Match Notes: Hawkeyes Travel to Northwestern, Illinois

University of Iowa wrestling team competes at No. 23 Northwestern on Friday at Welsh Ryan Arena beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). The dual is streamed live from Evanston, Illinois at B1G+. The Hawkeyes wrestle at No. 24 Illinois on Sunday at 3:03 p.m. at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. That dual is televised live on BTN.

Sunday’s dual is televised live on BTN and available at and the Fox Sports mobile app. Iowa will make eight appearances on BTN this season, including duals against Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State, and Wisconsin, road duals at Illinois, Ohio State, and Nebraska. The Big Ten Championships at Nebraska on March 5-6 are also televised on BTN.

The lower third of Iowa’s lineup is anchored by three Illinois natives. Abe Assad, Jacob Warner and Tony Cassioppi combined for seven Illinois high school championships during their prep careers. Assad, a 2020 All-American for the Hawkeyes, won two state titles at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream, Illinois. Warner, a three-time Hawkeye All-American, won three high school state championships wrestling at Washington High School in Tolono, Illinois. Cassioppi, a two-time Hawkeye All-American, won two high school state championships for Hononegah High School in Roscoe, Illinois. Assad is 1-0 all-time against Illinois. Warner is 3-0 against the Illini and 4-0 all-time against Northwestern. Cassioppi is 2-0 all-time against the Illini with a pair of falls.

Freshman Drake Ayala made his official collegiate debut Jan. 7 against Minnesota. He became the fifth Hawkeye in the Tom Brands era to wrestle as a true freshman, and just the third to wrestle in his first year removed from high school (Spencer Lee 2018; Abe Assad 2020; Drake Ayala 2022). Nathan Burak (2013) and Justin Stickley (2017) wrestled as true freshmen but both deferred college enrollment by one year after graduating high school.

Iowa leads the all-time series, 73-7-1. Iowa has won 13 straight against Northwestern and owns an all-time mark of 35-4-1 in Evanston. The Hawkeyes have won six straight road duals against the Wildcats. Northwestern’s last win in the series was a 22-19 victory in Evanston on Jan. 29, 2005. The Hawkeyes are 12-0 against Northwestern under head coach Tom Brands.

Iowa leads the all-time series 53-26-1 and has won the last 10 meetings. The Hawkeyes won the last meeting, 36-9, on Jan. 31, 2021, in Iowa City. Illinois’s last win in the series was Feb. 10, 2006 (24-13) in Iowa City. Iowa is 24-17 all-time in Champaign. The Hawkeyes have won four straight at Illinois. The Illini’s last win at home was Jan. 28, 2005. Iowa head coach Tom Brands is 10-0 all-time against Illinois.

The defending NCAA champion Hawkeyes opened the season ranked No. 1 in the NWCA Coaches Poll and ran their streak atop the polls to 28 straight weeks before dropping to the No. 2 spot on Jan. 11, 2022. The 28-week stretch ranked No. 1 in the country was the longest since Iowa spent 38 weeks at the top of the rankings from Jan. 15, 2008, until Feb. 23, 2010. (The poll started weekly rankings in 1997. Bi-weekly and monthly rankings started in 1960). Since 1960, the Hawkeyes have appeared at the top spot of the national poll 220 times.

Iowa has won 26 straight overall and 22 straight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes’ 26-dual winning streak is the longest active streak in the country. Iowa’s 22-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 25 consecutive Big Ten duals, its longest conference streak since winning 39 straight from 2007-12.