FULL SERIES: CYCLONE PREVIEWS
|FR||Kaden Sauer – Redshirt|
Some lineup shifting will be occurring at the final two weights for the Cyclones, as head coach Kevin Dresser announced in his September newsletter that junior Marcus Harrington will be making the move to heavyweight this coming season, opening the door for a new face at 197 pounds.
And the new face is redshirt freshman Sammy Colbray, who was among the top additions to former head coach Kevin Jackson’s 2016 recruiting class. Last year Colbray put his talent on full display at the team’s wrestle offs when he defeated Harrington by fall. The biggest surprise with Colbray came when the team opened the season with a road trip to North Dakota State and South Dakota State. It wasn’t a surprise to see Colbray travel with the team after winning his wrestle off, but Colbray then took the mat against NDSU at heavyweight where he lost by fall. Colbray would compete in two more events – the Harold Nichols and Holiday Inn open tournaments – before missing the rest of the year with an injury.
If there is going to be an upside to Colbray missing most of the 2016-17 season, the optimism can be found that despite having his redshirt pulled, Colbray still qualified for a medical redshirt. Now back for his redshirt freshman season, Colbray will look to put to use the talent that made him such a highly regarded recruit out of Hermiston, Oregon. A five-time national champion at Fargo, there is no denying that Colbray knows how to win. As a whole 197 is viewed as a weak weight this season, which is an excellent opportunity for a young wrestler like Colbray to make a name for himself early.
Depth will be something to monitor at this weight, but for now the Cyclones have one wrestler able to serve as a backup, and another that will be able to provide insurance down the road. Sophomore Joe Teague bumped up to 197 last season after Colbray suffered his injury and it was clear that Harrington, who was dealing with an injury as well, wouldn’t be available for the first month. All told Teague made three starts, going 1-2 against larger competition, but with another season of weight room work, Teague is likely more acclimated to the bigger weight.
Dowling Catholic standout Kaden Sauer should redshirt this coming season, but his strong finish to his senior season led to Dresser flipping the state finalist on his commitment to Wisconsin-La Crosse to the Cyclones.
If Dresser’s predecessor was known for anything during his tenure it was producing quality upper-weights. Looking through the roster it’s apparent that Jackson had great success in recruiting nationally accomplished big men, and at heavyweight Dresser will have two options, both who were national champions as high school seniors.
The only returning NCAA qualifier from the 2017 postseason, Marcus Harrington makes the move to heavyweight in what should result in an interesting lineup battle for the starting spot. Prior to this season Quean Smith had manned this weight for three out of the last four seasons (Tyler Swoope was the Cyclones postseason starter during Smith’s sophomore year), but never qualified the weight for nationals. Harrington’s presence, along with redshirt freshman Gannon Gremmel, give the Cyclones a legitimate wrestler at this weight for the first time in years.
While his 9-13 record doesn’t overwhelm you the important thing to know about Harrington is that when the lights were on at the Big 12 championships, he showed up winning four key victories to punch his ticket to his first ever NCAA championships. Harrington got a late start to last season, with an injury holding him out the first month of competition. Looking through the results one could make the argument that the delayed start played a part in Harrington’s performance as he appears to have gotten stronger as the season progressed. Now back to full health, and considering Dresser has already publicly announced Harrington’s official move to heavyweight, we should see a much stronger wrestler on the mat in 2017-18.
Making it interesting at this weight will be Gremmel, who despite not wrestling a match during his redshirt season, is still coming in with some high expectations. As a high school wrestler Gremmel won a Cadet national title as a sophomore, and a Junior national title as a senior cementing himself as one of his class’s top heavyweights. Going back to high school he had a couple battles with current UNI wrestler Carter Isley, who was considered to be another top heavyweight nationally in that same class, including a 3-2 victory at the Senior All-Star Dual.