IOWA CITY — Iowa Coach Tom Brands continues to find an answer for his lineup at 174 pounds.
Last week, Michael Kemerer underwent season-ending surgery. And in an awkward moment during Saturday’s Iowa State dual, Myles Wilson, who had held the spot in Kemerer’s absence, crumbled to the mat between periods and injury defaulted.
With his status up in the air, the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes are still searching for a permanent solution to solidify their lineup. Could Mitch Bowman return to the weight he hasn’t wrestled at since his redshirt freshman season? Can Jeremiah Moody successfully bump up two weight classes? Maybe someone else is the answer.
“We have 40 guys on our roster and I actually had one of our athletes volunteer to go 174,” Brands said. “He was at a weight class way lower than that. It shows you, and me, guys want to be out there wrestling.”
Moody and fourth-ranked Alex Marinelli are listed at 165 pounds in the probable lineup for Saturday’s home dual against Lehigh (0-3) with nobody specifically listed at 174. Bowman is at 184 with 17th-ranked Cash Wilcke.
“I definitely have my weight under control, right now,” Bowman said. “This week it is not going to be at 174. I’m focused on being at 184 and 197 this week, being ready to go there. So that is what I’m focused on now.”
Bowman did not rule out a drop to 174 later this month. Brands referenced the weight loss rules that limit how much wrestlers can lose each week, which may have prevented a quicker descent. Bowman said he could compete at 174 for the Midlands Championships.
“We’ll see how that goes after this week because I feel like I need to focus on being ready this week to help the team out the best I can and help myself out the best I can,” Bowman said. “I definitely want to be a full-time starter and help the team out the best I can. I think that would be a great option.”
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“He’s a possibility,” Brands said. “We have a lot of possibilities there. We have guys coming up from lower weight classes. We have the possibility of guys going down from heavier weight classes.”
Bowman was a national qualifier last season at 184. He is 2-0 overall, moving up to 197 and beating then-11th-ranked Christian Brunner. He has exemplified the team-first mentality and embraced any chance to be in the lineup.
“If the team needs me the most there, that’s where I’ll be,” said Bowman, a senior. “If they need me up, that’s where I’ll be, too.
“Even if I’m down to 174 but they need me at 197, I’ll still go 197. It doesn’t matter. I’ll help everybody out as much as I can.”
The last time Bowman wrestled 174 was his redshirt freshman season. He was a backup for All-American Alex Meyer that year. He weighed in at 182.5 for the Purdue dual and is confident he would be fine physically at the lower class.
“I’ll be strong no matter where I’m at,” Bowman said. “I think I can do well there.
“It’s just a discipline thing, being in control, and not taking it off at once. Be smart about it and bring it down slow.”
As for Wilson, his return seems unlikely this season.
“We are not having good news with Wilson and that’s very unfortunate because he is a great ambassador of our program,” Brands said. “We’re going to move on. We’re huddling with our medical team to figure out the next course of action.”
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Sam Stoll's status
After his memorable season debut that helped Iowa edge Iowa State last weekend, second-ranked heavyweight Sam Stoll is a maybe in the probable lineup for Lehigh on Saturday.
“I feel like he could have gone two Saturdays ago,” Brands said. “The No. 1 ingredient in that is making sure we have 100 percent his best interest in mind. Why rush it?”
Brands and Stoll both said the senior All-American made the call to wrestle on his own. It accelerated the timetable for Stoll to return. Brands said Stoll had actually trained through the meet, working out Saturday morning and then taking the mat in the afternoon.
“Our best chance there is our best guy and that’s what Stoll’s rationale was,” Brands said. “That’s where we are with him. The best decision for him is going to be what you see on Saturday, unless he makes the call again and it’s goofy like that.”
Iowa, ISU move in polls
The impact from Iowa’s 19-18 victory over rival Iowa State on Saturday could be seen in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I Coaches Poll. The Hawkeyes (5-0) remained unbeaten, but dropped one spot to fourth. The Cyclones (1-1) moved into the rankings, coming in 23rd. Last week, Iowa State received just one vote.
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