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Iowa wrestling notes: Hawkeyes release probable lineup for season-opening dual
Iowa hosts California Baptist on Sunday
IOWA CITY — University of Iowa men’s wrestling released its initial probable lineup during its weekly news conference Tuesday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
These can be in flux due to injury, illness, recovery and other factors. Starters can be much different in November than January. Even mid-season lineups vary from those in March.
The Hawkeyes have a few weights with multiple options and a couple more spots with new faces for Sunday’s season-opening dual against California Baptist at home, starting at 1 p.m. Iowa will present a cast of regulars as well, like returning NCAA finalist Jacob Warner, three-time All-American Tony Cassioppi and national qualifiers Max Murin and Abe Assad.
Multiple wrestlers are listed at 133 pounds and 157. Brody Teske and Cullan Schriever are listed at 133, while former Lisbon prep Cobe Siebrecht and Caleb Rathjen are at 157.
“I don’t think it’s really important to have your set lineup, right now,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “Early season, you can experiment in situations where you have two really good options, and that’s what we have.
“We’re in no hurry, but the eyeball test is worth something.”
Teske transferred from Northern Iowa, where he was a two-time national qualifier at 125 pounds. The former four-time state champion from Fort Dodge actually began his career at Penn State. Schriever is ranked as high as 13th nationally and saw action last season, posting a 15-5 record filling in for All-American Austin DeSanto.
“There are two listed there and we’ll see what we end up with,” Brands said. “We like everybody. We love everybody.”
Teske arrived on campus less than six months after wrestling his last match for the Panthers. The new locale comes with a new weight, bumping up a class. Brands said there was minimal conversation, which amounted to more of a confirmation of moving to 133.
“He’s a pretty serious competitor,” Brands said. “I have a lot of good things to say about him.”
At 157, Siebrecht was 2-0 in intrasquad matches last week, including a 7-0 decision over Rathjen. Bouts inside the practice room are not the same as results in competition. They can serve as barometers, but not the final verdict on starters.
Siebrecht was 5-2 in limited action last season at 149. Aidan Harris, a two-time NJCAA qualifier and 2021 junior college All-American, will wrestle at 125. He topped Charles Matthews, 4-1, in intrasquad action and earned the nod to be the first to fill in for Spencer Lee.
“I learned we have a lot of work to do,” Brands said. “I learned that we have some young talent and if we can combine the work ethic and constant (drive) to get better with that young talent then we’re going to be in pretty good shape. It doesn’t happen automatic, though.”
Drake Rhodes will wrestle at 174 pounds. The three-time Montana state champion is list as a 157- and 165-pounder. He will bump up to a weight expected to be held by Nelson Brands or Brennan Swafford.
“He has an opportunity,” Brands said, “and he needs to make the most of it.”
As for Nelson Brands, a former national qualifier, and Swafford, an NAIA national champion, they are improving and could return soon.
“We’ll do what we always do and that’s put our best team on the mat that’s available,” Tom Brands said. “We will also make the best decision for each individual. Right now, for each individual, the best thing for Nelson and Swafford is not go on Sunday. They’re close. They’re really close.”
Hawkeyes heading to Luther
Iowa is also sending some wrestlers to the Luther Open on Saturday in Decorah. The list of competitors wasn’t finalized at the time of availability, but Brands and others said some will attend.
NCAA rules have changed, allowing freshmen five dates to compete without burning their redshirts. With the new rule, restrictions are also in place. Iowa has 16 dates and can only have six attached wrestlers with them to events. Staff will have to manage who goes where and who may have to pay their own way as unattached competitors.
“We’re wading through that, right now,” Brands said Tuesday. “Whatever the deadline is to register, that’s when we’ll make our decision but we have a pretty good idea who is going to go there as well.”
Spencer Lee update
Lee, Iowa’s three-time NCAA champion and two-time Hodge Trophy winner, is not listed in the probable lineup for the opener, which is expected. He is 11 months removed from surgeries to repair torn ligaments in both knees.
During the team’s media day, Lee said he wasn’t sure of his return but said he would wrestle this year, closing out his college career and getting ready for a lengthy international freestyle run. Brands was asked about Lee’s status Tuesday.
“Spencer looks great,” Brands said. “Feeling great. Maybe we get him in front of the cameras next week.”