Disclaimer: I am no journalist, expert, or Jack Ryan-like analyst. I’m simply an overzealous wrestling fan that is way too eager for the season to start. Take everything I say with a block of salt. So let’s light this fuse and get going!
We can damn near make a full lineup with just the amount of guys in the 157lb wrestle-off. By my count (and I just learned to count yesterday. Be kind) there are SEVEN grapplers getting the green “Good To Go” light. This is a straight up tournament and I love it.
Reflections in a Kemdog Eye:
Previously, this weight had been locked down by Michael Kemerer for the previous two seasons. Now he’s gone. Forever.
Luckily though for us, he’s bumping up two weights to 174lbs and still with the team. Whew, did I scare ya? Of course not, us Hawkeye fans don’t get scared…
I’ll save the detailed Kemerer predictions for the 174lbs writeup, but I will say his departure leaves some big shoes to fill. After two full years in the varsity lineup he has already compiled a record of 60-6. He placed 3rd as a redshirt freshman and 4th this past season. He’s already become one of the most consistent guys in our lineup over the past few years not named Cory Clark, Thomas Gilman, Spencer Lee or Brandon Sorensen and that’s some damn good company to be in.
If we go back far enough at 157lbs we had four years with all-time great Derek St. John, then inconsistency with Michael Kelly in 2015 and Edwin Cooper Jr. in 2016. After getting back on track with Keremer we look to start a new streak of excellence and add another All-American to the 157lbs list.
The redshirt junior, Jeremiah Moody, has been listed at 165lbs over the past few years, but hasn’t seen too much of the starting lineup primarily due to the now ex-Hawk Joey Gunther (transferred to Illinois, yuck) and Patrick Rhoads. He had one dual start in the 2017 season which resulted in a big W and six points in the Iowa Central Community College dual. Other than he’s been held to open tournaments as he’s amassed a record of 22-4. Moody really made waves when he became a Junior Pan Am champ and UWW Junior Nationals Champ in freestyle over the summer. Moody defeated Okie St. commit Dustin Plott 8-6 in the UWW. Recently Plott beat our very own commit, Patrick Kennedy at Fargo. What’s more impressive is he was down 10-3 in the finals at the Pan Am and stormed back with nine straight points to bring home the gold. If his recent freestyle success is any indication, it may mean that Mr. Moody is finally ready for the big time. Here’s a great article by Carla Dempski at HNG News about his summer ass-kicking. Also, The kid has a lot of style and humor!
Joe Kelly is a true freshman and I fully expect him to redshirt. Preston Stephenson is a 2x Utah state champ and wrestled last year for the Iowa Lakes Community College where he qualified for their national tournament. Having that Juco experience will be useful and he may make some noise, but he will probably redshirt as well.
Jeren Glosser is an Eddyville, IA native and had his first career start last season which resulted in a 5-2 loss to #7 Alec Pantaleo (Mich). He also had a solid showing at the 2018 Midlands where he went 4-2 with his two losses coming to elite competition. He dropped a match 4-2 to #4 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) and 7-4 to #5 Austin O’Connor (North Carolina). They were ranked at the time, neither would go on to AA.
Pat Lugo beat O’Connor, O’Connor beat Glosser. Ryan Deakin beat Glosser, but Deakin lost several times to Brandon Sorensen and Sorensen lost to Lugo. Glosser trains with Lugo and Sorensen. I don’t know what this means, but maybe it means Glosser is competitive and right there in the mix.
Finally, we have Kaleb Young who is a redshirt sophomore. Young was a big time recruit, nationally ranked, and a Super 32 Champ coming out of high school. But after getting his first taste on varsity last year at 165lbs he’s looking for redemption. He was a bit erratic as he went 9-7, but 3-5 in duals and 0-4 in B1G play. After getting replaced by Alex Marinelli he would go on to finish 5th at the Midlands and eventually bumped up to 174lbs for a few spot starts. This ultimately didn’t prove to be a successful formula for Young, though he did hold his own in his final three matches against elite competition. He lost all three by decision to #5 Bo Jordan (Ohio St.), #3 Myles Amine (Michigan) and Johnny Sebastian (Northwestern) who was ranked #12 at the time.
With that being said, Flowrestling is high on Young and has him entering the season at #17.
Who we have to knock:
#20 Griffin Parriot, Purdue: 11/24
David Carr*, Iowa State: 12/1
#16 Gordon Wolf, Lehigh: 12/8
#12 Steven Bleise, Minnesota: 1/13
#9 John Van Brill, Rutgers: 1/18
#7 Ryan Deakin, Northwestern: 1/27
#5 Tyler Berger, Nebraska: 2/3
Zaner Wick*, Wisconsin: 2/17
Andrew Shomers, Okie State: 2/24
* indicates guys that can and will make the jump into the top 25. That’s also assuming mega recruit David Carr goes as a true freshman.
Excluding these hammers, the top three place finishers return, #1 Jason Nolf (Penn St.), #2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State), #3 Joshua Shields (Arizona St). Also, #4 Alec Pantaleo (Mich) is returning and #6 Ke-Shawn Hayes (Ohio St) is moving up from 149lbs.
At the Midlands we may bump to into Shields, Deakin (again), #12 Larry Early (Old Dominion), #13 Luke Weiland (Army) and #19 Hunter Willits (Oregon St).
I honestly do not know who is going to start. At this point the three front runners in this order are: Young, Moody and Glosser. Though I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed to see any of them go. I tend to think Moody is the dark horse, but Young has the highest ceiling, it’s just whether or not he can start to hit all on the proverbial cylinders.
Whereas, Glosser may have the consistency we need to keep individual matches close. I. Just. Don’t. Know.
It would be a huge step if someone even qualifies in March and can rattle off a couple wins to get us a handful of team points. We’re going to find out quick how we stack up against the best in the country and if we can handle our own. With every other sport I am a severe pessimist and I’m sure my fellow BHGP co-workers can’t handle my negative outlooks at times. BUT! I am forever the optimist when it comes to wrestling.
After another year with Tom and Terry Brands, I think Kaleb Young emerges as our starter. There’s been a lot of turnover in this class because of weight changes and graduations and it’s possible he makes AA, but I think he’s still a year away from putting it all together. Highest he goes is 7th or 8th, but more than likely he bows out in the R12. Which in my opinion would still be a very successful season at 157lbs.