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Wednesday Scrambler: The New Guys, Vol. 1

Let’s learn about the newbies in Iowa’s lineup. Today: 141 and 157.

Rachel Jessen

As promised last week, today is the day we’ll discuss what’s happening at weights where the Hawkeye wrestling team will feature starters that weren’t regulars in the lineup last season. As you’ve seen from the headline it’ll be 141 and 157 tomorrow, with 165 and 197 coming mañana in the IC Duals primer.


Following Saturday’s Luther Open, it looks like Topher Carton is going to get the nod to start the season at this weight. The senior has compiled a 47-20 record as of Saturday during his time in Iowa City, but has never been able to crack that starting spot. Josh Dziewa wasn’t going anywhere during Carton’s first two years, and the Assumption product couldn’t crack last season’s seemingly revolving door at the weight. He’s likely not an obvious candidate for bonus points once Iowa gets to the meat of its schedule, but still could be a serviceable option at the weight and a bridge to either Carter Happel or Vince Turk next year. Prior to last season, he told me he’s going to win a national title at some point in his career, so the attitude’s there.

Speaking of Happel and Turk, they figure to be the future of the weight for Tom Brands and company. It’d surprise some to see Brands take the redshirt off Happel, a true freshman and highly-touted recruit from Lisbon. For reference, the last Hawkeye wrestler not to take a redshirt year was Nathan Burak, who had a year at the Olympic Training Center after high school before enrolling at Iowa. If Happel wrestles as a true freshman, great, he might be ready, but don’t expect it to happen.

As far as Turk goes, he’s likely the biggest challenger to Carton’s spot, but suffered a shoulder injury in his first-round tilt over the weekend. He went 17-4 as a redshirt last season, and, assuming this injury won’t hold him back all year, he might be the starter come postseason time. Everything I’ve seen from Turk — which, admittedly isn’t a ton — makes me think he could be the guy. He’s explosive and aggressive (not saying Carton isn’t), but he could rattle off a few wins for the Hawkeyes at Big Tens and NCAAs. As has been the case in the past, the battle could head through the Midlands and into the new year.


If all goes according to plan, the only name you’ll need to know here this season is Michael Kemerer. The redshirt freshman lost only two matches last season wrestling at 149 and finished fifth at the Midlands. He’s explosive, he’s aggressive, he’s a former top-10 recruit from Pennsylvania — the guy can flat out wrestle.

He smoked his way through the bracket at the Luther Open, recording a pin and three tech falls before getting his hand raised by forfeit in the championship bout. You should be really excited to see what he can do at this weight in 2016-17. Two-time defending NCAA Champ Isaiah Martinez of Illinois moved up to 165 this season, and 57 is a much weaker weight without him. Jason Nolf of Penn State looks like a tremendous obstacle to overcome, but who’s to say Kemerer can’t do it. He projects as a guy with a very high ceiling, and I cannot wait to see him wrestle Oklahoma State head coach John Smith’s son, Joe, when the Hawkeyes head to Stillwater in mid-January.

Michael Kemerer, don’t let us down.

A fan stole acquired C.J. Beathard’s helmet in the madness following Saturday’s 14-13 win over Michigan, with photos surfacing on social media, and the helmet getting its own Twitter account. These are the types of things we need on a regular basis, Iowa Twitter.

On a related note — and I apologize if I’m late to the party here — Beathard’s goatee/beard combination is reaching a level of excellence occupied by Kyle Orton’s neckbeard.

Does the face fuzz or Morehouse’s jacket look warmer?

The Journey was awesome Tuesday evening on BTN. It featured a lot of Jabrill Peppers, and a lot of footage of Desmond King and Jourdan Lewis in their grade school days playing in Detroit. Highly worth the watch for the throwback footage alone.

Here are the game highlights.

Combing through the usual crop of Tuesday #content we get from the Iowa media, I found more than one comparison between freshman Manny Rugumba and King. Just going to leave it at that.

If any fans take strong wrestling photos and want to lend them to us to use in the early-going, let me know, because I really want to avoid screenshotting YouTube videos and recycling the same images of Brands.