ON THE MAT
The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team hosts No. 21 Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m. in the 2021-22 season opener at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
IOWA VS. PRINCETON
Iowa and Princeton are meeting for the fourth time. The Hawkeyes are undefeated in the three previous meetings, including a 30-9 win in the most recent meeting in 2020 at Princeton. The Tigers have made one trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won 31-10 in 2019. The Hawkeyes won the first meeting of the series 36-7 at a neutral site in 2002.
Iowa has won 18 straight overall and 18 straight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes’ 18-dual winning streak is the longest active streak in the country. Iowa’s 18-dual winning streak at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is its longest since winning 38 straight from 2008-12. The Hawkeyes’ last loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was Jan. 27, 2018 (19-17 versus No. 7 Michigan). Iowa has won 23 consecutive Big Ten duals, its longest conference streak since winning 24 straight from 2014-17.
CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA DEBUTS
Three Hawkeyes in the probable lineup could make their Carver-Hawkeye Arena debuts Friday. Jesse Ybarra, Bretli Reyna and Zach Glazier could potentially wrestle in the black Iowa singlet for the first time in front of the home crowd.
Ybarra won the Luther Open last weekend in his collegiate debut. He did not wrestle in any “extra matches” last season. Friday would be his first career dual appearance. Ybarra wrestled at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 2019 at FloWrestling’s WHO’s NO. 1 event (W, 3-1).
Reyna wrestled against Ohio State at 157 pounds (L, 4-3) in a Big Ten dual hosted by Purdue, but has never wrestled at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Glazier was 1-1 in a pair of “extra matches” last year. He won at Minnesota and lost against Ohio State at Purdue. Friday could be his first career dual appearance. Redshirt freshman Cullan Schriever was 1-1 at Carver last year wrestling in “extra matches.” His next dual appearance will be a career first. Cobe Siebrecht lost 5-4 in an “extra match” at Carver against Illinois in 2021. Siebrecht won the Luther Open at 149 pounds Nov. 13. His next dual appearance will be the first of his career.
CASSIOPPI WINS GOLD AT U23 WORLDS
Junior Tony Cassioppi pinned Azamat Khosonov of Greece on Nov. 7 to win the 125 kg gold medal at the 2021 U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
Cassioppi built a 13-0 lead before securing the fall with 16 seconds left in the first period. He is the United States’ second U23 World champion this year. Emily Shilson took home gold for the United States at 50 kg in women’s freestyle
Cassioppi, a two-time freestyle Pan-American champion and two-time Hawkeye All-American, won three matches on Saturday to advance to the finals. In his four tournament wins, he won two matches by fall and outscored his four opponents, 38-8.
A LOOK BACK ON THE MAT
The Hawkeyes finished the 2020-21 season as Big Ten and NCAA champions. The conference title is the 37th in program history and the national title is the 24th in program history. Iowa crowned one NCAA individual champion, seven All-Americans, four Big Ten individual champions and 13 academic All-Big Ten honorees. The Hawkeyes were 5-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten, sharing the regular season conference title with Penn State.
The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team won the 2021 NCAA Championships on March 20 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Iowa scored 129 points, 15.5 clear of second-place Penn State. The team title is the 24th in program history and the first since 2010. The Hawkeyes qualified 10 wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. Those wrestlers combined for a 38-13 overall record with 21 bonus-point wins, good for 27 bonus points. Iowa crowned seven All-Americans, more than any other team.
Senior Spencer Lee won the 125-pound championship for the third time in his career. Seniors Jaydin Eierman (141) and Michael Kemerer (174) reached the finals for the first time in their careers, placing runner-up at 141 and 174, respectively.
Austin DeSanto (133), Kaleb Young (157) and Jacob Warner (197) earned All-America honors for the third time in their careers. Tony Cassioppi earned his second career All-America honor at 285.
The Hawkeyes have won a team trophy in 12 of the last 13 national tournaments.
Iowa returns 10 All-Americans to its lineup in 2021-22. They include four-timers Spencer Lee, Jaydin Eierman and Michael Kemerer; three-timers Austin DeSanto, Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli and Jacob Warner; two-timer Tony Cassioppi; and one-timers Max Murin and Abe Assad. Seven Hawkeye wrestlers earned All-America honors at the 2021 NCAA Championships, more than any other school. Iowa’s 2021 All-Americans included Spencer Lee (125), Austin DeSanto (133), Jaydin Eierman (141), Kaleb Young (157), Michael Kemerer (174), Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285).
The seven All-Americans represent Iowa’s highest total since 2010, and five Hawkeyes place third or better for the first time since 2010. The Hawkeyes’ seven 2021 All-Americans were a combined 33-8 with nine major decisions, six technical falls and three pins at the NCAA tournament. The All-Americans had a combined season record of 83-15. Iowa has had at least five All-Americans in eight straight seasons and 13 times in head coach Tom Brands’ 15 seasons.
WECOME BACK TO CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
The University of Iowa wrestling program has sold out of season tickets for the first time in program history. The 2021-22 season marks a return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for fans that were not allowed to attend last season due to COVID restrictions.
Iowa led the nation in attendance for the 14th consecutive season in 2019-20, setting an NCAA average attendance record of 12,568 fans in seven home dates. Official attendance records were not kept in 2020-21. The 2019-20 season marked the 12th straight that Iowa averaged more than 8,000 fans. It also marked the first time in NCAA history that a program put more than 10,000 fans in the building for every home dual.
SPENCER LEE TARGETS FOURTH TITLE
Senior Spencer Lee won the 125-pound NCAA Championship, becoming the seventh three-time national champion in program history and putting an exclamation point on the Hawkeyes’ 2021 NCAA team title. Lee was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and won the Dan Hodge Trophy for the second straight season.
Lee is the seventh three-time NCAA champion in program history, joining the ranks of Ed Banach (1981, 81, 83), Barry Davis (1982, 83, 85), Jim Zalesky (1982-84), Tom Brands (1990-92), Lincoln McIlravy (1993, 94, 97) and Joe Williams (1996-98).
Only four wrestlers in NCAA history have won four Division I national titles: Oklahoma State’s Pat Smith (‘90-92, ‘94), Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson (‘99-02), Cornell’s Kyle Dake (‘10-13), and Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (‘12-15).
Iowa’s three-time champions include:
1. Ed Banach (177, 177, 190) 1980-81, 1983
2. Barry Davis (118, 126, 126) 1982-83, 1985
3. Jim Zalesky (158) 1982-84
4. Tom Brands (134) 1990-92
5. Lincoln McIlravy (142, 150, 150) 1993-94, 1997
6. Joe Williams (158, 158, 167) 1996-98
7. Spencer Lee (125) 2018-19, 2021
LAST MEETING — DEC. 8, 2020 (PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY)
#1 IOWA 30, #12 PRINCETON 9
125 — #4 Patrick Glory (P) dec. Aaron Cashman (IA), 10-4; 3-0; 0-3
133 — #1 Austin DeSanto (IA) tech. fall Sean Pierson (P), 25-10; 5-3
141 — #9 Max Murin (IA) major dec. Marshall Keller (P), 12-2; 9-3
149 — #3 Pat Lugo (IA) dec. #14 Mike D’Angelo (P), 3-2 TB1; 12-3
157 — #9 Quincy Monday (P) dec. #4 Kaleb Young (IA), 3-2; 12-6
165 — #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) pinned Connor Melbourne (P), 6:20; 18-6
174 — #3 Michael Kemerer (IA) tech. fall Kevin Parker (P), 19-4; 23-6
184 — Travis Stefanik (P) dec. #10 Nelson Brands (IA), 7-6; 23-9
197 — #3 Jacob Warner (IA) dec. #2 Patrick Brucki (P), 5-4; 26-9
285 — #3 Tony Cassioppi (IA) major dec. Aiden Conner (P), 10-2; 30-9
HAWKEYE WRESTLING HISTORY
The Hawkeyes have won 24 national titles and 37 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 55 NCAA Champions have won a total of 85 NCAA individual titles, crowning seven three-time and 16 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 117 Big Ten champions have combined for 207 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 19 three-time, and 31 two-time Big Ten champions from Iowa. Iowa’s 161 All-Americans have earned All-America status 352 times, including 22 four-time, 40 three-time and 41 two-time honorees.
HAWKEYES AND CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
Iowa is 114-12 (.905) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since Tom Brands took over the program prior to 2006-07. The Hawkeyes are 264-25 (.913) all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since moving from the UI Field House in 1983. Iowa was 2-0 at home during its COVID shortened 2020-21 season, completing its 24th undefeated season in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena has hosted two United States Olympic Team Trials, four Big Ten Championships (1983, 1994, 2005, 2016) and four NCAA Championships (1986, 1991, 1995, 2001). The Hawkeyes have won five tournament titles on their home mat, including the 1983 and 1994 Big Ten Championships, and the 1986, 1991 and 1995 NCAA Championships.
In 2018, the University of Iowa hosted the UWW World Cup, an international dual tournament featuring eight of the top countries in the world.