Wrestling a Hawkeye is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you are tired, you quit when the Hawkeye is tired. Which won’t happen so you might as well quit.
-Gable the Conquerer
The time is here. The moment we’ve all be waiting for. The first dual of the season!
On Sunday afternoon our #2 Hawkeyes officially begin their “Kick-Ass Tour” and take their initial step towards their first NCAA championship in a decade. They battle The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mockingbirds on the sacred mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 2PM God’s Time.
However, this isn’t the only ass whoopin’ our boys will be handing out this weekend. Tom and Terry Brands are splitting time and sending 18 of our brawlers to the Grandview and Luther Opens in an attempt to throttle all three sporting events. I like our odds.
Hawkeyesports released the match notes. We don’t have much of a history against the Mocs, but the small backstory we do have is filled with 100% dominance, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
The Hawks have only clashed with the Mocs three times before and are undefeated at 3-0, outscoring the southern opponents by about 5,000-3. All jokes aside, it’s been an extremely lopsided affair since the debut of the series back in 2011, but it should be known that Chattanooga has scored points in the NCAA tournament every year except 1990 and have 12 All-Americans to their name.
Terry Brands was also the head coach of the Mocs from 2003-2005. There’s little doubt in my mind that these duals are happening because of the relationship Terry has built with his former school and that’s pretty cool.
The Mocs have had a rough start to the young season and sit at 1-2. After a decisive win against Southern Illinois Edwardsville, they’ve dropped back-to-back duals to Army and Illinois. Sandwiched in between those two duals they also competed in the Southeast Open where all ten of their wrestlers made it onto the podium, including two in the finals. Most of their guys have already wrestled several times this year. They’ve already accumulated a lot mat time early on, so they will be amped up and ready to go.
Per wrestlestat only #22 Fabian Gutierrez (125lbs) lands inside the top 25. But if we expand our rankings, there are three more that breach the rankings on trackwrestling: #21 Tanner Smith (149lbs), #21 Matthew Waddell (184lbs), and #24 Rodney Jones (285lbs).
At the time of this writing the Hawks have yet to wrestle, but there will be a few potential starters going to the Grandview and Luther Opens on Saturday. Gavin Teasdale (133lbs), Max Murin (149lbs), and #9 Cash Wilcke (197lbs) are attending the Luther Open and all are in the running to crack the starting lineup, but we’ll see if they take to the mat on Sunday. Perhaps Tom Brands is just using these early events to get his guys primed or to get a better look at what he has to work with. Perhaps none of these guys go during the dual and even more questions will be asked.
Teasdale and Wilcke are both listed in the probable lineup, so I’m inclined to think that we’re going to get to see them take on their Chattanooga counterparts. If Max somehow takes the mat we could potentially be fielding ten ranked guys, but even without him we are heavily favored and quite frankly, should shut these guys out and keep them off the scoreboard.
125: #1 Spencer Lee vs #22 Fabian Fabian Gutierrez. In all respects to Gutierrez, this shouldn’t be a match and I fully expect Spencer to tech fall or pin him by the second period… if not before. I’m listing this because I’m being a Nervous Pervous and want to see how Lee’s knee is doing. He’s been wearing his brace during practice and we’re all dying to see if the knee is free for his first match of the season.
149: #3 Pat Lugo vs #21 Tanner Smith. Smith is a 2019 NCAA qualifier and has wrestled some competitive matches in his young career. Though he doesn’t have any signature wins to date, he’s fully capable of keeping this close. For Lugo, I want to see him wrestle like he’s ranked 3rd. He needs to go out, be aggressive, and push this thing into bonus point range. If he breaks this open against a ranked opponent, it could be a good indicator for how this season could go.
184: #9 Cash Wilcke vs #21 Matthew Waddell. This matchup is exactly the same as 149. Waddell is a solid advisory, but one that Wilcke should handle soundly. As I’ve mentioned in our season previews though, Wilcke has a tendency to keep things close and seems to be comfortable wrestling at a slower pace. However, this should be a match he blows open and if he can make a habit of pushing the pace and striving for bonus points it’ll be a good momentum builder moving forward.
125: #1 Spencer Lee (0-0) vs. #22 Fabian Gutierrez (4-2)
133: #2 Austin DeSanto (0-0) // Gavin Teasdale (0-0) // Paul Glynn (0-0) vs. Falco Valdez (2-5) // Wade Cummings (2-2)
141: #2 Austin DeSanto (0-0) // Carter Happel (0-0) vs. Adrian Murphy (0-4)
149: #3 Pat Lugo (0-0) vs. #21 Tanner Smith (4-2) // Mason Wallace (3-3)
157: #2 Kaleb Young (0-0) vs. George Carpenter (4-5) // Tyler Shilson (2-2)
165: #3 Alex Marinelli (0-0) vs. Drew Nicholson (4-4)
174: #3 Michael Kemerer (0-0) vs. Hunter Fortner (2-4)
184: #9 Cash Wilcke (0-0) vs. #21 Matthew Waddell (5-1)
197: #7 Jacob Warner (0-0) vs. #24 Rodney Jones (3-3)
285: #12 Tony Cassioppi (0-0) vs. Grayson Walthall (2-5)