Well. This sucks.
My next write-up was supposed to be a fun-filled preview for the Iowa vs. Iowa State dual. It was the only dual that I can attend and I was beyond excited. Now I feel like I’ve been sucker punched by the realization that KemDawg definitely won’t be going. And he definitely won’t be going for the remainder of the year.
A bomb was dropped on Iowa City in an official press release.
Rumors can be put to bed. He’s definitely on the DL now.
It looks like Tom Brands, Kemerer, and company have finally decided it’s best to get this thing fixed. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not going to speculate on the nature of his injury or the surgery he is having, but I’m thankful that if it is this bad this is the path they are taking.
Kemerer is a redshirt junior and has wrestled on the varsity level for two years, resulting in two All-American honors. He placed 3rd in 2017 and 4th in 2018 at 157 lbs, respectively. In his two years of competition he is already 60-6, well on his way to 100 career wins.
But with his staggering number of early wins come the injuries that have followed closely behind him. He’s battled knee issues previously as well as an apparent shoulder injury that derailed his NCAA run last year, ending in a medical forfeit which secured him that 4th place finish. Just a couple weeks prior to that he defaulted to 6th place at the Big Ten Championships.
Kemerer was bumping up two weight classes this year to 174 lbs and trying his hand with a fresh crop of new guys to destroy. He entered the season ranked #6 - sadly he won’t be ranked anymore. At least not until next year.
Where do we go from here?
The short and easy answer - I don’t know. So far, we have redshirt freshman Myles Wilson filling in and he’s been a serviceable backup, but perhaps not someone we can rely on to be a world-shaker, at least not at this point in his young career. With Kemerer gone that’s 16.5pts that’s not returning to the NCAA Tournament in March. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the position of not just needing a suitable replacement, but a replacement that can find his way to the podium. The only way you gain back that many points is finding another All-American somewhere on your team… and someone that can weigh the appropriate weight.
Option 1: We continue to ride Myles Wilson and see what he can do. If he can start to string together some solid wins and boost his confidence, then maybe he can garner an at-large berth to the NCAA’s. At this point though, that may be asking too much.
Option 2: Someone else in the lineup steps in. Perhaps Jaren Glosser goes from 157 lbs to 174lbs. I think this is highly unlikely, but it could be a last-ditch effort. I think Glosser could be very competitive at the varsity level, but up two weights he may not be. Or perhaps a guy like Tristan McDonald comes up from 165 lbs? The only other option is pulling the redshirt from Nelson Brands who also sits comfortably at 165 lbs, but that has a 0% of happening as far as I’m concerned.
So we go with…
Options 3: Mitch Bowman. He’s subbed in twice now at 197 lbs for Jacob Warner and he even has an upset over #10 Christian Brunner (Purdue) but he’s officially our 184 lbs backup. Last year he was an NCAA qualifier at 184lbs and went 2-2 before bowing out. The bright side, both his wins were of the bonus variety.
Now here’s the interesting thing, according to Ross Bartachek from IAwrestle - Bowman did certify at 174lbs, which means he could cut back down if his body allows it. Ol’ Mitch has continued to weigh in at 184lbs despite wrestling up, and he’s been kicking ass while up there.
Let’s just say he can cut back down - don’t expect to see him there this week. Per NCAA weight management rules, he can only safely drop 1.5% of his weight per week. Apparently he previously weighed in at 182.5lbs. So should we take a look at this? YES.
Nov. 27: 182.5lbs
Dec 1: 179.86
Dec 8: 177.07
Dec 15: 174.41
Dec 22: Greenlight to ass kicking
If this happens, that means he’s ready for the Midlands on Dec 29. In the interim we’d probably see Connor Corbin again at 197lbs or at least until Warner steps in.
Of course, this is all very hypothetical. All of this depends on whether or not he can be healthy doing this and if his body allows it. If he can’t or doesn’t he may not see the lineup much this year once Warner makes his debut. Either way I think we see Bowman make the attempt. I truly hope he can find a way down. I like Bowman and I love his attitude. He deserves to start in this lineup and another chance at the NCAA’s.
Team Race: What’s this mean for Iowa?
This means that Michael Kemerer is going to come back next year 100%, perhaps completely healthy for the first time since his redshirt year. This means that he will more than likely go for a sixth-year eligibility or medical hardship waiver (whichever is applicable at this point). It means we could have him for two more years if everything goes to (the new) plan.
This year was always about closing the gap to Penn State. I know the team wants to win, expects to win, and could win. But things would have to really fall our way to pull it off. Next year was always logically the year we make the run. Penn State graduates Bo Nickal, Jason Nolf, and whichever All-American and title contender they trot out at heavyweight. Assuming Nickal and Nolf ruin our dreams again this March they will each have three titles. That’s an asinine amount of points to try and replace.
Penn State always reloads and they will again. But regardless of the next champion they crown at those weights, it’ll be tough to immediately replace the guys that have been doing it for years now.
Realistically we were fighting for second, which pains any Hawkeye to say, but now this severely jeopardizes that. Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and NC State are all in the hunt and aiming to knock us down. Now we’re in the fight for our lives to even make a podium finish as a team. Some will say our season is over. Close up shop. Phone it in. Fit this season for a pine box. There’s no way he can medal.
I say bullshit.
I say this could be a successful season if we do.