We’re about a month into the 2022-23 college season and already a number of weights have garnered national interest due to their volatility.
Specifically, I’m talking about 141 and 149 — two weights that are pretty important here in Iowa.
At 141, Iowa’s Casey Swiderski is 12th on the InterMat rankings; Northern Iowa’s Cael Happel recently beat the nation’s No. 5 wrestler; Iowa’s Real Woods, ranked #2 nationally, has yet to wrestle; and top-seeker Cole Matthews lost to northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez in the NWCA All-Star Classic.
At 149, six of the top 10 wrestlers in InterMat’s national poll already have a loss; Iowa’s Max Murin has 75 match points in his first four games; Northern Iowa’s Colin Realbuto got off to a nice 4-0 start last weekend; and Iowa State’s Paniro Johnson started his freshman collegiate season with a solid win over Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez…who has since beaten Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis and Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso.
It only gets wilder as the season progresses.
Many of these observations are being made in light of the upcoming Iowa vs. Iowa State duel scheduled for December 4th in Iowa City. We’ll get Murin-Johnson and hopefully Woods-Swiderski this afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. These two weights will be decisive in how this duel is decided.
But here’s who all these guys could be wrestling the rest of the way with their current InterMat rankings:
- Real woods: Purdues Parker Filius, No. 23; Northwestern’s Frankie Tal-Shahar, No. 5; Brock Hardy of Nebraska, No. 17; Joey Zargo of Wisconsin, #19; Penn State’s Beau Bartlett, No. 10; Jake Bergeland of Minnesota, No. 3; Michigan’s Cole Mattin, No. 11; and Carter Young of the State of Oklahoma, No. 23.
- Casey Swiderski: Cornell’s Vince Cornella, No. 16; Arizona State’s Jesse Vasquez, No. 18; Mosha Schwartz of Oklahoma, #27; Oklahoma State’s Young; Pittsburgh’s Cole Matthews, No. 1; Happel from Northern Iowa, No. 22; and Allan Hart of Missouri, No. 10.
- Max Murine: Yahya Thomas of Northwestern, No. 7; Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez, No. 2; Penn State’s Shayne Van Ness, No. 20; Michael Blockhus of Minnesota, No. 17; Michigan’s Chance Lamer, No. 19; and Victor Voinovich of Oklahoma State, No. 18.
- Paniro Johnson: Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis, No. 1; Kyle Parco of Arizona State, #5; Oklahoma’s Mitch Moore, No. 16; Voinovich from the State of Oklahoma; Realbuto from Northern Iowa, No. 14; and Missouri’s Brock Mauller, No. 9.
Don’t forget that Murin also has Penn’s Doug Zapf in 10th place this Saturday.
But we’re raising those weights because there’s a real chance that both will be critical to how Iowa and Iowa State finish next March.
For Iowa, the path to truly contend with Penn State for the team title is Woods, a returning All-American, landing on the top podium with 141, and definitive breakthrough for Murin, a three-time Bloodround competitor and an All-American.
For Iowa State, part of the road to finally cracking the top 10 at the national tournament is for Swiderski and Johnson to earn big points and maybe become All-Americans in March. Both saw the role early on, but it’s a long season.
It’s always fun when certain weights are filled with crazy results, especially early in the season. It’s even more fun when the wrestlers we cover exactly are involved, if only because each week is packed with big matches and the results could have a big impact on the national tournament.
Just some fun food for thought for this Thanksgiving week.
MORE:Iowa’s David Carr renewed the old wrestling family rivalry by winning the NWCA All-Star Classic
OK, onto the wrestling mailbag. Excited to finally go flat out for the rest of the wrestling season. Nothing against school football. It was fun, but wrestling is just different, you know?
Please give me a follow on Twitter and I’ll keep you posted on all things wrestling in Iowa. Don’t forget to tune in to The Register’s weekly wrestling podcast, In the Room. Find the latest episodes below.
Thanks for your help here and for reading.
Depth on Iowa Hawkeye’s wrestling roster
Here’s who will have Iowa at these weights next year:
- 125: sophomore Drake Ayala, plus true freshmen Nate Jesuroga
- 133: Senior Brody Teske, Junior Cullan Schriever, Redshirt rookie Jace Rhodes, true rookie Kale Petersen
- 141: Senior Real Woods, Senior Drew Bennett
- 149: Sophomore Caleb Rathjen, Sophomore Bretli Reyna, Redshirt Newcomer Joel Jesuroga, True Newcomer Cody Chittum
The only weight to monitor when so advertised is 141 pounds. The Hawkeyes have tapped the transfer portal for their last two big point scorers at 141 (Jaydin Eierman, now Woods). Bennett also came through the transfer portal, from northern Iowa. Maybe they’ll go that route again, or find a latecomer in the 2023 recruit class. Maybe one of the 133-pounders will move up, or maybe one of the 149-pounders will move down.
There are a few options and some time to figure that out, but overall these weights are in good shape for next season and for the future.
TIED TOGETHER:With Cody Chittum’s engagement, a deep look at future wrestling lineups in Iowa
Comparison of Max Murin from Iowa and Austin Gomez from Wisconsin
I know the following:
Max Murin is very basic and direct. He holds position really well and leads with his head and is quite strong for the weight and he will use this combo not only to damage his opponents but also to stay in matches where he might be inferior in other areas ( speed, technique, etc.).
Austin Gomez is as versatile offensively as it gets. He can hit the big highflyer moves, but he can also tear you apart with speed and precision. He may have dropped some points early but when he’s mentally strong and physically fit his fuel tank is as good as any in the country.
There’s also this: Murin is a combined 0-4 all-time against Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis and Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso. Gomez convincingly and decisively beat these two guys in four days.
I’d lean Gomez now, something like two takedowns in a 5-3 win. But it’s a matchup Murin can win if he brings his stuff.
We’ll find out on the 22nd.
TIED TOGETHER:How a speech impediment made Max Murin the confident wrestler you see today
Rating the debut performance of the Iowa women’s wrestling team
The short answer: yes.
As far as I know, the Missouri Valley Open has only recently – within the last 10 years or so – blossomed into a massive multi-discipline mega-tournament for female collegiate wrestlers. If you look at the results over the past few years, you will see many names that have won: Amy Fearnside, Jacarra Winchester, Kayla Miracle, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Becka Leathers, Forrest Molinari, Megan Black, Julia Salata and so on.
In a few years, they’ve also been keeping track of team results, which makes it super easy to track things like this. In recent years, Tennessee’s King University and Illinois’ McKendree have topped the list. Both schools had three individual champions and two other finalists last year.
In the quick research I could find — again, within the last 10 years or so — not a single women’s team has done what the Iowa women’s team did last weekend.
A quick reminder: Seven of Hawkeye’s wrestlers competed at the Missouri Valley Open. Five won titles and two finished second behind their teammates. Together they went 36-2 on aggregate. Take out the two matches in which they fought each other and they finished 34-0, outperforming their opponents at 330-35.
This is still crazy reading and typing a week later.
It’s important to note that women’s wrestling has changed a lot over the same period. Much like the men, women wrestlers across the country are much, much better now at a younger age than they were 10 years ago. We see it more at the senior level where Kylie Welker makes world teams and Amit Elor wins world titles.
In that context, it should come as no surprise to see Clarissa Chun’s team of super recruits not only win outright, but dominate outright. Feats like these will only raise expectations when they finally launch in 2023-24.
But it’s also still insanely impressive because you just never know how a young athlete will transition from high school to collegiate level. On the men’s side, we talk about it a lot. As women’s wrestling continues to grow, we’ll likely be talking about it a lot more on the women’s side in the years to come.
MORE:Iowa wrestlers win 5 singles titles in debut competition at Missouri Valley Open
How Nate Schon fits into Iowa State Wrestling’s future lineups
He was in the room. The plan is for him to redshirt this season and then have him contend for the heavyweight starting spot next season.
He hasn’t fought this season yet. The only time we even saw him compete was during preliminary wrestle-offs in Iowa State, where he pinned Cayden Miller in 29 seconds. He was next to wrestle Francis Duggan. I’m not sure if this score was released or even happened.
Because when the Cyclones announced their final wrestle-offs, it was Duggan who faced Sam Schuyler (Schuyler won 12-3). Schuyler has been the guy this season, with a 5-0 record and now ranked 10th in the country by InterMat.
I envision Schon, a member of the Iowa State 2021 recruit class who wore a gray shirt last year and is now a true freshman, getting a run this season, if only for the Iowa State coaches can see what he has. I’m a little surprised he won’t be at the Cyclone Open in Ames this weekend, but he also has a small history of injuries so the staff might let him back in.
MORE:Iowa wrestlers wipe out Grand View, ending college wrestling’s longest back-to-back winning streak
This week I’m thankful for Sudafed and the World Cup – Sudafed because I’m struggling with a little sinus problem; the World Cup because I’ve been camping out on my couch for the past few days and watching high level football in the mornings has been a treat.
I’ve also been excited for the Wrestling World Cup, which is scheduled for December 10-11 in Coralville. Hope to see you there.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at@codygoodwin.