (Ubasa Wrestling Academy) (Fall 2:28)
  • Cons. Round 5 – Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Brody Hoversten (Disciples of Wrestling) (Maj 14-4)
  • Cons. Semi – Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) won by medical forfeit over Clayton Mcdonough (IAWC) (MFF)
  • 3rd Place Match – Layne Brenden (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) won by decision over Quincy Happel (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club) (Dec 9-6)


C 7th-8th Grade 130 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Robert Avila jr (Lisbon lions) won by tech fall over Jackson Taylor (West Lyon) (TF 25-9)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Robert Avila jr (Lisbon lions) won by tech fall over Cauy Masters (Central Decatur) (TF 21-6)
  • Quarterfinal – Robert Avila jr (Lisbon lions) won by tech fall over Eli Thorson (CIWC Team Intensity) (TF 22-5)
  • Semifinal – Robert Avila jr (Lisbon lions) won by tech fall over Brayden Broderick (High Altitude Wrestling Club) (TF 20-5)
  • 1st Place Match – Robert Avila jr (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Gabe Mcgeough (MFL Mar Mac) (Dec 3-0)


C 7th-8th Grade 145 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Jacob Waller (Bellevue Shooting Stars) won by decision over Jamien Moore (Lisbon lions) (Dec 8-1)
  • Cons. Round 1 – Brett Peterson (Lake Mills Youth Wrestling) won by fall over Jamien Moore (Lisbon lions) (Fall 4:18)


C 7th-8th Grade 152 lbs.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by fall over Blake Westercamp (Southern Iowa Outlaws) (Fall 1:20)
  • Champ. Round 2 – Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by fall over Dylan Grage (Pleasant Valley Wrestling Club) (Fall 1:56)
  • Quarterfinal – Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Noah O`malley (buttolph) (Osage) (Dec 8-2)
  • Semifinal – Carter Cahill (Ankeny Wrestling Club) won by decision over Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) (Dec 6-0)
  • Cons. Semi – Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by disqualification over Reese Moore (Team Valley) (DQ)
  • 3rd Place Match – Max Kohl (Lisbon lions) won by decision over Diego Cortes (Bettendorf Wrestling Club) (Dec 10-4)