Four Hawkeyes Earn All-America Honors

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Three University of Iowa wrestlers – Real Woods (141), Jared Franek (157) and Michael Caliendo (165) – capped their 2024 NCAA Championships run during Saturday’s medal rounds at the T-Mobile Center.

All three Hawkeyes finished as All-Americans at their respective weights at the championships. Woods finished fourth at 141, Caliendo finished fourth at 165 and Franek placed eighth.

Iowa’s fourth All-American –third-seeded Drake Ayala — will be the second of 10 matches in Session VI where he will face eighth-seeded Richard Figueroa of Arizona State in the 125-pound finals.

Iowa sits in fourth place with 67 points. Penn State is in first with 155.5 points, followed by Michigan with 71 points and Cornell with 68.5 points.

Woods went 1-1 during Session V, first winning a 4-0 decision over Iowa State’s Anthony Echemendia to advance to the third-place match. He fell to Nebraska’s ninth-seeded Brock Hardy, 7-6, to place fourth.

“Reflecting back on my career and my time at Iowa, I have a lot of gratitude,” said Woods. “I am grateful for all the people that are in the Iowa wrestling program, as well as in the Stanford wrestling program. I have had a lot of great experiences in my college career, and it has taught me a lot, helped me grow up as a man and helped me prepare for life ahead.”

The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native finishes his career with an 85-14 record. He is a four-time All-American, earning the honor twice at Iowa.

“As we all know, this time in life can be particularly challenging as you move ahead into adulthood,” said Woods. “I think that I am well prepared because of the environments I have been in at Iowa and at Stanford.”

Caliendo also went 1-1, winning 9-8 against Oklahoma State’s seventh-seeded Izzak Olejnik, in his first match before ending his season with a loss to top-seeded Keegan O’Toole of Missouri, 12-8. The All-America honor is the second of his career.

“The Iowa experience has been everything I could ask for,” said Caliendo. “I have all the resources to succeed, and I am going to keep taking advantage of that.”

The Geneva, Illinois, native ends his season with a 28-6 record.

“I had some good wins along the way,” said Caliendo. “But you always strive to get on top of the podium. That is what I am going to keep doing. I am going to keep training to get on top of the podium.”

After earning a spot on the podium in the blood round on Friday, Franek dropped the seventh-place match Saturday to finish eighth. He fell 11-2 to Nebraska’s Peyton Robb.

“The Iowa experience has been awesome,” said Franek. “It was everything and more than I could have imagined. Having the coaches that I have had the pleasure to work with and the teammates. Not only the guys on the team but also the RTC guys like Alex Marinelli, Kaleb Young, Jaydin Eierman, Spencer Lee and guys like that. They are around the program and have been here, done that. It is super cool to have guys like that around, pick their brains and get to work out with them, too.”

The Harwood, North Dakota, native finishes his career as a two-time All-American with an 119-28 career record.

“Overall, what I came here for is what I ultimately got out of it,” said Franek. “I am super happy. I wouldn’t take back the decision that I made.”

141 | #3 Real Woods (Iowa) dec. #5 Anthony Echemedia (Iowa State), 4-0
165 | #6 Michael Caliendo (Iowa) dec. #7 Izzak Olejnik (Oklahoma State), 9-2

141 | #9 Brock Hardy (Nebraska) dec. #3 Real Woods (Iowa), 7-6
165 | #1 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri) dec. #6 Michael Caliendo (Iowa), 12-8

157 | #8 Peyton Robb (Nebraska) major dec. #10 Jared Franek (Iowa), 11-2

Session VI of the NCAA Championships will begin at 6 p.m. (CT). The finals matches will be televised live on ESPN.