8 Hawkeyes Win Solider Salute Titles

CORALVILLE, Iowa — Eight Hawkeyes brought home titles at the Soldier Salute on Saturday night at Xtream Arena. Iowa tallied for 251.50 team points to win the 2023 team title.

Iowa won finals matches at every weight class where it had qualifiers, and five Hawkeyes defeated ranked opponents in their title bouts. 

Drake Ayala started Session IV with a, 4-2, decision over seventh-ranked Jore Volk (Wyoming) for his fourth career win over a top-10 opponent and second such win this season.

Ayala, who entered the weekend ranked 14th, also defeated No. 20 Patrick McKee (Minnesota), 5-4, in the semifinals.

“Since his first matches at the beginning of the year, there has been a lot of mat time,” said head coach Tom Brands. “Earlier in the year he hadn’t had a lot of mat time. You can see he is getting his belief in, ‘hey, I can get to anybody’s legs’ now. Then it’s about finishing in situations against guys that are roly-poly and flexible.” 

“I think we turned the tables on a guy that a couple years ago we were close to a lot. This time, we got the job done. Now, we have to be a little bit better next time. Have to keep getting better.”

At 141, Real Woods scored an 8-4 decision against #5 Lachlan McNeil (North Carolina). Woods improves to 26-9 all-time against ranked foes. 

Other ranked wins included Brody Teske over 32nd ranked Jacob Van Dee (Nebraska) and Jared Franek against 17th-ranked Cael Swensen (SDSU). Franek earned the first takedown of the match in sudden victory to win, 4-1. 

Unattached freshman Gabe Arnold won the championship at his first Solider Salute in similar fashion, hoisting #24 Lenox Wolak (Columbia) airborne before returning him to the mat for a, 4-1, victory in extra time. 

At 165 pounds Michael Caliendo defeated teammate Patrick Kennedy in an all-Hawkeye final. 

Caleb Rathjen and Zach Glazier were champions at 149 and 197, respectively. Rathjen made his way through a gauntlet that included wins over teammate #8 Victor Voinovich in the semifinal and unattached Anthony Ferrari in the final. 

“Rathjen showed me that he is pretty determined to be the guy,” says Brands. “Not just because he went through the tournament and he is the champion, but because of some of the emphasis.” 

Iowa returns to competition at Nebraska on Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Lincoln. The dual will be televised on BTN. 


125 – #14 Drake Ayala (Iowa) dec. #7 Jore Volk (Wyoming), 4-2

133 – #10 Brody Teske (Iowa) dec. #32 Jacob Van Dee (Nebraska), 5-4

141 – #1 Real Woods (Iowa) dec. #5 Lachlan McNeil (North Carolina), 8-4

149 – Caleb Rathjen (Iowa) dec. Anthony Ferrari (UNA), 7-2

157 – #2 Jared Franek (Iowa) dec. #17 Cael Swensen (SDSU), 4-1 (SV1)

165 – #7 Michael Caliendo (Iowa) dec. Patrick Kennedy (Iowa), 7-3

174 – Gabe Arnold (UI-UNA) dec. #24 Lenox Wolak (Columbia), 4-1 (SV1)

197 – #19 Zach Glazier (Iowa) DQ A.J. Ferrari (UNA) 



133 – Cullan Schriever (Iowa) dec. Kale Petersen (UI-UNA), 2-1

149 – Alek Martin (SDSU) dec. #8 Victor Voinovich (Iowa), 7-4 (SV1)

149 – Daniel Kimball (SDSU) dec. Joel Jesuroga (Iowa), 5-4

157 – Jason Krassier (SDSU) dec. Carter Martinson (Iowa), 9-2

285 – Bradley Hill (Iowa) dec. Nathan Schon (UNA), 6-4

 (UI-UNA = Competing unattached)