116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa Coach Tom Brands said Austin DeSanto remains No. 1 on the Hawkeyes’ 133-pound depth chart.
He didn’t go so far as to say whether the three-time All-American or redshirt freshman Cullan Schriever will start Friday night.
“Both guys are great options,” Brands said during the program’s weekly news conference with media via Zoom Wednesday. “Our No. 1 guy is Austin DeSanto. We haven’t decided because funny things happen in life. I can’t guarantee it.
“How’s that for a teaser? I would say this, we’re going to put our best lineup on the mat.”
DeSanto and Schriever are both listed in the probable lineups for the top-ranked Hawkeyes’ dual at No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. DeSanto is unbeaten in 11 matches and remains ranked third by Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. He has not wrestled since Jan. 7 against Minnesota.
Schriever, who is 15-5 overall, has manned the spot the last two duals, removing his redshirt before the Northwestern dual last week. He dropped decisions to the Wildcats’ fourth-ranked Chris Cannon and No. 8 Lucas Byrd, of Illinois.
The former Mason City three-time state champion and former Junior Nationals freestyle champion was with the program last season, going 3-1 in a year that did not count against his eligibility. The free “Covid” year.
The situation differs from Drake Ayala, in his first year removed from high school, coming out of redshirt to replace Spencer Lee, who had season-ending knee surgery.
“Cullan is a second-year guy,” Brands said. “It’s not even close to being the same decision as bringing someone who has been here for three or four months out of redshirt. There was dialogue.
“He’s a very important part of our present and future. We love the guy. We know he’s capable. Not a hard decision.”
The 133-pound class was the only either/or weight in the probable lineup for the Hawkeyes (10-0, 4-0). Outside of Ayala stepping in for Lee and 133, the rest of the expected starters are in place from 141 to 149. Kaleb Young (157), Alex Marinelli at 165 and heavyweight Tony Cassioppi are the only Hawkeyes to wrestle each dual this season.
“As the things we can control moving forward, we’re just going to put our best lineup on the mat,” Brands said. “It is no different than back in early, mid-November when we started this venture. The difference is we’re in the middle of the season, so it’s important that we’re getting our pieces more in line with what it’s going to look like. The 10 guys we put in the ranking pool are the 10 guys you could guess. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be in the lineup every week.”
As Brands was discussing the lineup and decisions at 133, he added an update on Lee. The three-time NCAA champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner is recovering from procedures to repair ACLs in both knees.
“There’s one piece that is missing at 125,” Brands said. “His name is Spencer Lee ... Spencer Lee is doing great, by the way.”