Sam Janicki - SJanicki Photo
Michael Kemerer will make his long awaited debut in an Iowa singlet this Saturday (Sam Janicki – SJanicki Photo)

The University of Iowa will begin the 2016-17 season by heading north to Decorah, Iowa for the Luther College Open. This is the third time in four years that the Hawkeyes have started their season at the Luther Open, with 2015 and the Grapple on the Gridiron the lone exception.

Iowa will be the only Division I program in the field, but several other Iowa programs have registered their teams as well. Upper Iowa will represent as Iowa’s only Division II school, and from Division III Buena Vista, Coe, Cornell, Loras, Luther, Simpson, and Wartburg will all be in attendance. Waldorf and William Penn (NAIA) and Iowa Lakes and NIACC (NJCAA) will be there as well.

Head Coach Tom Brands often uses the open as a de facto wrestle-offs to help determine his lineup for the coming season. Recent examples include Cory Clark defeating Thomas Gilman in the 2013 125-pound finals, Brody Grothus winning the 2014 149-pound title gave him the early lead over teammates Brandon Sorensen and Edwin Cooper Jr.

This year Brands has the potential to settle two of his weight-classes that head Hawkeye has publically stated need to be filled. At 141 we expect a battle between redshirt freshman Vince Turk and senior Topher Carton while 197 should be a contest between redshirt freshman Cash Wilcke and sophomore Mitch Bowman.

Carton won the only official meeting with Turk, an 8-7 victory at the 2015 Midlands. Both Bowman and Wilcke will be attempting to win a weight higher than they competed the previous season with the pair competing at 174 and 184 respectively.

The Luther Open also provides an opportunity for two wrestlers to make their Hawkeye debuts in the lineup, as Michael Kemerer and Steven Holloway have been given the preseason nods at 157 and heavyweight respectively.

At 165 Skyler St. John figures to be the lead man, but he could face competition from true freshman Alex Marinelli. While this is the first varsity competition for the Hawkeyes, they did send several wrestlers to the Grand View Open last weekend, where Marinelli came out on top in the 165-Open bracket. Outside of potentially Marinelli, the rest of the Iowa true freshmen are expected to compete in the freshman division.

How to follow: For best results follow @IowaWRLive for live results on Twitter or visit the Open’s Trackwrestling page to mine the results for yourself. IAwrestle plans to provide video coverage of matches after the event.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle