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College wrestling competition began last week with some teams starting with open tournaments over the weekend. Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi captured a world title, Linn-Mar’s Tate Naaktgeboren announced his college commitment and more in the Wrestling Weekend That Was.
Tony Cassioppi claims world title
Hawkeye heavyweight Tony Cassioppi earned a gold medal in the United World Wrestling U23 World Championships this weekend in Belgrade, Serbia. Cassioppi throttled Greece’s Azamat Khosonov in Sunday’s 125-kilogram final, building a 13-0 lead before recording a pin with 16 seconds left in the opening period.
Cassioppi has continued to transform his body into a more cut and toned heavyweight. He appears monstrous and performed that way as well in four matches. He outscored opponents, 38-8, winning his first match by pin and recording 7-0 and 5-0 decisions.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” Cassioppi said about overseas competition on the verge of the college season. “I’m just excited to have that opportunity. I’m not worried about going overseas and how that will affect my season.”
Cassioppi is a two-time All-American, placing third in the NCAA Championships last season, and a two-time Pan-Am champion in freestyle. He will be one of five World champion heavyweights wrestling at the NCAA Division I level. As Flowrestling’s Andy Hamilton noted, Minnesota’s Gable Steveson won the Olympic gold medal in freestyle this summer. Michigan’s Mason Parris has won a Junior World title, Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz owns a Cadet Greco-Roman World championship and Penn State’s Greg Kerkvilet won a Cadet World freestyle crown. Four of them reside in the Big Ten. Think about a World champion being seeded fourth at their conference meet.
The 6-foot, 285-pounder was asked about getting to wrestle the likes of Steveson multiple times this season. They are expected to meet in the dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 7. The duo could clash at the Big Ten Conference and NCAA tournaments.
“He’s the Olympic champ,” Cassioppi said. “It’s awesome to have so many opportunities to wrestle the best in the world, right here. I’ll be wrestling him in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. I’ll be wrestling him at Big Tens and nationals. That’s exciting for me because that’s where my aspirations are and how I want to be. That’s obviously great motivation for me, but I’m very self-motivated and I want to be the best me I can be. Even if he wasn’t around I’d still be shooting to be the best in the world.”
NCAA Division I commits
The Gazette area has been flooded with NCAA Division I verbal commitments this fall. The latest was Linn-Mar junior Tate Naaktgeboren. He announced this weekend that he intends to wrestle for Iowa State.
“I’m excited to announce my commitment to Iowa State University! I want to thank my family, coaches at (Linn-Mar wrestling), (Big Game Wrestling Club) and friends for all the support and sticking with me through the process. ROLL CLONES BABY,” the two-time state finalist and defending 160-pound Class 3A state champion tweeted on his personal account.
Naaktgeboren was 13-0 in a shortened season as a sophomore. He was 36-3 as a freshman.
He is the latest of a talented pool of area wrestlers. Iowa City West’s two-time state champion Hunter Garvin committed to Stanford. Robert Avila Jr., who is at West after winning three titles at Lisbon, announced his commitment to Virginia. West Delaware state champion Wyatt Voelker will compete for Northern Iowa.
Iowa City High two-time state champion Ben Kueter is one of the treasure trove of Hawkeye recruits. He announced he will play football and wrestle for Iowa.
Jalen Schropp honored
Loras’ Jalen Schropp was named American Rivers Conference Wrestler of the Week. The former Williamsburg standout won the 141-pound title at the Platteville Invitational.
He opened the season with three straight pins, decking Wisconsin-Platteville’s Zach Licht in 5:33 of the finals. It is the first time Schropp has received the honor.
Cornell opens with win
Cornell College opened its season with a victory at home Thursday. The Rams defeated Simpson, 30-18, taking six of 10 weights.
Evan Husko (133), Casey Allen (165) and 184-pounder Collin Honderd won by fall. Killian Perrigon added a technical fall at 157 and Treyten Steffen (197) posted a major decision.