Iowa Wrestling – Before I get to the mailbag, a quick reminder that the 2022 Iowa girls state wrestling championships are Friday and Saturday at Xtream Arena in Coralville, and they deserve your attention — now more than ever.
The sport has grown a lot in recent years, from 67 girls in the 2015-16 season (according to the National Federation of State High School Associations) to 1,022 this season, according to Trackwrestling.
For context: 1,022 would have been the fourth highest attendance in a state during the 18-19 season (last year NFHS had complete attendance statistics), after only California (6,014), Texas (4,421) and Washington (1, 864).
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At last check, 741 girls have signed up for this weekend’s state tournament, from 161 different teams. There are 21 teams that have 10 or more girls registered to compete. Eight of them have 15 or more. Dallas Center-Grimes leads all schools with 21 contributions.
In USA Wrestling’s latest national rankings for high school girls wrestling, 14 girls from Iowa were included. Four Iowa girls were All-Americans at the 16U and Junior freestyle national championships last summer, and three more earned the same honor at the women’s folkstyle national tournament last spring.
The combination of all these things means there will be a lot of talent on the mat in Coralville this weekend. Again, this tournament deserves your attention.
We’ve seen it a lot here in Iowa. There’s the high school stuff, of course, but there are also 11 Iowa colleges that already have or are considering adding a women’s wrestling program — chief among them, of course, are the Iowa Hawkeyes, led by freshman coach Clarissa Chun.
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This movement extends to the Olympics. Team USA had four Olympic medalists last summer in Tokyo, headlined by Tamyra Mensah-Stock’s gold medal win. He is the second American wrestler to win Olympic gold.
Get on board if you haven’t already, because this movement has not gone away. Come to Coralville this weekend if you’re on the fence. Guarantee the girls and coaches and the atmosphere will help you make an easy decision.
Now then. To the Wrestling Mailbag. Cheers to the Portillo brothers for showing up on Saturday. Josh beat Justin 12-10 in sudden victory. Their match had three lead changes and three ties, 3-3, 7-7 and 10-10. It was a big scrap in a big dual (Grand View won, 19-18, its 112th consecutive dual). Well done, gentlemen.
Please follow me on Twitter and I’ll keep you updated on all things Iowa wrestling. Don’t forget to listen to the Register’s wrestling podcast, In the Room, every week. You can find the latest episodes below.
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Most of you are probably here for an Austin DeSanto update. I don’t have. We will meet with Tom Brands later this week. We ask, duh.
First things first: I think DeSanto will be back soon. I have heard nothing else and have no reason to believe otherwise. Sometimes guys miss duals. He’s the rare wrestler who hasn’t really been around since he moved on. He only missed a few duals at all earlier this season.
But on the face of it, the decision to burn Cullan Schriever’s red shirt is interesting. He had batted hitless until Friday’s doubleheader against Northwestern. He had compiled a 15-3 record. Remaining redshirted, I thought he would be Iowa’s future starter at 133.
The future starter at 133. This means, one, Brands feels that he is ready to go (because he is); two, Schriever OK’d his redshirt now (and three, he now has a redshirt to use on the road). Brands always says that first what is best for the individual. They talked about it before it happened.
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It always felt like guys like Schriever, Drake Ayala, Patrick Kennedy, Caleb Rathjen, Wyatt Henson, Bretli Reyna and others would actually redshirt this season and then step into the lineup next season. Ayala’s path changed after Spencer Lee’s decision to undergo surgery, but the rest is on track to debut in the ’22-23 season.
So Schriever’s burned jersey set off mental alarms that something might be wrong with DeSanto, who did not wrestle against Purdue on Jan. 9 and was with the team last weekend but did not wrestle in two duals.
Brands aren’t really clear on why DeSantodid didn’t wrestle last weekend and why Schriever redshirted. No one was there to ask, but on the Iowa wrestling radio broadcast, Brands said not to assume “imminent doom” when a regular starter doesn’t wrestle.
Maybe Brands felt he needed a stronger option behind DeSanto at 133. He did the same with Jesse Ybarra at 125, when Spencer was still trying to fight without an ACL, and Brennan Swafford at 174, when it was unclear when Michael Kemerer. will finally compete.
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Maybe Schriever doesn’t want to go to college for six years. He has a bit of an injury history, and this is already his second year at Iowa. Had he redshirted this season, it would have given him four years of eligibility. Not everyone wants to do it, and that’s completely understandable.
Maybe DeSanto is just a little hurt and needed a few races to heal and we’re all overthinking all of this. Maybe he needed a mental break. Don’t we all need a mental break every now and then?
Maybe DeSanto is seriously injured or it was an internal disciplinary matter and Schriever is the guy the rest of the way — and if that’s the case, we’ll have to readjust the lens through which we see Iowa the rest of the season. because it will obviously affect his NCAA potential. We will cross the bridge when and if we get there.
Another thought: If DeSanto is done for the season, Iowa would have said something, or will say something, or should. Again, this is an All-American doubles player and a great individual scorer for the Hawkeyes. He was a key part of last year’s title-winning team. There is interest both in Iowa and beyond. Saying nothing would be weird.
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I will end my thoughts here. We asked Brands if DeSanto won’t wrestle against Purdue that Sunday. Here is the full exchange:
Question: Where was DeSanto today? Marks: DeSanto – was he on the bench? Has anyone seen it? I saw it. He was lying on the bench. Team player, man. Took the day off. No problem. Question: His choice? Or your choice? Marks: His choice.
Be a lot to unpack. Nor could it be. So, maybe we are thinking too hard about all this. We learn more as we learn more.
Why isn’t the Iowa wrestling staff more open about normal starters not on the line? All other sports give fans enough clarity that it usually prevents normal people from creating all these theories on social media platforms and message boards. — Chris Thede (@ChrisThede) January 17, 2022
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Let’s be fair for a moment. Not much of the Iowa wrestling media made the trip to Evanston, Illinois.
And when Brands is asked, he answers. We are not always here to ask. (Yes, I reached out this weekend to clarify, but got no response. Again, we learn more as we learn more.)
Here’s an example: Marken said Jaydin Eierman, who also didn’t wrestle this weekend, was rested, likely because of a finger injury he suffered against Purdue’s Parker Filius. Brands spoke openly after that dual about wanting to get more out of Eierman going forward — three of his last five wins have come by one point.
Here’s another one I don’t know about: Max Murin missed the Iowa-Penn State game in the 19-20 season. When we asked, Brands said he was “devastated,” so Carter Happel went instead. Happel wrestled both duals that weekend, and both Paul Glynn and Jeremiah Moody were also in the lineup against Michigan State that Sunday.
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I can’t do it all the way. Hindsight is 20/20, but this would have been a weekend where I could have made the trip, but I decided I would have missed a high school wrestling weekend and not try because I love the high school season, and two, the A High school season is very short and packed.
But I had another tangential thought over the weekend, from last year’s NCAA Championships, when Alex Marinelli was medically out of the tournament after his quarterfinal loss to Stanford’s Shane Griffith.
“Marinelli is good. He has good priorities in his life. Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. Don’t go into the details. He is a winner. The tough boy, winner, leader.”
Some people could read what Marinelli thinks just left… when in reality he had a separate rib.
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No one would have batted an eye if Brands had said Marinelli had a separate rib. There is interest in a seasoned starter who is also a two-time All-American, a conference champion and the No. 1 seed at 165 pounds. It was all made even stranger when Marinelli was back on the floor the day after Iowa won the team title.
However, that was really the only time I was really confused by the lack of transparency. I’m sure you can have more examples, but this weekend consider another example of seasonal flows.
Hi Cody, with Parker moving to 141, Ramazan to 33 and
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