IOWA CITY — Iowa has been without the services of junior 174-pounder Michael Kemerer.
The Hawkeyes will be without the two-time All-American the rest of the season.
Iowa Coach Tom Brands announced Tuesday that Kemerer will undergo season-ending surgery and miss the entire season. According to a news release, Kemerer will have the procedure later this week.
The specific injury was not mentioned in the release or by Brands during the team’s weekly media availability.
“We’re going to do the best thing for our guys,” Brands said. “Right now, we’ve come to that conclusion with our medical team, Michael Kemerer’s family and we’re excited to really move forward.
“Our guys want to be on the mat. It’s like a dog that wants to hunt, like a horse that wants to race and our wrestlers want to wrestle. This is a hard decision sometimes, but this one is the right decision and that’s what we do. We make the right decision for our individuals.”
Kemerer was 60-6 in his first two seasons, placing third and fourth at the NCAA Championships at 157. He was 27-3 as a sophomore and was ranked sixth at the bigger weight.
“I’m disappointed I won’t be on the mat with my teammates this season, but I am 100 percent committed to my rehab and recovery so I can return to the mat in 2019,” Kemerer said in the news release. “I have complete faith in my teammates, coaches, and medical staff, and they have faith in me. I will continue to give them all the very best that I have, on and off the mat.”
Kemerer has been a leader for the Hawkeyes, taking the mat with an exciting, point-scoring style. He leaves some big shoes left to fill.
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“It’s tough about Mike, but he’s a great kid,” Iowa’s Cash Wilcke said. “He’s one of my good friends and he’ll be all right. He’ll get through it. He’ll be ready to go next year, for sure. As far as our team standpoint, we have great depth. I’m sure we’ll be just fine. We’ll find out soon but I’m confident the team will be good.”
Kemerer battled injuries late in the season, medical forfeiting to sixth at the Big Ten Championships and defaulting from the third-place match at the national tournament. Multiple sources have mentioned Kemerer has battled a knee injury.
Brands was asked about the nature of the injury.
“I am not going to disclose that,” Brands said.
“As far as Michael Kemerer goes, our attention is on him, on what his needs are and this team on what its needs are and every individual and what their needs are and that’s our focus every day and that doesn’t change because there is a crisis,” Brands said. “In the statement, Michael Kemerer, the quote from him represents what he’s about. He’s about going forward and that’s what we’re about.”
Kemerer will seek a hardship waiver at the end of the season. He has not wrestled in a single event this season and suffered a season-ending procedure.
“The bottom line is he has a year left after this year,” Brands said. “We get our compliance in on that as we move forward. That’s another piece of the puzzle.
“We’re working on that, but it’s premature right now. We do have our ducks in a row.”
Iowa has fielded one of its most potent lineups in recent seasons. The rest of the Hawkeyes will have to pick up for the firepower that Kemerer brought to the team.
“Losing Kemerer is kind of a big hit, but we have a lot of capable guys in the room,” said Iowa 157-pounder Kaleb Young, who was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for his pin over Purdue’s 14th-ranked Griffin Parriott last Saturday. “So, a lot of guys that can stand up maybe make up for the points that we weren’t getting.”
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Myles Wilson has filled in, posting a 2-2 mark in the first four duals. He is listed as the only 174-pounder in the probable lineup for Saturday’s home dual against Iowa State. Senior Mitch Bowman wrestled 174 as a freshman and was an NCAA qualifier last year at 184. He wrestled 197 last Saturday, weighing in at 182 1/2 pounds. College wrestlers are allowed to lose 1.5 percent per week, allowing Bowman to possibly reach 174 before the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30.
“We have some options there,” Brands said. “We have a lot of 157-pounders there that you saw. We have some upper-weight guys that certified down there. We have some options. Obviously, the heavier guys are going to take some time because of the math and formulas and NCAA rules but the bottom line is we’re going to put the best guy on the mat at that weight class. Right now, Myles Wilson is the only guy listed there.”
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