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Wrasslin’ previews: The Heavyweights

We’re so close to the season I can smell it.

FloSports: FloWrestling Iowa at SDSU
In keeping with the theme, we’ll continue to use Iowa-SDSU photos. Also hello, Cash.
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Leading up to Iowa’s first competition of the year on Friday, we’ll be previewing the 2017-18 Iowa wrestling team. Tuesday we took a look at the lightweights. Yesterday we lauded the middle of the lineup. Today? The big dudes.

I’m going to miss Sammy Brooks.

The mullet, the swag, the wins and the exciting matches. But he’s moved on to bigger and better things and now the Hawkeyes have a very big hole to fill at 184. Luckily for Iowa, there’s some studs in waiting here.

The big question, however, remains if they can stay healthy or not.

Sam Stoll is supposedly 100-percent, but his injury history is going to be something that’s going to hover over the the team this year. That said, let’s relive the greatest moment in recent memory from this group.

That’s the stuff.

Let’s dive in.

184 pounds

Wrestle off winner: Mitch Bowman over Myles Wilson, (Fall 6:30)

Luther Open winner: No Hawkeyes entered.

Probably should consider: Pat Downey, if he gets eligible.

Over the past two seasons Bowman has seen limited time and the junior has compiled a 14-8 career record.

He had a fall in the wrestle off and is listed as the starter in Iowa’s probables heading into tomorrow’s Iowa City Duals. Will he stay there for the entirety of the season? That’s a good question.

Bowman obviously has huge shoes to fill and if he starts off strong, there’s a good chance the spot is his. If not? Well, that’s where Downey comes in.

First and foremost, Downey has a deservedly poor reputation. Maybe there’s some redemption in store but I’m not really all that sold. This is one of those situations where it’s not a guy that’s real easy to root for.

Maybe he’s gotten himself together. Maybe. If there’s a coach and program that can get the most out of a troubled athlete, it’s Iowa.

That said, he still hasn’t finished with his Iowa State credit work, so he might never even see the inside of the Hawkeye wrestling room as a member of the team. Only time will tell.

197 pounds

Wrestle off winner: Jacob Warner over Cash Wilcke, (4-3 dec.)

Luther Open winner: Warner over Jordan Newman (UW-Whitewater), (18-10 Maj.)

Probably should consider: Wilcke and Warner both

Cash Wilcke is slated as the probable starter for the Iowa City Duals.

He went 19-13 last season, finished 8th at the Big Ten Championships and was one win shy of All-American status at the NCAA meet. This isn’t going to be an easy choice.

Warner is a true freshman and as has been stated in this series before, Tom Brands isn’t exactly keen on putting those guys in his lineup. That said, there’s a strong chance 125-pounder Justin Stickley gets the nod as a true freshman this weekend.

It’s a slippery slope. As with every wrestler, Warner wants to go. Wilcke didn’t compete in the Luther Open, so Warner hasn’t had a second crack at him. In the grand scheme of things I think Warner will have the spot before all is said and done.

If not, will Brands and Co. try to have Warner or Wilcke cut to 184? I think that’s a legit question.

Neither of these wrestlers are guys Iowa wants to see transfer and in wrestling, it’s hard to get time for everyone. This feels like another spot in the lineup that might get decided at Midlands.

Even then, it seems pretty reasonable we’ll see Warner redshirt this year.

285 pounds

Wrestle off winner: Sam Stoll over Aaron Costello, (2-0 decision)

Luther Open winner: Aaron Costello over Triston Westerlund (Upper Iowa), (Fall 2:42)

Probably should consider: The Injury Bug. Steven Holloway?

This one’s pretty simple.

Sam Stoll, when healthy, is one of the better heavyweights in the Big Ten. By virtue of the conference’s strength, that makes him one of the best in country.

If he gets injured, as he has been over the past two seasons, things get real murky. After Stoll got injured last season, Steven Holloway stepped in and... wasn’t impressive. He went 6-12 (1-5 Big Ten) at a weight he really is too small for.

Aaron Costello has all the makings of a truly great heavyweight, as well as the bloodlines — he’s related to former Iowa and current Bronco long snapper Casey Kreiter. Simply put, Costello is obviously the heir apparent to Stoll. If all goes according to plan, he’ll redshirt this season and then either fight with Stoll next season or wait one more year.

Brands, obviously, is high on Stoll.

“He's an anchor, literally and figuratively, and you know what, when you see his wrestle-off score was 2-0, his face doesn't reflect what he's thinking, but he's fired up and he's moving forward.

And it's absolutely essential that he is healthy and he's done a lot of things in his life to give him every edge to make sure he stays healthy. He's a different guy. He's got a little bit more athleticism because he's lighter. He's got a little bit more scramble-ability because he's lighter, and when you have those things and there's a little bit more pizzazz and a little bit of giddy-yup in your step, it's positive for him.”

But he said some pretty good stuff about Costello too.

“And then let's look it from the other side. You've got Aaron Costello who's come a long ways. He's come a long ways because of one reason, and that's because of how he comes to work every day.”

The future is bright here, but if Iowa wants to do anything at all this season, they’re going to need Stoll. Let’s hope he stays healthy.