FULL SERIES: Hawkeye Lineup
|197||Starter||Keep Your Eye On|
|FR||Jacob Warner – Redshirt||Connor Corbin – Redshirt|
|RFR||Cade Brownlee||Sam Cook|
|SO||Cash Wilcke||Steven Holloway|
Just one year ago the 197-pound weight for the Hawkeyes was an extremely thin weight that featured one true 197 pounder, Steven Holloway, who wound up wrestling heavyweight due to team injuries. That left the door open for redshirt freshman Cash Wilcke and sophomore Mitch Bowman to battle for the starting spot, but by the end of the year Iowa had their starter come within one win of All-American status at the NCAA tournament.
As we mentioned in the 174-184 preview, the presence of Pat Downey will likely cause Wilcke to stay up at 197 to give the Hawkeyes two All-American contenders. While he may end his career at 184 pounds, Wilcke was solid in his rookie season, going 19-13 and was a surprise NCAA qualifier for the Hawkeyes. His first big win of the season came at Purdue where he downed Christian Brunner 6-4, and he recorded a 5-2 victory over Michigan’s Jackson Striggow during the regular season. After making it into the NCAA tournament Wilcke picked up several more key wins incuding a 4-2 SV win against Bucknell’s Tom Sleigh and Penn’s Frank Mattice also in SV.
As for depth this weight has it in bunches. Iowa fans are already licking their chops at seeing one of their prize recruits from the #1 ranked recruiting class, Jacob Warner, take the mat. As a high school wrestler Warner won multiple age level national titles, earned a bronze medal for USA at the Cadet World Championships, and was a contender for USA’s Junior World Team spot this summer. Warner is the future at this weight for Iowa, but with Wilcke already an All-American contender there is no need to rush him into action.
Coming off an 8-7 redshirt season Cade Brownlee is moving up to 197 pounds for his first official season. He will be joined by Sam Cook, who committed to play football for the Hawkeyes out of Fort Dodge, but announced this summer he would be switching back to wrestling. Cook would have been a true freshman last season. Finally this weight also features West Des Moines – Valley’s Connor Corbin, who was a late riser in the class of 2017.
|285||Starter||Keep Your Eye On|
|FR||Aaron Costello – Redshirt|
Moving on to heavyweight while it sounds as though Sam Stoll is recovering well from his ACL injury suffered last season, it looks as though the Hawkeyes will begin the season with Steven Holloway manning the final spot in the lineup. After injuring the same knee in January, Tom Brands is taking a more measured approach on bringing his star heavyweight back to the mat.
In an interview with Takedown Wrestling, Brands stated that everyone took a much more business-like approach to Stoll’s rehab which has resulted in positive returns early on. Unlike last season, Stoll’s surgery happened in January (versus March) which should only help the timeline on when the Hawkeyes will be able to get their big man back. However, even though the surgery happened two month earlier than it did in Stoll’s freshman season, fans should be ready for a conservative timeline. With the goal to be wrestling at your best in March, rushing Stoll back for a December Big Ten dual could help the team in the short-term, but could jeopardize the end goal.
With the roster’s only other true heavyweight a true freshman, that should mean that once again Steven Holloway will be called upon to go up and serve as the interim heavyweight. In the meantime fans can be on the watch for true freshman Aaron Costello who comes in another top 100 recruit from that #1 overall class. With Stoll now missing half of his career with injuries, the development of Costello will be key for the Hawkeyes as they look to the future.