Final Notes 2023-24


The University of Iowa wrestling team finished the 2023-24 season with a 12-2 overall and a 6-2 Big Ten mark. The Hawkeyes placed fourth at the Big Ten Championships and fifth at the NCAA Championships. Iowa had four All-Americans. The program had 20 Academic All-Big Ten selections —  the highest total in school 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’ 118 Big Ten champions have combined for 210 conference titles. There have been eight four-time, 20 three-time and 31 two-time Big Ten champions from Iowa.

• Iowa’s 166 All-Americans have earned All-America status 367 times, including two five-time, 25 four-time, 38 three-time and 40 two-time honorees.

All-american streak

Three Hawkeyes were multi-time All-Americans in Real Woods (141), Jared Franek (157), Michael Caliendo (165).

  The Hawkeyes have crowned at least one All-American in 53 consecutive tournaments, a stretch dating back to 1972.  Iowa has totaled 327 All-America honors during that stretch.

• The four All-Americans in Iowa’s postseason lineup had a combined record of 104-28 (.813) this season.

Nine qualifiers

The Hawkeyes sent nine wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Iowa has sent at least nine wrestlers for 12 straight years and 16 times since 2007, Tom Brands’ first year as head coach.

• Each of Iowa’s nine qualifiers earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament at the 2023 Big Ten Championships.

• Iowa was one of 12 schools to send nine wrestlers to the national tournament.

  Iowa has sent at least eight athletes to the NCAA Championships in each of head coach Tom Brands’ 17 seasons.


Drake Ayala advanced to the 125-pound finals of the 2024 NCAA Championships to extend Iowa’s streak of NCAA finals appearances to 34 consecutive tournaments.

• Iowa has had at least one wrestler in the NCAA finals every year since 1990, and in 48 of the last 49 tournaments dating back to 1975.


• Earning his first All-American honors with a runner-up finish at 125, Ayala opened the national tournament with a 10-2 major decision over  No. 4 Matt Ramos (Purdue) and a tech fall in the second round over Nico Provo (Stanford).

• Winning back-to-back overtime matches against Troy Spratley (Oklahoma State) and Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), Ayala fell to Arizona State’s Richard Figueroa in the final.

• Ayala entered as the No. 5 seed this season. He previously became the third true freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships under Head Coach Tom Brands in 2022.

• Ayala is a Fort Dodge, Iowa, native.

All-AMERICAN: Real woods

• Woods placed fourth at 141, becoming a four-time All-American. Woods was national runner-up in 2023 and placed sixth in 2022 wrestling for Iowa; Woods was previously a sixth-place finisher at the NCAA Championships wrestling for Stanford in 2021. Woods also finishes his collegiate career as a five-time NCAA qualifier, three-time conference champion and two-time NWCA Scholar All-American. His career record stands at 85-14, including a 60-10 mark at Iowa.


• Franek became a two-time All-American, placing eighth at 157. Franek is a five-time NCAA Championships qualifier dating back to 2020.

• Franek earned the fifth NWCA All-Academic Team honors of his career and was named an NWCA Scholar All-American.

• Franek closes his career with a 118-28 record, including four seasons at North Dakota State.


• With a fourth-place finish at 165, Caliendo picked up the second All-American honors of his career. He was seventh at 165 as a freshman at North Dakota State one year ago.

• Caliendo’s path at the NCAA Championships this season included an 11-2 major decision win over No. 7 Izzak Olejnik (Oklahoma State) and a technical fall against Noah Mulvaney (Bucknell). He entered the week seeded sixth.

• Caliendo heads into his junior season with a 57-11 career record. He was 28-6 this season and placed third at the Big Ten Championships.


Nineteen Hawkeye wrestlers were among the 59 University of Iowa student-athletes named to the 2023-24 Big Ten Winter Academic All-Conference Team. The 19 honorees are the most in program history.

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten status, 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. The list of honorees includes Drake Ayala, Nelson Brands, Tony Cassioppi, Easton Fleshman, Kolby Franklin, Zach Glazier, Joel Jesuroga, Patrick Kennedy, Carter Martinson, Gage Marty, Charles Matthews, Aidan McCain, Drake Rhodes, Jace Rhodes, Aiden Riggins, Cullan Schriever, Leif Schroeder, Cade Siebrecht, Cobe Siebrecht, and Brennan Swafford.


Four Hawkeyes were named NWCA Scholar All-Americans on April 1, including Drake Ayala, Jared Franek, Zach Glazier and Aiden Riggins. To be eligible, student-athletes must meet one of the following criteria: maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and be an All-American, have a 3.2 GPA and be a National Qualifier, or have a 3.5 GPA and win 60  percent of their matches or represent their team at a conference tournament.


Former University of Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee (HWC/NLWC) won the Olympic Team Trials at 57 kilograms at the Bryce Jordan Center on April 20. Lee defeated former Hawkeye Thomas Gilman (NLWC/TMWC), 2-0, in the best-of-three finals. The Murrysville, Pennsylvania, native won the first match via decision, 6-3, and pinned Gilman in 5:58 in the second match.

The three-time NCAA Champion outscored his opponents 27-9 en route to winning the trials. Lee received a bye in the first two rounds before defeating Nico Megaludis (PittWC/TMWC), 8-0, in the quarterfinals and Zane Richards (IRTC/TMWC), 13-6, in the semifinals to set up the match with Gilman.


Lee then headed to the World Olympic Games Qualifier in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 11-12, needing a top-three finish to qualify the United State at 57 kilograms for the Paris Olympics. He went 4-0 at the event and qualified the weight to punch his ticket to Paris.

Lee defeated Ben Tarik of Morocco via technical superiority in just 22 seconds, securing a takedown before locking up four exposures in a leg lace to put the match away.

  The Murrysville, Pennsylvania, native then faced top-seeded Wanhao Zou of China. Lee trailed 6-2 early before a takedown and three leg lace exposures gave him a 10-6 lead at the break. Zou would get a push-out point and a late takedown with 12 seconds remaining, but Lee held off the comeback attempt in par terre to win, 10-9.

  In his third match of the day Lee used 53 seconds to secure the technical superiority over Vladimir Egorov of Macedonia, 12-2.

  In the qualification match, the three-time NCAA champion, defeated Rakhat Kalzhan of Kazakhstan in just 36 seconds. Lee used a takedown and turned Kalzhan four times to secure his spot at the Olympics.

  Lee will become the 20th Hawkeye to be an Olympian when he competes in Paris. The most recent Hawkeye to compete at the Olympics was Thomas Gilman (Tokyo, 2020). Gilman won bronze for the United States.


The University of Iowa Department of Athletics recognized the academic and athletic accomplishments of its student-athletes at the seventh annual Golden Herkys on Monday evening. The event, organized by members of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC), is an opportunity for student-athletes to recognize their peers while also celebrating the past year with the awards ceremony at Hancher Auditorium.

Real Woods joined Iowa women’s basketball Caitlin Clark as the 2024 “UI Athletes of the Year.” Woods finished the season with a 23-5 record, placing third at the 2024 Big Ten Championships and fourth at the national championships. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native scored 11 bonus point wins (three majors, seven technical falls and one pin) and scored 40 dual points for Iowa this season. A four-time All-American, Woods finished his wrestling career with an 85-14 record, including a 38-14 record against ranked opponents.


Five Hawkeye freshman competed as attached competitors during the 2023-24 season.  Under new NCAA guidelines, freshmen can compete in five dates of competition during the student-athlete’s initial year of collegiate enrollment without using a season of competition.

• Here is a list of competitions for Iowa’s freshmen in 2023-24: Gabe Arnold (5), Ben Kueter (4), Isaiah Fenton (2), Koye Grebel (2) and Kale Petersen (1).


Iowa tallied 251.5 team points to win the 2023 team title at the Soldier Salute. It is the second straight year the Hawkeyes won the title.

• Eight Hawkeyes won individual titles at the tournament. Drake Ayala (125), Brody Teske (133), Real Woods (141), Caleb Rathjen (149), Jared Franek (157), Michael Caliendo (165), Gabe Arnold (174-Unattached) and Zach Glazier (197).


Seven Iowa wrestlers won championships in the Elite Division, including Drake Ayala (125), Jace Rhodes (133), Jared Franek (157), Michael Caliendo (165), Gabe Arnold (174), Brennan Swafford (184) and Zach Glazier (197).

• Iowa was 88-17 in the Elite Division with six of those losses against fellow Hawkeyes.

• Isaiah Fenton won the 157-pound Silver/Freshman Division.

• Arnold, Fenton, Joey Cruz and Koye Grebel all made their Hawkeye debuts.


Iowa wrestling season tickets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena are sold out for a third straight season.  The Hawkeyes have led the nation in attendance every year since 2006-07.  Iowa set an NCAA record, averaging 14,905 fans in 2021-22.


Iowa is 132-14 (.907) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since Tom Brands took over the program prior to 2006-07. The Hawkeyes are 282-27 (.914) all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since moving from the UI Field House in 1983. Iowa went 5-1 in Carver in 2023-24.

  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.


The University of Iowa wrestling team defeated No. 8 Iowa State, 18-14, on Nov. 26 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. The win was Iowa’s 19th straight in the series and awarded Iowa possession of the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy for 12th consecutive year. Iowa has owned the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy every year since its inception in 2010.


Nine Iowa duals were televised during the 2023-24 season.  The Hawkeyes had  seven duals televised on BTN, one on FS1 and one on ESPN.

• Iowa’s BTN appearances included home duals against Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin and road duals at Nebraska, Illinois and Michigan.

• The Hawkeyes’ away dual against Iowa State was televised on ESPN and the road dual against Oklahoma State wase televised on FS1.

  Iowa’s dual against Iowa State was the first ever regular season dual meet televised on the main ESPN network.


The Hawkeyes were ranked second in the preseason NWCA Coaches’ poll and by FLO. Iowa was ranked eighth by Intermat and WIN.

• Iowa finished second at the 2023 NCAA Championships with 82.5 points with six All-Americans.


The Hawkeyes have earned a team trophy at the NCAA Championships 14 times in the last 16 championships.  Iowa has won 14 team trophies in head coach Tom Brands’ 17 seasons. (The 2020 season, in which Iowa was favored, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

• Iowa has won 48 team NCAA trophies in program history and have 69 top 10 finishes.  The Hawkeyes have been the NCAA runner-up seven times.


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 in that span — Penn State (12), Oklahoma State (7), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), Ohio State (1) and Arizona State (1).