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Life Without Sam Stoll

Is Iowa toast at heavyweight?

Sam Stoll Rutgers Rachel Jessen
We won’t see the big man with a torn ACL until next season.
Rachel Jessen

So, wrestling fans, has the gut punch that was Friday evening’s loss to Penn State subsided yet? As may be the case with some of you, I’m less angry about the dual after taking a step back and thinking how close the Hawkeyes were to making things very interesting at the finish. Then again, that performance was close to the best shot Iowa can realistically give against the Nittany Lions and likely won’t get the job done come March.

Of course, the loss of heavyweight Sam Stoll to an ACL tear is a big factor in this admittedly defeatist thinking — even before the injury a lot was going to have to fall in Iowa’s favor to win a national title. On paper, losing a potential All-American with virtually no depth behind him all but closes the door on Iowa’s title hopes, but has a few other implications worth discussing.

His Replacement

Positive spin: Steven Holloway doesn’t have to worry about cutting too much until he presumably attempts to get down to 197 for next season, because heavyweight is going to be his job the rest of the way.

Unfortunately, Holloway will be undersized and probably suffer a few more whoopins like he did against now-No. 4 Nick Nevills of Penn State. He’ll get No. 1 Kyle Snyder and No. 2 Connor Medbery when No. 3 Ohio State No. 12 Wisconsin roll into town the next two Friday evenings. Sigh.

It’d be nice to see Holloway put up more of a fight than he did against Nevills in Friday’s tech fall, but there’s only so much to ask of a guy wrestling out of his class. Best of luck to him the rest of the way, hopefully this experience works in favor for the rest of his Iowa career.

Medical Redshirt

Tom Brands is scheduled to meet the media this afternoon at 2 p.m., so we’ll hopefully get further explanation in this department. But (you may’ve seen this in the open thread), you’d be safe to think Stoll’s chances are solid given his short season.

The same rule we grew familiar with in Drew Ott’s and Matt VandeBerg’s sagas is the standard across of all NCAA Athletics — participating in less than or 30% of a team’s competition qualifies for a medical hardship waiver/redshirt.

What we’ll gain clarity (hopefully) on is if tournaments are counted in the denominator of that 30% cut line. Stoll wrestled in three of Iowa’s 14 duals this year, so he’s kosher in that regard. If the Luther Open and Midlands count as one competition each, that puts Stoll at a quarter of Iowa’s competitions.

The only reason we’re bringing this up is because of the NCAA’s goofiness. They can’t count each session of the Midlands as one competition, can they? GIVE US KNOWLEDGE, TOM!

Alex Marinelli

I felt your eye roll. But, if for nothing else but entertainment’s sake, it’s worth circling back on a — you guessed it — Mike Finn question posed in Brands’ Saturday night presser.

From my interpretation, Brands saying he’s a “hard liner when it comes to making sure we do the right thing by our individuals” effectively puts reinforced steel on the already boarded-up door that represents the possibility of Alex Marinelli wrestling in an Iowa singlet this season. His Midlands performance was good, not great, and the ailment he dealt with early in the year caused the redshirt to stay on — you can disagree with it, but Brands thinks the best individual situation for the bull is to sit out this season.

The second part of his answer, in which he laments Joey Gunther not taking advantage of Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph “leaving the door open,” to paraphrase, shows the competitor in Brands. Yeah, it’d be great for Marinelli to wrestle and he probably could’ve downed Joseph, but this is the way things are.

This is one blogger’s opinion. Let us know yours on a bizarre ending to a press conference if you please.