Kemerer Out for the Season
With an action packed week of wrestling to cover Ben and Matt jump right in. Depending on which rankings you follow, there were between 13-16 of the ranked teams in the country at The Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. With such a high concentration of talent at one tournament there was a lot to discuss. Despite this, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational was overshadowed by another event. The Iowa Vs Iowa State Dual also took place this past weekend hosted at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Prior to the dual against Iowa State, Iowa wrestled against Purdue with five starters missing from their lineup. After the Purdue match Iowa’s head coach, Tom Brands, stated “this will be the lineup you are going to see for awhile”. Thursday, it was announced Michael Kemerer is undergoing season ending knee surgery, leaving him out for the season. This is huge news as Kemerer is a major part of the Iowa lineup. With Kemerer gone, the Hawkeyes could be removed from contention status.
Wrestling With Something to Prove
Moving on to the Iowa vs Iowa State dual, we see Iowa State come to Carver Hawkeye Arena with something to prove. Although Iowa won the dual by one point, across the Iowa State lineup, every weight came to wrestle. All weight-classes on both sides wrestled hard and wrestled to win. Despite Brands’ statement last week of fielding the same lineup, Iowa produced their entire lineup except Kemerer. Even with their best possible lineup Iowa struggled against a vastly improved Iowa State. Iowa has a long history of driving hard late in matches. They come from behind and typically genuinely outwork their competition. But last week was a different story. Iowa State beat Iowa at their own game. Iowa State ended up winning multiple matches in the third period by simply wrestling harder than their competition.
Health of Iowa
Discussion focuses upon the health of Iowa, who seems perpetually prone to injury throughout this season and last. Ben and Matt believe Iowa is over trained and lacks discipline in the practice room. The practice room needs to be void of ego. Otherwise wrestlers are going to open themselves up to injury, you have to save that 100% effort for real matches. Come tournament time it makes it much harder to perform at peak when you are fatigued and nursing injuries. You need to be completely confident in yourself when you step on the mat.
Despite the events of last week, Iowa still hung in for the win. They have a solid lineup with everyone having returned. Ben and Matt aren’t ready to write them off for the year and conversation shifts to the transfers received during the off season. Gaining Austin Desanto and Pat Lugo looked to be a major gain for the Hawkeyes. Both wrestlers were on the bubble at smaller programs before transferring. Going into the season, both looked to be assured All-Americans. Now it would be surprising to see both or either reach that mark after their performance in the first month of the season.
Iowa’s Upcoming Matches
Next, Ben and Matt discuss Iowa’s upcoming matches. In a week Iowa squares off against 0-3 Lehigh University who had a rough week losing to Princeton for the first time since 1968 and No. 1 ranked Penn State. They appeared to have multiple gaps in their lineup with many starters missing due to injury. Matt with a little insider information says Lehigh is being slightly over cautious with long term thoughts in mind.
Next podcast Ben and Matt look forward to discussing The Cliff Keen Las Vegas invitational in its entirety. With so much to discuss it deserves an entire episode itself and Ben and Matt can’t wait to cover it all.
Where to find the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast
The RUDIS Wrestling Podcast is hosted Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan. Ben Askren, World Champion and Olympic wrestler, joins RUDIS from the T-Row & Funky Show in an official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from a D1 college coaching background with family roots grounded in Ohio wrestling with a collective 10 state titles on the shelf.