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Iowa Wrestling demolishes UT-Chattanooga, 39-0

Nelson Brands and Tony Cassioppi impress in their Hawkeye debuts

Michael Kemerer drops Hunter Fortner like a sack of rocks. Teching him 21-0.

There were a lot of questions going into our first dual of the season and while this didn’t answer many, actually the lineup probably created even more, it was still a fun dual packed full of some surprising (and not so surprising) results.

UT-Chattanooga came into Carver with confidence and they wrestled like they were already in mid-season form. The Hawkeyes? A tad sluggish at some weights. The Hawks had to scrap off some early season rust, but still pitched a shut out and won 39-0.

It was a lopsided score for sure, but I truly expected something even more off-kilter. Pushing this into the 40’s would’ve been nice, but The Mockingbirds were ready to go and were definitely punching above their weight.


125: #1 Spencer Lee maj. dec. #22 Fabian Gutierrez, 16-5. Iowa 4-0

133: Paul Glynn dec. Wade Cummings, 11-7. Iowa 7-0

141: #2 Austin DeSanto tech. fall Aidan Murphy, 23-4. Iowa 12-0

149: #3 Pat Lugo dec. #21 Tanner Smith, 9-4. Iowa 15-0

157: #2 Kaleb Young maj. dec. George Carpenter, 16-6. Iowa 19-0

165: #3 Alex Marinelli dec. Drew Nicholson, 9-4. Iowa 22-0

174: #3 Michael Kemerer tech. fall Hunter Fortner, 21-5. Iowa 27-0

184: Nelson Brands dec. #21 Matthew Waddell, 8-4. Iowa 30-0

197: #7 Jacob Warner dec. 5-4 #24 Rodney Jones, 5-4. Iowa 33-0

285: #12 Tony Cassioppi pinned Grayson Walthall, 1:45. Iowa 39-0

Notable Notables:

125lbs: I really didn’t want to start the season having a concern, but don’t be taken aback when you hear the engines of the conditioning rumors crank up. Because, it’s going to happen immediately. Lee came out guns blazing, racking up a lead of 12-2 going into the 2nd. From there, the wheels started to wobble as Lee should signs of fatigue. Even though he won by a major decision, it was not as decisive of an outing as we’d come to expect. He was out of position several times and damn near gave up exposure points himself, none more apparent than in the closing seconds of the match. IMO- he probably should have given up at least 2NF, but alas, he didn’t and due to a strong start was able to keep Gutierrez at bay. But the Gut had a solid game plan... every opponent Lee wrestles from here on out is going to look at this match for preparation.

133lbs: Glynn gave up several early TDs, but hung tough and came out on top. Brands says, “he’s gritty and he’s gutsy,” and he ain’t wrong. This kid is just scrappy, that’s all there is to it. He flashes elite defense, but is like a locomotive and takes a while to get up to speed, but once he does he’s tough to handle. Good solid win by the Glynn.

141lbs: DeSanto bumped up in place of an injured Max Murin and damn was he impressive. He absolutely torpedo’d Aidan Murphy and it wasn’t even close. DeSanto has perfected the fireman’s carry and with his nonstop, all-go-no-quit attitude, he’s a legit title threat at either 133 or 141. DeSanto is the real deal that’s what makes him the most exciting wrestler in this lineup.

149lbs: Even though Lugo only won by a decision, I thought he looked just fine. Lugo has never been a bonus point machine and at this stage in his career, he probably won’t be. That being said, had he not given up a 50-50 scramble in the 1st, he probably would’ve been in major territory. Either way, Lugo was never in danger and controlled the match from the get-go. Also, he scored a TD at the end of the 1st and 2nd periods to finish each on top. We need to see more of that from him

157lbs: Young had to generate very little of his own offense to be explosive in this match. I feel like he went into this looking for those positions and getting better on the counter-offensive. He wound up clocking in 7 TD’s, but only one, maybe two of those came off his own shot. KY is scary good and already looks to be in midseason form. Damn is he fun to watch or what?

165lbs: The Bull did what the Bull do despite only coming away with a major decision. Nicholson wrestled defensively throughout and when that happens it’s hard to rack up the points. The pins and the bonus points will come, but Nicholson is big and strong, but was never in this match and it wasn’t as close as the end results. As Tom Brands said in his presser, he needs to pick up the pace and be aggressive.

174lbs: Kemerer is back in a BIG way. HELL YEAH! It’s been well over a year since we’ve seen Kemdog on the mat and it was like a life-long friend coming home. He picked up where he left off and throttled Hunter Fortner for the rare 21-0 tech fall. Kemerer looks every bit the size of a 174lber and wrestled with fluidity and strength. What’s better is there were no braces or compression sleeves anywhere to be found (though he did wear knee pads, but he always has).

184lbs: Nelson Brands perhaps wrestled the match of the night as he bumped up and knocked out #21 Matthew Waddell. Per Cody Goodwin, Brands weighed in at 176.5lbs. Taking out anyone up a class is an impressive feat, but what makes this more exciting how he did it. Despite being clearly undersized, Young Brands flashed strength, speed, confidence, and a willingness to attack. Perhaps a these are traits we’ve been missing at this weight for some time now. I’m not ready to call Brands our future starter, especially being 8lbs too small, but the question will be asked through late December and into the Midlands. Expect that tournament to settle the debate.

197lbs: Well Warner won and that’s about where my optimism ends with him today. He was in control for much of the mat, but questionably cut Jones loose to start the 3rd. Tom Brands gave him the decision and he took it, even with 37 sec of riding time staring him in the face. Locking in that minute could mean life or death against superior competition later on. Warner was up 5-3 late in the 3rd and got lazing, giving up a TD as time expired. It was a lackluster finish to an otherwise solid first two periods. I do appreciate his drive and his desire to extend the lead, but If he’s is going to roll the dice and try to push it late, he damn well needs to follow through and captalize. This is a learning lesson for our young sophomore.

285lbs: This was probably the match everyone was looking forward to and Big Cass kicked ass. It’s been years, YEARS, since we’ve had a quick, athletic heavyweight. Cassioppi is hyped for a reason and that was on display tonight as he got the fall in 1:45min. Cass isn’t screwing around about that pin record and is gunning for it. He has tramendous upside. He’s like a big Marinelli. He dosen’t go out there and play with his food. He wants to put his foot on all the throats and end it as fast as he can. I. Love. It.

Final Thoughts:

We got to get better. We got to get better no matter what happens.

-Tom Brands

The Hawks have some serious work to put in this week before we clash with our bitter instate rivals, Iowa State, next week. If our heavy hitters come out flat against ISU we could be in for a rude awakening. But all things considered, this was a dominate showing to start the season. Except for Glynn, every guy scored first and never trailed. We also scored bonus points in half our matches: two majors, two techs, and one fall.

We never got dinged for a stall call the entire dual, which is a good early season indicator for our aggressiveness. And if my notes are correct, we never got ridden out to end a period (except for Jone’s late TD against Warner’s.)

However, questions remain. Is Glynn our guy at 133 (although it sounds like he had quite the cut to make weight) or does Teasdale get a shot? Is DeSanto staying up at 141? What’s the extent of Max Murin’s injury at 141 and if he comes back, does DeSanto challenge him at this weight? Also, is Brands going to stay at 184 and relieve #9 Cash Wilcke of his starting duties.

Tom Brands said they’re doing every thing for a specific reason, unfortunately we do not know those reasons. There are a lot of questions that remain, but as far as I’m concerned, these are all good questions to have. It means we have depth and we’re going to need it.

Also, my parents and niece were in attendance tonight and it was my nieces first Hawkeye wrestling dual. She had an absolute blast. Afterwards, she got her picture taken with Tony Cassioppi, which made her night. I want to give a shout out to Big Cass for being gracious and kind enough to allow that. You now have a die hard fan for life.

Tom and Terry Brands are doing things the right way. Bringing in not only high quality athletes, but high quality human beings. This is a team you can’t help but cheer for.


Up next we square off with Iowa State on Sunday, Nov. 24th in Ames at 2PM GT.