It looks like the quarterfinal matchups for all nine weights have been set in Akron, Ohio at the 2015 University National championships. 12 wrestlers with Iowa ties have made it to the quarterfinal round, with many other still fighting through the consolation bracket.
At 57 kg, University of Iowa wrestler Phil Laux will have a tough opponent in Nebraska’s Tim Lambert. Laux has won all three of his matches by technical fall, and up next he will have the 5th place finisher from the 2014 Junior World team trials. The winner of this matchup will in all likelihood end up facing senior level standout Tyler Graff.
The top seeded Earl Hall is off to a hot start in the 61 kg bracket, winning all three of his matches by technical fall thus far. Hall will face off against Anthony Tutolo of Kent State. Tutolo was 5-3 this past season while he redshirted so the former Junior World team member and Cyclone should be the favorite in this match.
Hawkeye hammer Brandon Sorensen remains alive in the massive 70 kg bracket and he will have a very interesting matchup with Minnesota Gopher Brandon Dolezal. The Gopher opened his tournament with a bang as he defeated Missouri All-American Lavion Mayes 17-7 technical fall in his second match. Sorensen opened with a fall in his first match, and then has shut his next three opponents out by a combined score of 26-0. The winner of the Dolezal match will likely face talented Oklahoma State wrestler Anthony Collica.
Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer is showing off his muscle at 70 kg as well by making the quarterfinals against Colin Heffernan. Cyclone fans looking for someone to step up and replace the departing Luke Goettl at 157 pounds may need to look no further than the freshman, who defeated Missouri backup Le’Roy Barnes, talented 149 starter CJ Cobb of Penn, and knocked off All-American Rick Durso in his final match last night. Cyclone 149 pound starter Gabe Moreno was 2-1 against Rodriguez-Spencer’s next opponent this past year, so this is definitely tabbed as a match of interest.
Since bumping back up to a more natural weight of 74 kg, Mike Moreno has been on a tear as he has won four straight by a combined score of 52-16. His next opponent will be Chris Dowdy, who’s biggest win may be the 11-2 win he earned over Grand View assistant coach Chad Lowman. Moreno’s attacks have been on point this weekend, and if he wins he will face either graduate standout Nestor Taffur or 6th place All-American Ethan Ramos of UNC.
Alex Meyer continues to move through his bracket at 80 kg, winning 10-4, 14-3, and 10-5. His next opponent will be Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck, who was 19-12 this past season. Meyer will look to improve on his fourth place finish in the bracket from a season ago.
At 86 kg all four top Iowa wrestlers remain alive. On the top side, Iowa Central NJCAA national champion Patrick Downey has had little issue to this point, and will face off against North Dakota State All-American Hayden Zilmer. Look for the former Junior silver medalist to continue his dominance. Former UNI All-American Ryan Loder should have a tough match against Michigan’s Big Ten champion Dom Abounader, as neither wrestler has really been tested to this point.
The bottom side of the 86 kg bracket features former Hawkeye All-American Ethen Lofthouse and his heir in the Iowa lineup, Sammy Brooks. Lofthouse will be up against Can Bethea, who was 19-9 for Penn University this past year. Lofthouse has yet to surrender a point this tournament winning all three matches by 10-0 technical fall. Brooks will be up against Brett Pfarr of Minnesota in his quarterfinal, and despite the Hawkeye beating Pfarr by major decision in their only dual meeting this past season, Pfarr did defeat Brooks 11-6 in freestyle last year at the 2014 Junior World Team trials. This will be an excellent matchup to see how Brooks is progressing.
Nathan Burak has taken care of business in the 97 kg weight class where he has won 10-0, 11-0, and 10-0 on his way to the quarterfinals. His match will be with Jacob Berkowitz, who was 4-4 for Northwestern this past season. Burak is the favorite to win his weight.
The final Iowan is 125 kg wrestler Blaize Cabell of UNI, who will have Collin Jensen of Nebraska in his first match of the day. Jensen is coming off a 18-14 season going 2-2 at the 205 NCAA championships. Both Cabell and Jensen were eliminated by Hawkeye Bobby Telford at the NCAAs.
Both University and Cadet Nationals are scheduled to resume action at 8:00 AM Central time today. Action can be viewed on Flowrestling.