Northern Iowa will be bringing a loaded squad to the Grand View Open this Saturday, though the team will be without several key wrestlers. 29 total wrestlers will compete at the open, with nine of those wrestlers competing in the freshman only division. The Panthers are the only Division I team to send most of their varsity lineup to the open.
For starters UNI will be without two of their ranked wrestlers with both Dylan Peters (125) and Bryce Steiert (157) both absent from the initial entry list. This will give an opportunity for several of the young starters to step up and at the very least take a hold of the backup role. Both Jay Schwarm and Tanner Rohweder will battle it out for the 125 spot until Peters is able to return. The usual starter for UNI the past three season, Peters tore his ACL last December and has been rehabbing the injury. In his media day interview, Peters mentioned he is hopeful to return to the lineup by the Virginia Tech dual in mid-November.
Cooper Moore, the squads 165 pounder and two-time MAC Champion, will be healthy for the first time in a year. Moore suffered an elbow injury early last season, then sustained a concussion at The Midlands. We’ll see what Moore can do against a fairly large field, as the Panthers alone will be sending three more men at 165 pounds. This could be the best introduction that Moore has had since his freshman year, where he went 8-1 in his first nine matches.
Other potential starters for the Panthers include light weights Josh Alber at 133 and Max Thomsen at 149 pounds. This won’t be the first action that Thomsen has seen since going to UNI (he went 17-4 last season wrestling unattached) but it will be his first crack at varsity-level competition. Expectations are high for him, and it would be a stunner if he didn’t take home a title. Alber was up and down last year – both in record and with his weight. But with another year under his belt the weight issues aren’t expected to be issues, and hopefully that translates to a more even performance on the mat.
Jake Koethe comes back for UNI at 141 pounds after tearing his ACL last season. Koethe defeated two NCAA qualifiers last season (Nebraska’s Anthony Abiden and Northern Illinois’ Steve Bleise) before suffering his injury, and I thought that the Panthers had found their starter. Koethe looked really good taking down Bleise at NIU, and seeing what he can do with a full, healthy year will be great to watch.
Coming into the season the upper-weights were the biggest question marks in the UNI lineup, with 184 and 197 lacking a sure-fire starter. After reportedly moving up to 184 pounds, Jacob Holschlag is also absent from the entry list for UNI, so Drew Foster will look to begin the season as the starter there. Foster was the starter for most of the season last year, going 13-19, and he lost 2-1 in sudden victory against Buffalo’s Joe Ariola for a NCAA qualifier birth. I don’t think fans should read too much into Holschlag, or any other potential starters, sitting out at this early season tournament. The Panthers are going to be much more careful with injuries this season, and if that means sitting out a day or two if a wrestler is dinged up, so be it.
Likewise Jared Bartel figured to be in the race at 197 pounds, but he too is missing from the entries. NJCAA champion Tyler Hoffman will be tested up at 197 at the open and after initial reports suggested redshirting was eminent, we are hearing the door may not be closed on Hoffman making his way into the lineup this season. A strong performance at the Grand View Open may be what Schwab needs to see to start the would-be junior.
Heavyweight JJ Everard makes his Panther debut as a starter. Everard went 20-4 last season wrestling unattached for UNI, and he was also an NCAA qualifier in 2015. Northern Iowa is a bit depleted at 285 pounds; Blaize Cabell graduated last season and the other two men listed at the weight come in as freshmen, so Everard is UNI’s best chance to have a solid year at one of their bookend weights. Cabell was a MAC Champion last season, and with really only Buffalo’s heavyweight returning, Everard should be able to make a nice run at his own championship.
University of Northern Iowa Entry List
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