Iowa Wrestling once again had a fantastic 2022-2023 season, finishing second at the NCAA Tournament last March. In doing so the Hawkeyes crowned 6 All-Americans and once again had a wrestler reach the finals. Iowa finished the season with an impressive 15-1 record.

Graduation has left a few spots in the line-up with three of the six All-Americans, running out of eligibility. At the start of the 2023-2024 season, Iowa will look to replace 3X NCAA Champion Spencer Lee at 125 lbs. All-American Max Murin at 149 lbs, and 4X All-American Jacob Warner at 197. These three leave some big shoes to fill, but Iowa has some absolute studs stepping into the line-up to replace them.

Luckily for the Hawkeyes, they were one of three teams that really cleaned up from the transfer portal this summer! During the off season Iowa landed Joey Cruz, Victor Voinovich, Michael Caliendo,  and Jared Franek, These additions make a tough Iowa team even tougher.

The following is a weight by weight breakdown, of what I expect the lineup to look like at the start of next season.

125 Drake Ayala, Drake will look to pick up where Spencer left off. I expect him to have a fantastic season, Drake was 13-1 last season with his only loss coming to Spencer Lee. Drake is an excellent wrestler and has the potential to climb very high on the podium.

Drake will be challenged for the starting spot by Oklahoma transfer Joey Cruz. Cruz is a freshman with four years of eligibility remaining. Cruz went 2-2 as a red-shirt before sustaining an ankle injury.

133 Brody Teske, Brody finished the 2022-2023 season with a 10-6 record. He qualified for the NCAA tournament for the third straight time going 1-2 at the tournament. Brody missed a lot of the season battling injuries, with a full season under his belt, this could be the year he finally reaches the podium.

Cullan Schriever, brings in a career record of 29-12. He has served the Hawkeyes the last few seasons in the back-up position, and will again start the season in that same role. The potential is there, for Cullan to be the man, he has the skills and desire to go far, and I’m sure he is looking to make his mark in the sport. However, he will have to take that spot from a very  game Brody Teske.

141 Real Woods, Real is back for his senior season! Already a 3X All-American, Real is hoping to improve on his runner-up finish from a year ago. Real finished the season with a 20-1 record, with 12 bonus point victories. He is a team leader and an absolute hammer from the top position. I expect another great year out of Real Woods and another run to the NCAA finals.

149 We have a few new faces at 149 that will contend for the starting spot. While both are new to the starting line-up, they both have the potential to land vary high on the podium next March.

Victor Voinovich spent last season at Oklahoma State and was the lone freshman in the lineup. Victor has a career record of 33-14 and went 2-2 at the NCAA tournament last season. He has a quality win over  former all-american Jaden Abas. With numerous graduations at 149 last season, Victor has a very good chance to find himself on the podium next March.

As good as Victor is, he has a very stiff test ahead of him, just to crack the starting line-up. Caleb Rathjen, is a force to be reckoned with. His aggressive in your face style breaks opponents. Caleb showed how good he is at the inaugural Soldiers Salute, by making the finals after defeating a very tough Anthony Echmendia 4-3 in the semifinals.  Later in the season he bumped up a weight class to battle  #3 ranked Kendall Coleman of Purdue. Caleb lost a tough 3-2 decision, but proved he could compete with the divisions elite.

157 Cobe Siebrecht, Cobe was a pleasant surprise last season! When the year started the weight class was a complete unknown, however Cobe rose to the occasion week after week defying the odds and working his way up the rankings! Not only did he win big matches and hang tough in the ones he lost, but more often than not his matches were some of the most exciting of the day. Unfortunately he suffered some sort of elbow injury late in the season and struggled at BIGS and the NCAA tournament. If he is able to improve as much as he did last year in the this post season, the sky is the limit for this young man.

Jared Franek, Jared is a huge get for the Hawkeyes, and will likely enter the season ranked #1 or #2 in the country depending on which weight Levi Haines winds up at.  With a career record of 102-22, Franek has but one goal left in college, and that is to win an NCAA title.

165 Patrick Kennedy, had a fantastic season, and even though he didn’t reach the podium at the NCAA Tournament he still completed a solid year. 165 was one of the deepest weight classes I had ever seen with three returning NCAA Champions and one NCAA Runner-Up. Despite all that Kennedy met all challenges head on and beat some of the best in the division, earning a 21-5 record on the year and a second place finish at the Big 10 tournament. If he continues to improve, I’m sure he will find a spot on the podium next March.

Incoming transfer Michael Caliendo, from North Dakota State will also contend for the starting spot for the Hawkeyes. Caliendo is a returning all-american and a serious addition to the team. As of now its unsure which of these two will start for the team as they are both blue chip recruits capable of landing very high on the podium in March. Caliendo finished 29-5 last season and was 7th at the NCAA meet. He has a quality win over former NCAA Champion Shane Griffith.

174 Nelson Brands, Nelson had an outstanding 2023 season, ending the year with a 15-8 record after going 5-2 at the NCAA tournament! Nelson will be looking to improve on his 5th place at the national tournament, and he should start the season ranked very high. Its Nelson’s senior season and he will be looking to go out with a bang. The sky is the limit as to how far he could climb this season.

Incoming freshman Gabe Arnold, will be joining the team next season. The hype behind this kid is sky high, and he looks poised to make an immediate impact for the team. I expect him to red-shirt this season, but we will likely see him compete in several duals throughout the season. It will be exciting to see what he has to offer.

184 Abe Assad, Abe is back for another year and will be looking to improve on last season which saw him go 19-6 on the season and again qualify for the NCAA tournament. Assad has battled some injuries along the way, it would be great to see him healthy and competing to his fullest potential.

197 With the graduation of 5X all-american Jacob Warner, Iowa has some big shoes to fill. Two talented wrestlers will contend for the starting spot.

Kolby Franklin, Kolby is a freshman on the team and compiled a 14-6 overall record last season while wrestling unattached. Kolby has a close 4-3 decision victory over Zach Glazier, from last years Solider Salute, so he will enter as the favorite.

Zach Glazier brings in a career record of 30-7, and has mostly competed either unattached or serving as a backup to Warner.

HWT Tony Cassioppi, already a 4X all-american, Big Tony is back for his senior season and looking to win his first National Title. With the graduation of Gable Steveson and now Mason Parris, there seems to be a path for Cassioppi to finish on top. Tony has a career record of 97-17 with 40 falls!

As you can see, this Iowa team is once again loaded top to bottom and without any glaring holes in the lineup they will be a nightmare to compete against in dual meets. With the potential for 6 to 9 all-americans, they will also be a formidable tournament team as well.