Iowa Hawkeyes

9 Iowa Hawkeyes earn NWCA first-team All-America honors

David Carr highlights 3 ISU first-team picks; UNI's Taylor Lujan and Bryce Steiert selected to first team

Iowa's Alex Marinelli is presented as the winner after wrestling Nebraska's Isaiah White in their 165-weight bout during
Iowa’s Alex Marinelli is presented as the winner after wrestling Nebraska’s Isaiah White in their 165-weight bout during their dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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Iowa had nine wrestlers projected to make the podium at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

One other Hawkeye was expected to vie for one of those top eight spots as well.

All 10 wrestlers were recognized by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Friday.

The NWCA posted its 2020 All-America selections for D-I and Iowa had nine first-team selections with an additional second-team pick. Northern Iowa had two first-teamers with three more honored. Iowa State had three on the first team and three more chosen. The NWCA elected to award All-America teams based on regular season and NCAA qualifier performance, following the cancellation of the national tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During difficult times there are always people who rise to the occasion and I’m proud of the action that the NWCA Division I Leadership Group in providing direction for honoring the 2020 Division I All-American team,” NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer said in a news release on the organization’s website. “It’s important that these athletes’ efforts and successes during the season are recognized. Congratulations to each of this year’s honorees and National Qualifiers.“

Two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee (125), Austin DeSanto (133), Max Murin at 141, 149-pounder Pat Lugo, Kaleb Young at 157, Alex Marinelli (165), 174-pounder Michael Kemerer, Jacob Warner at 197 and heavyweight Tony Cassioppi earned first-team honors for top-ranked Iowa. Freshman Abe Assad was a second-team pick at 184.

Lee, Lugo and Marinelli claimed Big Ten Conference titles this season. Kemerer was a conference runner-up. Lee (18-0) added another accolade to go along with his Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, Hodge Trophy, InterMat Wrestler of the Year and Most Dominant D-I Wrestler awards from his unbeaten season.

“Officially naming All-Americans is the right thing to do,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said in a news release. “Our guys were consistent and earned their results. They earned their seed at the national tournament. They were dominant and based on their entire body of work they deserved to be recognized.”

UNI was led by first-teamers Taylor Lujan and Bryce Steiert at 184 and 174, respectively. Freshman Michael Blockhus (141), Max Thomsen at 149 and heavyweight Carter Isley received third-team/honorable mention picks. Lujan was the top seed, entering the NCAA tournament with a 23-2 mark. He won the Big 12 title and finished the season with a 19-match win streak. Steiert was also a conference champion, going 27-3. It is his second straight All-America honor.

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Iowa State’s Ian Parker (141), Jarrett Degen at 149 and 157-pound freshman David Carr were first-team selections. Alex Mackall (125) and heavyweight Gannon Gremmel were named to the second-team list and Sam Colbray (174) was a third-teamer. Carr became Iowa State’s first freshman Big 12 champion since Lelund Weatherspoon in 2014 and fifth overall, joining Cael Sanderson, Joe Heskett and David Zabriskie. Carr entered the national tournament seeded third with an 18-1 mark.

Former Alburnett two-time state champion and South Dakota State freshman Tanner Sloan was a second-team All-American. Sloan posted a 21-6 record and was a Big 12 finalist.

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