That’s right, the best of the best are slugging it out this coming Saturday.
Where? In our own backyard inside the sacred grounds of CHA. Thankfully, the scheduling masters have planned this out and it doesn’t conflict with the Iowa vs. Michigan game. The festivities will kick off at 5PM, immediately following the Hawkeye win in Ann Arbor, anyone that’s still in town is encouraged to take the victory celebration to Carver to get that party started.
Now that I’ve eased the football confliction tension, let’s get into this thing.
Who’s Number One is an annual event organized by Flowrestling and previously hosted at Lehigh University. Literally, not figuratively, the best recruits in the land have been battling it out to determine who gets the top spot. Some of the biggest and brightest stars have competed in years past: Mark Hall, Zahid Valencia, Daton Fix, Nick Suriano, Myles Martin, Vincenzo Joseph, Yianni Diakomihalis, Gable Steveson, Joey McKenna, and Jason Nolf, just to name a few…dozen. There’s a crap-ton of NCAA champs mixed into that group and more than likely, there will be a few in this year’s edition as well.
132lbs: #1 Jesse Mendez, IN vs #4 Ryan Jack, CT
132lbs: #2 Dom Serrano, CO vs #3 Shayne Van Ness, NJ
120lbs: #1 Jesse Ybarra, AZ vs #2 Jakason Burks, NE
113lbs: #1 Richard Figueroa, CA vs #2 Stevo Poulin, NY
145lbs: #1 Victor Voinovich, OH vs #2 Jesse Vasquez, CA
65kg: Josh Saunders, MO vs Anthony Echemendia, AZ
152lbs: #1 Sonny Santiago, CA vs #2 Travis Mastrogiovanni, NJ
160lbs: #1 Paddy Gallagher, OH vs #2 Keegan O’Toole, WI
126lbs: #1 Robbie Howard, NJ vs #2 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, NJ
138lbs: #1 Beau Bartlett, PA vs #2 Ryan Sokol, MN
170lbs: #1 Alex Facundo, MI vs #2 Patrick Kennedy, MN
132lbs: Mendez/Jack vs Serrano/Van Ness (Winner of 1st two matches face off here)
Superfight: Pat Downey vs Nicky Rodriguez
Other than witnessing the future of our sport, they usually end the night with a super-bout featuring current/ past world team members or simply big names in the sport of wrestling. Here we have current world team member Pat Downey taking on ADCC runner-up, Nick Rodriquez. Nicky Rod is big time grappler and submission wrestler, but this going down in freestyle. Even being under-sized, PD3 should take this easily.
These guys are starting to come off the recruiting boards at a furious pace, but several of them have yet to commit to a university. But what’s fun for Hawk fans, is that officially two of them, Patrick Kennedy and Jesse Ybarra, are coming to wrestle for us (names are highlighted in lineup card for more info.) Ryan Sokol is another that verbally committed to Iowa, then rescinded that commitment in late August to re-open his recruitment process.
But please do not give up on him quite yet. He’s coming to wrestle in Carver for the first time and this could be the opportunity we need to get back in the race. Be rowdy, be loud, but above all, be supportive!
Another name to keep an eye on is mega-recruit, Paddy Gallagher, who’s narrowed his schools down exclusively to the Big Ten. In this interview he lists his top choices, not necessarily in this order, but in his own order: Iowa, Ohio St, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin. This kid screams Hawkeye wrestling. LOVE IT.
Furthermore, he’s already taken visits to Michigan and Illinois, but has Iowa and Ohio St on the horizon… we could use this as an unofficial visit to boost his interest. Yeah, let’s do that.
Also, Jesse Vasquez, who is the highest ranked senior for the 2020 class is still uncommitted. At one point, early on, he had some interest in Iowa, but that has since wavered. Perhaps this is another opportunity for us to get back in the hunt.
Folks, this is a big time event that could boost our recruiting momentum. If this is successful and sticks, it’ll come back, it has to. So, I encourage all you wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike, to go out and support these young athletes. This is a prime-time national event that could give us the leverage to land not only an extra name or two off this card, but future ones as well.
With nine of the wrestlers coming from the Midwest it made sense to move the dual this direction, but CHA wasn’t a lock, let alone a possibility, until coaches Tom Brands and Ryan Morningstar stepped in. For anyone who has a Flowrestling account, you can check out a play-by-play of the thought process here.
For those of you that do not have access and would like a very brief transcript, this is all it took:
Flowrestling: Coach [Brands], what do you think? Who’s Number One at Iowa?
Tom Brands: Well, why wouldn’t you have it here?
Flowrestling: Good question Coach…
Tom Brands: You should have it in Carver. It’ll be a great atmosphere.
And that’s all she wrote. So here it comes.
Event time: 5:00 PM CT // Saturday, October 5, 2019
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena // Iowa City, IA
TV/ Online: Flowrestling
Ticket Information: $20 General Addmission