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Iowa Wrestling: No. 2 Iowa vs No. 6 Oklahoma State Preview

Senior Day. Black Out. Standing room only. Last chance to see Lee, Murin, and Warner!

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tomorrow afternoon our #2 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes face off against #6 Oklahoma State at 3:30PM to close out the regular season. The end of the grind is here and we can finally shift our attention to the post-season. But I urge us to pump the brakes and enjoy this dual for what it is:

Senior Day - let us appreciate our seniors - this is the last time we will see them in Black & Gold at home.

Tomorrow Carver-Hawkeye arena will officially say goodbye to Spencer Lee, Max Murin, Jacob Warner, Drew Bennett, Joe Kelly, and manager Madison Mashek.

Lee, Max, and Warner have been three thoroughbred workhorses that have anchored this lineup since they first laced up their varsity shoes. Lee debuted in 2018, while Murin and Warner hit the mat the following season. When it comes to our starters, those three have become household names and that speaks volumes to their accomplishments and their impact. What more do I add that hasn’t already been touched on?

Although Bennett and Kelly haven’t been regular starters, their impact, especially internally amongst the team, is unquantifiable. They’re two of the main practice partners for guys such as Austin DeSanto, Jaydin Eierman, Murin, Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli, and Michael Kemerer. Without those two pushing our former greats hard in the room we could have had a very different outlook throughout the years. I wish them nothing but the best and future success!

Furthermore, how fitting is it that we say goodbye to Spencer Lee, our greatest Hawkeye wrestler while facing off against the other most dominant school in wrestling history. Since the inaugural championships in 1928 there’s been 92 tournaments - Oklahoma St. and Iowa have won 58 of them (Cowboys 34/ Iowa 24).

OKST leads the all-time series 29-24-2, though we have rattled off 6 of the last 8 to close the gap including a big win at their own Bout at the Ballpark last season.

Sunday can get us one dual closer to knotting this historic rivalry.


The Cowboys have had an interesting year. While they’ve never technically been “down” they certainly haven’t been as dominant as we expected. They fell to Minnesota in December and to Iowa State a month later. Following that loss to our in-state little brother they had a few more tight wins before ramping things back up and obliterating Stanford and Oklahoma leading up to tomorrow’s dual.

Head coach John Smith is one of the best in the biz and it appears his guys are rounding into form at the perfect time. He has all 10 wrestlers appearing in the Intermat Rankings including 3 inside the top 10: #2 Daton Fix (133lbs), #9 Kaden Gfeller (157lbs), and #10 Travis Wittlake (184lbs).

Likewise, they have four returning All-Americans in Fix, Wittlake (2021), Wyatt Sheets, and Dustin Plott. Their returning AA’s are all solid veterans and we know what they can do, but mix in their young up-and-comers eager to make their mark and they suddenly have a salty lineup that can hang tough in any dual setting. Some may not progress to the podium this year, but we should keep our eyes on Victor Voinovich (149lbs), he’s the real deal.

OKST faces an uphill battle in CHA, but if they can take their three favored matches, pull off an upset or two, they’ll make this ditty interesting down the stretch.

IOWA (14-1)

This could be the 2nd time all season where we send our full lineup into battle. Albeit, it is a big could because 133 and 184 both have the classic and/or in the probable lineup card. Considering Teske went last weekend I’m inclined to believe he gets the nod again. Additionally, it is a welcome sight to see Abe Assad’s name listed as well. Old Abe hasn’t seen the mat in nearly a month following his pin against Wisconsin’s Tyler Dow back on 1/22. He needs mat time and this is his last chance to get it before the conference tourney.

Despite Michigan sending out a few backups last weekend, our 33-8 ass kicking over the Wolverines was our best performance to date - that’s the direction we need to keep trending. We took 8 of 10 matches including a big upset for Cobe Siebrecht over Will Lewan. This is the type of peaking we hope to see just before March rolls around and things get real, real fast.

While most of these upcoming matches will have little impact on Big Ten seeding they very well could come into play for the NCAA’s. This is the final opportunity for some guys to gain ground on their out-of-conference opponents (for both teams), so we need to be ready from the 1st whistle.

Bonus points, per usual, will play a major role in deciding this dual’s fate. Spencer, Woods, and Big Cass need to separate themselves and not allow this content to stay close, especially late because everyone else will have their hands full with quality goers and returning AA’s.

PROBABLE LINEUP - Oklahoma State

125 - #1 Spencer Lee vs #28 Reece Witcraft

133 - #16 Brody Teske // Cullan Schriever vs #2 Daton Fix

141 - #2 Real Woods vs #15 Carter Young

149 - #6 Max Murin vs #20 Victor Voinovich

157 - #13 Cobe Siebrecht vs #9 Kaden Gfeller

165 - #7 Patrick Kennedy vs #23 Wyatt Sheets

174 - #14 Nelson Brands vs #11 Dustin Plott

184 - #12 Abe Assad // Drake Rhodes vs #10 Travis Wittlake

197 - #12 Jacob Warner vs #17 Luke Surber

285 - #3 Tony Cassioppi vs #22 Konner Doucet

125 - #1 Spencer Lee vs #28 Reece Witcraft

125 - #1 Spencer Lee vs #28 Reece Witcraft

Lee has been thrashing guys his entire career and I have absolutely no reason to think that won’t occur in his final CHA appearance. I think the bigger question we should ask is: will he go out with a tech or pin?

The last thing I’ll add is this. Just enjoy it. We’ll never see another Spencer Lee grace our glorious mat, so don’t be late. Sit back, watch, and revel in the forthcoming highlight reel.

133 - #16 Brody Teske // Cullan Schriever vs #2 Daton Fix

This is a huge opportunity for Brody Teske to close the gap on the elite of this class. A couple weeks ago he made a huge mental error and got pinned in the waning moments of his match against PSU’s #1 Roman Bravo-Young, he can’t afford a repeat performance here.

Lee will give us bonus points, Teske cannot allow Fix to match that feat. He needs to dig deep, wrestle smart, and keep this to a decision.

149 - #6 Max Murin vs #20 Victor Voinovich

As I mentioned above, Voinovich is the real deal, but he may not be ready to make that jump this year and Max needs to make sure he doesn’t. Furthermore, this is Mad Max’s final go under the CHA lights and here’s to hoping he puts on one hell of a show.

Currently, in my eyes, Voinovich is a R12 type of guy, which has been Max’s ceiling the past few years. A win of this nature is another much needed confidence boost for our guy. Come on Max, let’s go out in style!

157 - #13 Cobe Siebrecht vs #9 Kaden Gfeller

Siebrecht now faces off with his 2nd consecutive 9th ranked wrestler in Kaden Gfeller, who also capped off at the round of 12 last season. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, Gfeller is the type Cobe needs to go through to reach the podium. Naturally, this is another big test, yada, yada, rinse repeat.

This is also a big swing match at the midway point. A win here could put an early nail in the Cowboy coffin.

165 - #7 Patrick Kennedy vs #23 Wyatt Sheets

Sheets is a returning AA from 2021 who placed 8th at 157lbs, but he’s been struggling mightily since then and now sits at 12-11 this season with some rough losses to boot. But he is a 3rd year senior so he knows how to flip the switch late in the year - experience is very much on his side.

Patrick has steadily been rising up the ranks, another win here over a quality opponent will be a big boost for what comes in March.

184 - #12 Abe Assad // Drake Rhodes vs #10 Travis Wittlake

Big Ten’s are a couple weeks away and the last thing Assad needs is to make his official comeback during the post-season. Facing off with a former AA (4th in 2021) is a tough task, but similar to others, Wittlake is the exact type of guy Assad will run into in the quarter-finals.

He’s also a veteran that knows how to punch his way through and find the podium, which is where Assad wants to be.

We’ve yet to see Assad break through this sort of barrier before, but a win here will make me a believer.

197 - #12 Jacob Warner vs #17 Luke Surber

When Warner is wrestling at his best, this is a match he should win handily, even if the score is closer than what we’re comfortable with. Suber has had a solid year (17-6), but has mostly won and lost the matches he’s supposed to. Though he did recently upset #4 Rocky Elam (Mizzou) who beat Warner at the NWCA All-Star classic back in November( which was an exhibition match).

Last weekend Warner seemed a bit disgruntled with the Hawkeye fans following his tech fall win, I can only guess as to what his shrug was about it, but this marks the perfect time and match to go out on a high note in his home arena. One last time to get his hand raised and showered with praise at Carver-Hawkeye.

Here’s to hoping we get the perfect version of Warner we all love to watch.

141 & 285

Now I can’t leave Real Woods and Tony Cassioppi off the list. So assuming both perform to their usual standards bonus point wins are well within reason. That’s all there is to it. Go out, do the thing, get it done.

Broadcast Info

Opponent: Oklahoma State

Dual time: 3:30PM GT (Central) // Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023

Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena // Iowa City, IA

TV/ Online: BTN // Foxsports

Radio: iHeartRadio (AM800 KXIC)