If you didn’t know his name before, the chances are that you do now, as Hawkeye freshman Kaleb Young has gone from budding high school prospect to potentially a top 15 wrestler at 165 pounds even though he is technically still redshirting. While it’s true his classmate Alex Marinelli has received the lion’s share of the press this season, Young has been every bit as impressive as his counterpart.
At the 2016 Midlands Young put in a fifth place finish while wrestling unattached at 165 pounds. Young notched two victories over ranked opponents, with his first ever win against a ranked opponent coming against Oklahoma’s #16 Clark Glass. Despite notching a big win, Young isn’t one to let a little success go to his head.
“It was an awesome experience and definitely felt good to finally be able to compete alongside the big dogs on the team,” Young said on competing at the Midlands, “I just try to take each match as it comes and not place anybody on a pedestal. It’s the same goal going into every match.”
Young’s win over Glass was definitely the first signature win in the young wrestler’s career and at the time it placed him into the Midlands quarterfinals. It was there Young took a 10-8 heartbreaking loss to Lorenzo De La Riva of CSU Bakersfield that placed him on the tournament’s backside. After winning back-to-back consolation matches by bonus, Young would fall once more, this time to Arizona State freshman Anthony Valencia. That would setup a rematch between Young and De La Riva. Young made the proper adjustments and was able to come out on top 9-5 in his rematch.
“I had to realize that he is pretty funky and I didn’t need to force any holds,” Young said of his adjustments, “Nathan Burak and Bobby Telford coached me every match and gave me different tips along the way. We just wanted to stay focused and look to make improvements after every match. Constantly trying to get better.”
Young’s success is eerily similar to another Pennsylvania product on the team, as redshirt freshman Michael Kemerer was fifth a season ago at the Midlands competing at 149 pounds. Fast forward one year and Kemerer is a starter at 157 pounds for the Hawkeyes and currently ranked #2 in the nation. Like Kemerer, Young grew up training at the Young Guns Wrestling Club and he has been able to witness first hand the sort of improvements Kemerer has made since being in the Iowa room.
“Mikey has definitely been able to jump levels this year. He’s been working hard in the room and trying to iron out the things that he believes he needs to work on and it’s been very beneficial to him. I think he’s really starting to wrestle to his advantages and it’s going to help him tremendously.”
For now the redshirt will stay on, but that doesn’t mean that Young isn’t aware that he could be one match away from getting the call from Brands.
“I’m most likely redshirting, but still need to train to win an NCAA title because anything can happen. I’m just looking to get better and stronger everyday and continue to make progress and we’ll see where I end up.”