IOWA CITY — Kaleb Young demonstrated his desire to be part of the Iowa wrestling lineup.
Last season, Young filled out and stepped in at 174 and 165 pounds, facing highly-ranked wrestlers at each weight. He took the mat with an unselfish, team-first attitude.
Unfortunately, Young’s efforts didn’t result in a postseason nod at either weight.
“I just tried to do my part, fill in,” Young said. “It didn’t go quite as well as I would have wanted it to go, but I feel like I definitely contributed. I think I’m ready to contribute more.”
Young has gone from an option to the No. 1 guy, dropping down and taking over the 157-pound spot for the start of the season. He was impressive in the season-opening duals and brings a 2-0 mark to third-ranked Iowa’s dual against Princeton Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, starting at 7 p.m.
Young, ranked 17th by trackwrestling.com, posted a major decision and pin last weekend. Iowa Coach Tom Brands said he liked what he saw and wants to see more of it.
“Continue,” Brands said. “When the competition goes up, continue that and there’s no reason why you can’t wrestle that way against the best competition in the country or the world.”
Michael Kemerer’s move from 157 to 174 provided an opportunity for Young to return to a more natural weight. He has shown time and time again that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the lineup and help the Hawkeyes.
“I think I was ready,” Young said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do and made it happen.”
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Even though Young hadn’t wrestled this low since the summer after his junior season at Punxsutawney (Pa.) Area High School, he had little trouble with the cut, monitoring calories and drinking water to help shrink his body.
“I’ve been very disciplined with my weight,” Young said. “I haven’t let it skyrocket up or anything. It’s good, making sure I’m firing on all cylinders.”
Young was 9-7 last season, wrestling at 165 until All-American Alex Marinelli joined the lineup. He platooned with two-time NCAA qualifier Joey Gunther, who transferred to Illinois. Young battled seven ranked wrestlers, including four in the top 10. He won just one of those bouts and kept all but one to a decision.
“We need more of a seven-minute match out of him, probably,” Brands said at media day. “That’s the knock. Blow those matches, blow those matches open by wrestling hard for seven minutes. If he does that then he’s going to have a successful career.
“Going down two weights helps him.”
Young edged Jeren Glosser, 3-1, in sudden victory in the final wrestle-off, following a major decision over teammate Jeremiah Moody. Young said he feels faster, stronger and more agile at 157. The approach remains the same.
“You have to go out there, do our job and score points,” Young said. “Look to dominate and get the job done.
“I feel like guys at 157 might be a little bit faster but not quite as strong. At 174, I kind of had to horse things more where at 157 I can use more technique, I think.”
Iowa (2-0) is wrestling Princeton for just the second time in program history and the first time at home. The dual features two matches between ranked foes. Top-ranked NCAA champ Spencer Lee is expected to wrestle 21st-ranked freshman Patrick Glory. At 149, Princeton’s top-ranked Matthew Kolodzik faces 12th-ranked Pat Lugo.
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“We’ve got to be ready to go,” Brands said. “They have a heralded recruit right out of the gate at 125. We’ve got to be ready.
“They wrestle a style, if you were going to classify them or put them into a style, that is roly-poly. You get in on them and they’re diving over the top of you, grabbing ankles, rolling and we’ve got to be efficient there. We’ve got to be good there. We’re going to see that, so this is a good test.”
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