All three Iowa DI schools have some terrific redshirt freshmen and with Iowa graduating 50% of their lineup, and Iowa State graduating 30% of their’s, the holes left by those wrestlers will be 11 All-American honors which means each team will need to reload to get their teams back to the top of the heap.
- Josh Alber 133 – Northern Iowa
- Marcus Harrington 197 – Iowa State
- Sam Stoll 285 – Iowa
- Nathan Boston 125 – Iowa State
- Burke Paddock 165 – Iowa
HM: Logan Brietenbach (157/165 – Iowa State)
1. Josh Alber – Alber gets the #1 spot for one reason, UNI needs another star on their squad, and the four-time Illinois state champion may just be the answer. A year ago UNI was one win away from winning a MAC conference title, this year they took a step back, finishing 6th in the conference. Not to make excuses, but this was a lineup that was hit hard with injuries, and on top of that graduated three All-Americans from the previous year. Coming into next year I expect All-American Dylan Peters (125), along with Cooper Moore (165) and Blaize Cabell (285) to really step up for this team.
Enter Alber, who has had a very successful true freshman season, one that saw him reach the finals of the UNI open by defeating Missouri’s Zach Synon 7-4 in OT. The win bears significance because Synon was the 2015 MAC champion at 133, which means Alber can be a threat for a conference title from day one, and that’s the kind of thing UNI is going to need to try and push Missouri off their three-year conference title run.
2. Marcus Harrington – Harrington may have gotten snubbed from the top spot, but he has certainly earned his keep as the heir to three-time All-American Kyven Gadson by picking up multiple quality wins. For certain Harrington should enter as an immediate contender for the Big 12 title (and doing a quick scan of the WWC, he should have an opportunity to put himself on the top of that bunch as well). It’s always going to be an uphill battle trying to replace a NCAA champion with a redshirt freshman, but Cyclone fans should be excited about Harrington’s talent.
Here are some thoughts from Cyclone writer Ben Swalla – Harrington comes into his redshirt freshman season with big shoes to fill; replacing national champion Kyven Gadson. Harrington saw some success in his redshirt season, completing a 19-5 season with victories over Indiana starter Lucas Sheridan and Iowa backup Kris Klapprodt. Harrington won the Grandview Open, while placing third at the UNI open and losing to teammate Kyven Gadson in the Kaye Young Open finals. The redshirt freshman will be huge for the 197 pound weight class, and there has been some talk of him eventually bumping up to heavyweight. Harrington’s style is relentless with lots of attacks and a barrage of excellent counter offense skills. His mat wrestling skills are not as heralded, and he will likely need to improve from a mat wrestling perspective.
Harrington came out of high school highly heralded, winning back to back state championships for Waterloo West high school. His senior season, he dominated the 220 pound field at the USA freestyle nationals in Fargo, North Dakota. Harrington won by technical fall over six opponents before cruising to a 7-2 victory in the finals. Marcus also won the NHSCA senior national championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
3. Sam Stoll – Stoll bears a heavy burden as he will look to replace three-time All-American Bobby Telford. Telford has been among the best in the country since the start of his freshman year and if it wasn’t for a knee injury his sophomore year, there is a very real chance Telford could have been a four-time NCAA All-American for Tom Brands. Stoll will benefit from having coach Ben Berhow working with him in the room, a man who is given a tremendous amount of credit for the progress that Nathan Burak and Telford have shown over the past two seasons.
Stoll doesn’t have a ton of marquee wins in his first season, but his best win would probably be the 3-1 victory over NCAA qualifier Brooks Black of Illinois. The first step for Stoll will be to break into the top 20 rankings and from there we will figure out the potential for former high school pinning machine. The Big Ten returns three All-Americans from 2015 – runner-up Adam Coon (Michigan), fourth place Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), and eighth place Michael Kroells (Minnesota). Flowrestling’s Christian Pyles put out a post-NCAA rankings and among those wrestlers, Brooks Black comes in at #17, which means we could see Stoll in the top 20 early on.
Stoll’s main background is in Greco-Roman where he is ranked in the top ten Nationally at the senior level. While Stoll is very accomplished in the Greco style, the skills that make him successful in that respect don’t always translate over folkstyle. Stoll will need to work on both leg attacks and his mat wrestling to take him to the next level.
4. Nathan Boston – Boston is probably one of the most interesting names on this list, but since he is coming off a redshirt and is expected to compete at either 125 or 133 – two weights that already have returning starters, he gets pushed down the list. Boston would be hard pressed to go up to 133 and challenge All-American Earl Hall, so it seems like logic would suggest he would stay at 125 to challenge Kyle Larson. The first tournament of the year had Larson winning the two’s only meeting 3-1
Then, Boston went on to have a fairly successful Harrold Nichols Open the next weekend where he beat another top redshirting freshman Stevan Micic of Northwestern. The 3-2 win really opened some eyes, and he followed the win with a tough 5-1 loss to the eventual third place All-American in the finals. Boston is full of potential, and it will be up to him to make the decision easy on head coach Kevin Jackson by earning the spot outright next season.
Swalla on Boston – Boston’s redshirt campaign saw him complete a 7-2 season. He had a huge victory over former consensus #1 120 pounder and Northwestern redshirt Steven Micic. Boston’s two losses were to teammate Kyle Larson, and eventual NCAA 3rd place finisher Alan Waters in a hard fought 5-1 battle. Boston is very tall and lanky, making him difficult for opponents to wrestle. The Kentucky native is a hammer from the top position, and very skilled when people get in on his legs. Ideally the Cyclones would have Boston at the 125 pound weight class, but questions remain if he can hold the weight after missing weight at the Southern Scuffle. Boston will compete with returning starters Kyle Larson (125) and Earl Hall (133) with the potential of true freshman Markus Simmons being thrown into the mix.
Boston’s high school career saw him complete a 199-1 career mark, with his lone loss coming at the Indiana state tournament as a freshman. Boston went on to win three state championships, one in Indiana and two in Kentucky. Boston was a Flo National’s champion, and won Flowrestlings who’s #1 bout. Boston has a funky style, and is very unorthodox. Making 125 sustainably will be key for Boston, and improving his offensive takedown skills.
5. Burke Paddock – Paddock is an interesting candidate considering Iowa lack’s a clear front-runner to replace Nick Moore at 165. Unlike 141 pounds for Iowa, which has Topher Carton who picked up several spot starts for Josh Dziewa this past season. Paddock is expected to drop down from 174 pounds to challenge Logan Thomsen and Patrick Rhoads for the spot.
Paddock’s resume is difficult fully analyze given that all of his results came at 174. The biggest issue is that he lacks wins at not only 165, but didn’t really score a lot of big wins at 174 either. The assumption is that Paddock was wrestling up while he transitioned from high school into college, and he stated in his interview after the Fargo national tournament that his plan for college was to go to 165. Paddock also has an extremely talented Greco-Roman background.
Like his freshman teammate, Paddock excels at Greco-Roman and was a Greco-Roman national champion in high school, winning the 170 pound finals as a senior. Paddock will need to improve in all areas of wrestling, suffering losses to multiple team backups in his redshirt season.