ON THE MAT
The University of Iowa wrestling team finished the 2021-22 season with a 14-1 overall record and 7-1 conference record. The Hawkeyes placed third at the Big Ten Championships and third at the NCAA Championships. Iowa crowned one Big Ten champion and five All-Americans. Iowa had 14 wrestlers named Academic All-Big Ten, the second highest total in school history.
The Hawkeyes have crowned at least one All-American in 51 consecutive tournaments, a stretch dating back to 1972. Iowa has totaled 317 All-America honors during that stretch. Iowa has had at least five All-Americans in nine straight seasons and 14 times in head coach Tom Brands’ 16 seasons.
Austin DeSanto, Alex Marinelli and Jacob Warner became four-time All-Americans following their performances at the 2022 NCAA Championships in Detroit. There have been 24 four-time All-Americans in the history of Iowa Wrestling. Joe Scarpello was Iowa’s first four-timer. He won the NCAA title in 1950 to earn his fourth All-America honor. Tom Brands has coached nine four-timers since his first national tournament as Iowa’s head coach in 2007. Mark Perry won NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, the third and fourth All-America honors of his career. Derek St. John, Cory Clark and Brandon Sorensen were four-timers under Brands. St. John won a national title in 2013 and was an All-American from 2011-14. Clark capped his fourth straight All-America honor with a national championship in 2017. Sorensen earned All-America honors from 2015-18. Spencer Lee, Jaydin Eierman and Michael Kemerer became four-time All-Americans in 2021. Lee won NCAA titles in 2018, 2019 and 2021, and was named an All-American after COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 national tournament. Kemerer was also named an All-American in 2020. He previously earned All-America honors in 2017 and 2018. Eierman earned three All-America honors at Missouri from 2017-19 and was runner-up at the 2021 NCAA Championships.
The Hawkeyes sent a 10-man lineup to the NCAA Championships for the sixth time since 2007, Tom Brands first year as head coach (2010, 2014, 2015, 2020, 2021, 2022). Each of Iowa’s 10 qualifiers earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament at the 2022 Big Ten Championships. It marked the first time since 2010 that all 10 Hawkeyes earned an automatic berth at the NCAA qualifying tournament. Iowa was one of three schools to send 10 wrestlers to the national tournament (NC State, Northwestern). The Hawkeyes won national titles with a 10-man lineup in 2010 and 2021. Iowa placed fourth in 2014 and second in 2015. The 2020 NCAA Championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Iowa has sent at least eight athletes to the NCAA Championships in each of head coach Tom Brands’ 16 seasons.
HAWKEYES IN THE FINALS
Jacob Warner advanced to the finals of the 2022 NCAA Championships to extend Iowa’s streak of NCAA finals appearances to 32 consecutive tournaments. Iowa has had at least one wrestler in the NCAA finals every year since 1990, and in 46 of the last 47 tournaments dating back to 1975.
2022 AWARD WINNERS
Mike Howard Most Valuable: Jacob Warner
Mike J. McGivern Most Courageous: Michael Kemerer
John and Dorothy Sill Most Dedicated: Drake Ayala
J. Donald McPike, Sr., High Senior GPA: Michael Kemerer
Coaches Appreciation: Aaron Costello, Patrick Kennedy, Charles Matthews, Cullan Schriever, Vince Turk, Myles Wilson
Most Pins: Abe Assad (3), Tony Cassioppi (3), Jaydin Eierman (3) and Michael Kemerer (3)
All-Americans: Austin DeSanto, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer, Jacob Warner, Tony Cassioppi
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN
Fourteen Hawkeyes were among the 47 University of Iowa student-athletes named to the 2021-22 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference Team. The 14 honorees are the second most in program history. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team, as verified by being on the official squad list as of March 1 for winter sports, who have been enrolled fulltime at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Iowa wrestling Academic All-Big Ten honorees included Tony Cassioppi, Aaron Costello, Zach Glazier, Joe Kelly, Michael Kemerer, Patrick Kennedy, Alex Marinelli, Charles Matthews, Max Murin, Cullan Schriever, Leif Schroeder, Cobe Siebrecht, Jacob Warner and Kaleb Young.
KEMERER HITS 5X AND #100
Michael Kemerer became the program’s first five-time All-American with his fourth place finish at the 2022 NCAA Championships. Kemerer placed third at the national championships in 2017, fourth in 2018 and second in 2021. He was recognized as an All-American in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the season. Kemerer’s win in the consolation semifinals of the NCAA Championships was the 100th win of his career. He is the 41st wrestler in school history to reach 100 career wins in the Iowa singlet.
MARINELLI HIT THE GRAND SLAM
Senior Alex Marinelli became the eighth four-time Big Ten champion in the history of the program. Marinelli won the 165-pound conference title in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. In 2019, he was named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Tournament. He is the 18th four-time champion in Big Ten history.
IOWA FOUR-TIME CHAMPIONS (7)
1. Joe Scarpello (175), 1947-50
2. Mike DeAnna (167), 1977-79, 1981
3. Ed Banach (177, 177, 177, 190), 1980-83
4. Barry Davis (118, 118, 126, 126), 1981-83, 1985
5. Duane Goldman (177, 177, 190, 190), 1983-86
6. Jim Heffernan (150), 1983, 1985-87
7. Mark Ironside (134), 1995-98
8. Alex Marinelli (165), 2019-22
TECHNICAL FALL LEADER
Senior Austin DeSanto finished the season with 11 technical falls, the most technical falls in a single season by any Hawkeye since 1999. DeSanto has 38 career technical falls, 27 at Iowa. The 27 technical falls as a Hawkeye is the most by any Iowa wrestler since 1999. DeSanto scored 20 points or more in seven of his 21 wins and had 28 career matches of scoring 20 points or more.
BRANDS GETS WIN #250
Iowa head coach Tom Brands won his 250th career dual on Feb. 20 when Iowa topped Nebraska, 20-15, in Lincoln. Brands has a career record of 250-24-1 (.910) as Iowa’s head coach. He is the second winningest coach in Iowa wrestling history, trailing only Dan Gable in dual wins and dual winning percentage. Gable won 355 duals in 21 seasons as Iowa’s head coach. Brands completed his 16th season at Iowa in 2022. He has a 250-24-1 (.911) overall and 120-11 (.916) Big Ten coaching record at Iowa. He has a 267-44-1 (.856) career mark.
DEFEATING RANKED OPPONENTS
The Hawkeyes wrestled 13 duals against ranked opponents and five against the top 10. The Hawkeyes were 12-1 against the top 25 and 4-1 against the top 10. In the final NWCA Coaches Poll (Feb. 15), second-ranked Iowa had wins over No. 4 NC State, No. 5 Iowa State, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 8 Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes’ lone loss is to No. 1 Penn State.
The nine All-Americans in Iowa’s postseason lineup had a combined career record of 339-56 (.858) in duals, including a 209-31 (.870) mark in Big Ten duals. Senior Michael Kemerer finished his career with 52 career dual victories, including a 35-2 mark in Big Ten duals. Kemerer was 52-2 all-time in duals. Senior Alex Marinelli was 51-2 all-time in dual meets, including a 32-2 mark in Big Ten duals. Senior Austin DeSanto was 47-6 all-time in duals, including a 21-2 mark in the Big Ten. Senior Jaydin Eierman was 55-6 all-time in dual competition, including a 16-1 record at Iowa. He was 28-1 all-time in conference duals. He was 19-0 at Missouri from 2016-19 and 9-1 after joining the Big Ten in 2020.
EYES ON IOWA CITY
The University of Iowa wrestling program set a national dual average attendance record in 2021-22. The Hawkeyes averaged 14,905 fans at each of their six home dates. All six dates were sellouts. Iowa sold out of season tickets for the first time in program history. The Hawkeyes sold 12,804 season tickets. The remaining tickets were allocated for UI students and visiting teams, and sold to the general public. The 2021-22 season marked a return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for fans that were not allowed to attend last season due to COVID restrictions. When official attendance numbers are officially announced following the season, Iowa will have led the nation in attendance for the 15th consecutive season. (Official attendance records were not kept in 2020-21.)
SPENCER LEE NAMED B1G CO-WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Spencer Lee was named Big Ten Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week, the league office announced Dec. 28. Lee returned to the Hawkeye lineup Dec. 20-21 at the Collegiate Wrestling Duals. He opened the year with three wins, including two bonus-point wins and two top 11 victories. Lee outscored his opponents, 31-1, leading Iowa to the Red Division championship and extending the Hawkeyes’ dual winning streak to 24, the longest in the nation. Lee has won 38 straight, outscoring those opponents, 463-42. The weekly conference award is the fourth of Lee’s career. Lee announced on Jan. 1 that he would have season ending surgery.
HAWKEYES RETAIN DAN GABLE TROPHY
The University of Iowa wrestling team defeated No. 13 Iowa State, 23-11, on Dec. 5 at Hilton Coliseum in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. The win was Iowa’s 17th straight in the series and awarded Iowa possession of the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy for 10th consecutive year. Iowa has owned the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy every year since its inception in 2010.
ALEX MARINELLI NAMED BIG TEN CO-WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Senior Alex Marinelli was named Big Ten Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week, the league office announced Feb. 9. In the final Carver-Hawkeye Arena appearance of his collegiate career, Marinelli defeated Wisconsin’s sixth-ranked Dean Hamiti, 8-5, to hand Hamiti his first loss this season. Marinelli scored a takedown in the opening 30 seconds, added another takedown in the second period, opened the third with a reversal and tacked on one point for riding time. The weekly conference award is the fifth of Marinelli’s career, tying Brent Metcalf for the most Big Ten weekly awards in program history. The weekly conference honor is the second for Iowa this season. Spencer Lee was recognized Dec. 28, 2021. Marinelli shared the weekly award with Penn State’s Nick Lee.
IOWA-PENN STATE DUAL SETS BTN RECORD
The Jan. 28 dual between top-ranked Penn State and No. 2 Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena averaged 363,000 viewers, making it the most-watched wrestling broadcast in Big Ten Network history. The previous record was 343,000 viewers, also set by Penn State vs. Iowa in January of 2020. Immediately following the dual, 175,000 viewers tuned in for The B1G Story: The Brands Brothers. The 175,000 viewers set a new record for Big Ten Network original programming, which was previously held by an episode of On The Mat with 146,000 viewers. Friday’s viewership continued a promising trend of increased wrestling audiences on the Big Ten Network, which grew by +23% in 2020-21 to an average audience of 150,000.
TRUE FRESHMAN HISTORY
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. Lee won a national title as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He supplemented Stickley in the lineup following the Midlands Championships. Assad was named a NWCA All-American as a true freshman in 2020. He was 22-7 entering the NCAA Championships, which were eventually canceled due to covid. Burak reached the NCAA Championships round of 12 as a freshman in 2013. He finished the season 20-17 and went on to earn three All-America honors.
HAWKEYES AND CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
Iowa is 119-11 (.901) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since Tom Brands took over the program prior to 2006-07. The Hawkeyes are 269-26 (.912) 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.
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 208 conference titles. There have been eight four-time, 18 three-time, and 31 two-time Big Ten champions from Iowa. Iowa’s 161 All-Americans have earned All-America status 357 times, including one five-time, 24 four-time, 38 three-time and 40 two-time honorees.
CHASING THE HAWKEYES
Gary Kurdelmeier led Iowa to its first NCAA Championship in 1975, and in the 48 years since, the Hawkeyes have accumulated 24 team titles, more than any other school — Penn State (10), Oklahoma State (7), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), Ohio State (1) and Arizona State (1).
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 Iowa’s longest since spending 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.