With the high school wrestling season coming up just around the bend, preseason tournaments are in full swing. Last week Iowa hosted it’s growing Conflict at Carver event in Iowa City and up this weekend are a few events that will see Iowans in action. We have already touched on Fredy Stroker, who will be competing at Flowrestling’s Who’s #1 event, and Kansas City will feature it’s Blue Chip Fall Brawl, but in Michigan we will see three key Iowans at the Grapple Fall Classic.
The lightest Iowan will be Lisbon state champion Nick Williams, who will be competing at 125. Williams has earned the #8 pre-seed for the event, at a weight which features a nationally ranked Cameron Sykora, who recently just uncommitted from North Dakota State. Earl at D1 has Sykora ranked #65, and he is the top pre-seed. That means if seeds hold all the way to the quarterfinals, junior Nick Williams will have his hands full.
The highest rated Iowan slated to compete is another junior from Lisbon in two-time state champion (and Cadet freestyle national champion) Carter Happel. Happel has earned the pre-seed for the 135 weight class, but according to the guys at AWP it’s the guy on the opposite side of the bracket #76 Brandon James as the one who will win this class. James is an Old Dominion commit, projected for 141 pounds, so it’s easy to see why the AWP guys like him to win it all, but if you ask me there is a reason Happel is the #1 pre-seed.
“I didn’t wrestle at Conflict because I had homecoming the night before.” Happel said, “The guy that runs GFC got ahold of me 2 months ago and asked me to come, so I looked at the info and thought it over, and I decided it would be a fun experience.”
“I’m happy to be seeded first. It gives me some more confidence going into the tournament. Hopefully the pre-seeds stand true and I can come come home with gold.”
Happel will also be competing in The Wrestling Freakshow in Las Vegas in a couple weekends.
The final Iowa registered is the #48 ranked senior from Bettendorf Dayton Racer. Racer was a two time state champion while competing for the powerhouse Apple Valley in Minnesota. Racer is currently not listed among the 160 pre-seeds. Pre-seeds go all the way to 16, so I imagine that Racer was not registered in time to be considered for pre-seeds. Seeing as that none of the top few seeds are ranked by AWP, I think it’s a good bet that Racer could end up Iowa’s second #1 seed.
You can also listen to the AWP guys give their take on the weight classes here.