Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa wrestling opens with 39-0 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga

Nelson Brands, Tony Cassioppi win in Hawkeye debuts

Nelson Brands, Iowa wrestling
Nelson Brands, Iowa wrestling

IOWA CITY — To say Nelson Brands was destined to wrestle at the University of Iowa wouldn’t be a stretch.

The son of associate head coach and two-time Hawkeye national champion Terry Brands, Nelson grew up in and around Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But Sunday was his first time in a black-and-gold singlet and in front of 10,466 fans.

“Nervous is an understatement,” said Nelson, whose 8-4 win over Matthew Waddell at 184 pounds helped second-ranked Iowa to a 39-0 season-opening whipping of Tennessee-Chattanooga. “I was peeing every five minutes upstairs. It was fun to get those nerves out.

“I mean it was a surreal moment. I watched them since I was a toddler. By them I mean us. It was something else.”

Brands scored two of his three takedowns in the first period, then pulled ahead with an escape and takedown in the third.

“I think he was 3-for-4 on shots,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said of his nephew. “We know that’s his strength. Why not be 13-for-14?”

Nelson actually weighed in at 176 and was filling in for Cash Wilcke at 184. Wilcke wrestled in a tournament Saturday instead of Sunday’s dual.

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“I hope they liked what they saw because I’d love to be back out there,” Nelson said.

Nelson Brands’ performance was much like the rest of his teammates. Iowa wrestlers were solid but not spectacular, with the exception of Michael Kemerer and Tony Cassioppi.

Kemerer, in his first match back after missing last season with an injury, scored three takedowns and 12 nearfall points in a 20-0 technical over Hunter Fortner at 174.

“I try to keep myself pretty even keeled, pretty calm when I go on the mat,” he said. “But I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel it, didn’t hear it. Lot of emotions going into the match.

“It is one match, it is November, but it meant a lot. It was awesome.”

Cassioppi, like Nelson Brands a redshirt freshman making his Hawkeye debut, needed just 1 minute and 45 seconds to pin Grayson Walthall at heavyweight.

“Obviously my strategy every match is to get on my offense,” Cassioppi said, “move my feet make that guy react to me.”

Austin DeSanto, who weighed in at 133 but wrestled at 141, also scored a technical fall, scoring five takedowns in a 21-4 win over Aiden Murphy. Spencer Lee at 125 and Kaleb Young at 157 scored major decisions as Iowa scored 31 takedowns and 30 nearfall points.

“Obviously my strategy every match is to get on my offense,” Cassioppi said, “move my feet make that guy react to me.”

Tom Brands said the Hawkeyes know they’ve got to get better.

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“It’s a tough sport,” he said. “It was a pretty good performance out there.

“If you’re a Hawkeye fan, you want to see explosion ... We want what you want, but it’s not easy. Guys do not fall down and sometimes out guys think they do. And sometimes our best fans think they do, too.”

Iowa is at Iowa State next Sunday.

IOWA 39, CHATTANOOGA 0

At Carver-Hawkeye Arena

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

125 pounds — Spencer Lee (I) dec. Fabian Gutierrez, 16-5 (2,1); 133 — Paul Glynn (I) dec. Wade Cummings, 11-7 (3.3); 141 — Austin DeSanto (I) tech. fall over Aiden Murphy, 21-4, 3:46 (5,0); 149 — Pat Lugo (I) dec. Tanner Smith, 9-4 (3,1); 157 — Kaleb Young (I) dec. George Carpenter, 16-6 (7,0); 165 — Ale Marinelli (I) dec. Drew Nicholson, 9-4 (3,0); 174 — Michael Kemerer (I) tech. fall over Hunter Fortner, 20-0, 5:28 (3,0); 184 — Nelson Brands (I) dec. Matthew Waddell, 8-4 (3,0); 197 — Jacob Warner (I) dec. Rodney Jones, 5-4 (1,1); Hwt. — Tony Cassioppi (I) pinned Grayson Walthall, 1:45 (1,0)

TOTALS: Takedowns — Iowa 31, Chattanooga 6; Reversals — Iowa 2, Chattanooga 0; Escapes — Iowa 12, Chattanooga 26; Nearfall points — Iowa 30, Chattanooga 0; Penalty points awarded — Iowa 3, Chattanooga 0; Riding time points — Iowa 6, Chattanooga 0; Total match points — Iowa 117, Chattanooga 38

Referees — Joseph Tauber, Rick Stahl. A — 10,466

Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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