Problems arise for Hawkeye wrestling at 174

Last season, Michael Kemerer registered a record of 27-3, won Midlands, and placed fourth at the NCAA Championships at 157 pounds.

Iowa head coach Tom Brands had a plan to move him up to 174 this season, but Kemerer never had a chance to get on the mat. After the Hawkeyes announced that the All-American would not be able to return this season because of an injury, it was time to look for a permanent replacement in the lineup.

“We have some options there, we have a lot of 57-pounders,” Brands said. “We have some upper-weight guys who have certified down there. The heavier guys will take time because of the math, formulas, and NCAA rules. But the bottom line is we’re going to put the best guy on the mat at the weight class. Right now, Myles Wilson is the only guy listed there.”

Wilson has been the only wrestler to compete at 174 this season and has gone 2-3. After two wins to start off his varsity début, Wilson has yet to tally a win in Carver-Hawkeye, and he won’t get a chance this week. 

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To add to Iowa’s struggle at 174 last weekend, Wilson lost to Iowa State’s No. 21 Marcus Coleman on an injury default. Wilson held a 4-3 lead over his ranked opponent but was forced to limp off the mat.

In his weekly press conference, Brands said the Hawkeyes haven’t received good news about Wilson, and they are working with the medical team to figure out what the next course of action is. So once again, the 174 spot is up for grabs.

“We have 40 guys on our roster,” Brands said. “I actually had one of our athletes volunteer to go 74, and he was at a weight class way lower than that. That shows you and me that guys want to be out there wrestling. So we’re going to fill it with someone, and that someone will go out there to win matches in a very entertaining fashion — just like if Kemerer or Wilson was out there.”

Last year, Kaleb Young put some time in the lineup at 174, ending the season 9-7. However, this season, he has wrestled at 157 and has had success at that weight.

“Going down two weights helps him,” Brands said. “He’s naturally a 57/65. We tried to get him big to 74. I’m not sure that’s the best thing for that guy. He has a high metabolism rate. He’s not a guy that lets the grass grow under his feet.”

Young is currently 5-0 with a win over a top-15 opponent. He’s tallied 2 pins, a major decision, and 2 decisions in these wins. Because of his success at 157, it is unlikely he will find himself back at 174 this season.

Mitch Bowman may be the wrestler the Hawkeyes use after splitting time at 184 and 197, but it won’t come against Lehigh.

“[Going at 174] definitely a possibility right now,” Bowman said. “It’s not going to be this week. This week I’m focused on being ready for 84 or 97, so that’s out in the future.”

Nonetheless, Brands doesn’t seem to be worried as he said he believes there are a lot of wrestlers who have the ability to fill the spot.

“There are a lot of weight classes below 174, and there are a lot of wrestlers who want to get on the mat,” Brands said. “We have guys that want to wrestle and be that guy. That’s the one positive thing about this — we’re seeing who wants to step up.”

No matter who fills the spot, the Hawkeyes will compete against Lehigh at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and the goal doesn’t change: Earn points.

“It sucks that Kemerer is out and then Myles Wilson goes out, but we’re going to get the next best guy in there,” 197-pounder Jacob Warner said. “We’re going to have a team that’s ready to go. In the end, it doesn’t really change the fact that we still have to go out there and get points.”

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