Also Previewed: 125 – 133
|RFR||Carter Happel||Stephen Alvarez|
|SO||Vince Turk||Danny Murphy||Aaron Meyer|
For the third straight year Tom Brands will need to fill the 141 pound starting role in his lineup and to do that he will look for one of two underclassmen to step up and take the starting role. In primary contention for the spot will be sophomore Vince Turk against redshirt freshman Carter Happel with sophomores Danny Murphy and Aaron Meyer also in the mix.
As a true freshman Turk built a lot of buzz when he earned a 10-8 victory over South Dakota State’s Seth Gross at the Harold Nichols Open. In the following week he picked up his first tournament title by winning the Joe Parisi Open and he would close the season with Duhawk Open title downing Wisconsin’s Eli Stickley (who is now the Badgers current starter at 133) by major decision, 13-4. With the hype-train in full gear, Turk entered his redshirt freshman year in the running for the 141 spot, but before his season ever truly got off the ground he medically forfeited before taking the mat in his second match. Later we would learn that Turk would miss the season, which prevented Hawkeye fans getting a chance to see what they truly had.
Meanwhile, Happel was getting his career going putting together a 22-3 record during his redshirt season. His strongest performance came at the UNI Open where he took third, picking up a solid victory against then Missouri starter Zach Synon, 5-2. His only loss was to eventual All-American Tommy Thorn. Happel would go on to finish the season with tournament titles at both the Pat Flanagan Open and the Missouri Valley College Open picking up wins over fellow teammates Paul Glynn and Brock Rathbun.
Now that we know Tom Brands is planning on determining his lineup via wrestle offs and his subsequent comments that he plans to stick with that starter, it should clear any doubt who will be the guy will be for the first couple duals. A break through performance at an open tournament by either wrestler in the backup role could then muddy the waters as to who Brands will plan on starting, but for now the winner of the wrestle off is the starter.
|149||Starter||He’ll probably redshirt||Backup|
|FR||Zach Amear – Redshirt|
|SO||Jeren Glosser||Keegan Shaw|
Given the amount of production we’ve seen out of Brandon Sorensen over the last three years it’s strange to think that in one point in time he too was in a lineup battle for the starting spot. That won’t be the case in 2017-18, even if his backup is a potential All-American himself. The Hawkeyes amassed the #1 overall recruiting class in 2017, but that didn’t factor in the addition of Pat Lugo, who made the move from Edinboro to Iowa for the remaining three seasons of his career.
Since his emergence as one of the top wrestlers in his weight-class, Sorensen has taken a total of seven losses over the past two seasons and four of those were to Penn State’s Zain Retherford, who is likely the preseason favorite to win the Hodge Trophy. His other losses were to Ohio State’s Micah Jordan, Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica, and his new teammate Lugo. This summer Sorensen claimed a University Nationals title in freestyle and in all likelihood is one of (if not the) top threat to beating Retherford. While still considered a long shot, Sorensen did takedown the two-time NCAA champion twice before falling in the tiebreaker overtime period when the two met during the dual season. Sorensen has definitely struggled with Retherford, but he is also one of the only wrestlers in the country that has managed to score off his own offense against Retherford, which gives him a shot.
Backing Sorensen up will be Lugo, who figures to be the man that takes over at this weight next year. After wrestling as a true freshman and sophomore for Edinboro, Lugo’s plan is to redshirt in 2017-18 which will mean the best Hawkeye fans can hope for is to catch him at wrestle offs, college opens, and the Midlands.
Furthering the depth at this weight are sophomores Jeren Glosser and Keegan Shaw. Two years into his career Glosser has lost a total of seven matches (in 36 matches), with four of those coming to teammates Sorensen or Michael Kemerer. Shaw missed all of his redshirt season, and was 11-6 in his first full season.
Keep your eye on redshirt Zach Axmear who enters Iowa an under the radar type of recruit projecting at 149/157. Its hard to imagine a better situation for Amxear to enter than a room that has two of 2017 top 10 wrestlers at 149 to learn from.