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Iowa Wrestling: Jason Renteria is leaving the Hawkeyes

After 14 months at Iowa he will look for his second (second) chance

Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

The Iowa Hawkeyes are stacked up and down the lineup, especially from 125 – 141lbs. With names like Spencer Lee, Austin DeSanto, Max Murin, Jason Renteria, Vince Turk, Paul Glynn, Aaron Cashman, Cam Shaver and now with the addition of Gavin Teasdale, yes, that Gavin Teasdale, all fighting for a total of three possible weights, we had a strong inkling that someone would eventually depart the program. After all, there’s only room for three starters and majority of these guys could be starting elsewhere.

Unfortunately, that foreboding feeler came true and someone has left: Jason Renteria. Hawkcentral recently broke the story, for their write-up please click here.

Without ever suiting up for the black and gold, the talented Renteria has already had quite the storied history with Iowa. Sadly, it’s going to be a history best forgotten.

Renteria was a highly touted prep coming out of high school as a 4x finalist and 2x champ from Illinois. He originally committed to the Hawks before backing out the summer before his senior year and re-committing his talents to another Big Ten rival, Nebraska. He went on to become a varsity starter as a true freshman for the Cornholers going 8-4, placing 5th at the B1G’s, and qualifying for the 2018 NCAA tournament.

He shockingly missed weight at that NCAA’s, so that 5th place finish was the last time he has wrestled at the collegiate level. Immediately following that mishap, he would go on to ask for a full release from Nebraska in search for a fresh start. He surprisingly found that in Tom and Terry Brands and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Considering Jason had yet to wrestle a full season and his possible weight-control issues, it wasn’t an abnormal move when it was announced that he would be redshirting last year. But, what was abnormal, was that he didn’t compete unattached at any of the open tournaments that the Hawks typically send their young studs to. At the time we all thought this was a natural move to acclimate Mr. Renteria to the rigors of college life and the importance of weight management for an extended period of time. This is sometimes a wake-up call followed by an adjustment period for wrestlers coming out of high school. But looking back, perhaps the first (maybe not first, but biggest) red flag should’ve been thrown at our faces when he didn’t even compete at the wrestle-offs.

The chat forums and social media warriors would continually shout to the internet gods last year, asking why Renteria wasn’t wrestling, but all we got in return was dreaded silence. Was this foreshadowing the events that were to come? Should we have known that something was off from the get-go?

Perhaps, yes. It was always an odd series of events that got him here from recruitment, to commitment, to de-commitment, to transfer. Maybe the writing was on the wall, but truth be told, I still didn’t see this coming.

So what happened?

With no official statement being made from either the university or Renteria, we simply don’t know and it’s all speculation at this point. Unless he enrolls somewhere else and gives us insight I doubt we’ll ever know. Tom and Terry sure aren’t going spill it.

Furthermore, I could go into a diatribe about how the competition is simply too elite, especially with the addition of Teasdale, but that would be doing a disservice not only to him, but the coaching staff as well. There’s no reason to believe that is what’s occurring here. He’s an elite level athlete that thrives off tough competition and he came to Iowa to surround himself with not only the best light-weights in the world, but the best light-weight coaches as well. Though I will say, the timing of the dropout coinciding with the start of classes is odd. Then again, so is this story.

Also, there’s been rumors populating the interwebs that perhaps he’s going through some family difficulties back home. Whatever the case may be, we truly wish him the best of luck moving forward. He’s an amazing wrestler and I hope to see him somewhere on a mat soon. Without a shred of doubt, he’s going to turn himself into an AA candidate when he finally finds his new team.

So what happens now?

Call me optimistic, naïve, or down right dumb, but I don’t think too much has changed. Our starting lineup, minus 174 and 285, are all returning (plus we finally get Michael Kemerer back). What has changed though, is the dynamic in the practice room. One simply cannot replace a wrestling partner of his calibre.

I obviously wish JRent was still with us, but he was going to have a helluva battle on his hands to crack the starting lineup. We all expected him to give it a go at either 133 or 141. So, hypothetically, if he were to find a varsity spot, he had to potentially battle through an All-American at 133lbs in Austin DeSanto and two more NCAA qualifiers at 141lbs in Max Murin and Vince Turk. But as we’ve seen with previous wrestlers throughout the college landscape, they’re willing to go up or down until they find a spot. Luckily for Iowa, at either end of those weights sits two more All-Americans, Spencer Lee and Pat Lugo.

But anything and everything can happen… they’re only a heartbeat from the spotlight. Y’all remember Joe Slaton and Dan Dennis, right?

Iron sharpens iron,” as the old saying goes, but in this case, Iowa’s proverbial blade has undoubtedly gotten a bit duller.