Warner looks to continue hot streak against Oklahoma State

Jacob Warner has been on a roll as of late, and it’s coming at a great time.

Iowa+Wrestler+%235+Jacob+Warner+grapples+with+Maryland+Wrestler+Niko+Cappello+in+the+197lb+weight+class+during+a+wrestling+dual+meet+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+8%2C+2019.+Warner+won+via+tech+fall+24-9+and+the+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Terrapins+48-0.+
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Warner looks to continue hot streak against Oklahoma State

Iowa Wrestler #5 Jacob Warner grapples with Maryland Wrestler Niko Cappello in the 197lb weight class during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Warner won via tech fall 24-9 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

Iowa Wrestler #5 Jacob Warner grapples with Maryland Wrestler Niko Cappello in the 197lb weight class during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Warner won via tech fall 24-9 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

David Harmantas

Iowa Wrestler #5 Jacob Warner grapples with Maryland Wrestler Niko Cappello in the 197lb weight class during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Warner won via tech fall 24-9 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa Wrestler #5 Jacob Warner grapples with Maryland Wrestler Niko Cappello in the 197lb weight class during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Warner won via tech fall 24-9 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Jacob Warner started his Hawkeye wrestling career with a bang in a drama-filled dual win over Iowa State on Dec. 1, and he hasn’t slowed down since. Except for one weekend, that is.

At the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30, Warner lost two matches en route to fifth place — one by a surprising 19-3 tech fall against South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan and another 5-3 decision to then-No. 6 Rocco Caywood of Army.

Despite the defeats — his only two of the season — Warner has been on a roll since, winning his last eight dual matches, scoring bonus points in his past three, including a 24-9 tech fall over Maryland’s Niko Cappello in Iowa’s 48-0 bludgeoning of the Terrapins.

“Midlands happened, it’s whatever — it’s just a tournament,” Warner said. “It’s one of three tournaments, and it’s not as important as Big Tens and nationals. It’s good that it happened. I learned a lot.”

Warner said he learned he can’t roll on bottom and needs to score on his feet in the situations he faced.

But even before suffering the two losses at Midlands, Warner impressed observers. He was a Junior World Team member at 92 kilograms at the World Championships in Trvava, Slovakia, which forced him to miss Iowa’s first four duals.

RELATED: Hawkeye wrestling readies for lightweight battle at Oklahoma State

In his Black and Gold début in Carver-Hawkeye, he lived up to the hype.

Warner toppled three-time All-American Willie Miklus with a marvelous last-second comeback. Warner entered the second period up 3-1, but a Miklus escape and takedown gave the Cyclone a 4-3 advantage. With about five seconds to go, Warner scored a reversal to seal his first win as a Hawkeye over a top-5 opponent.

 

David Harmantas
Iowa Wrestler #5 Jacob Warner grapples with Maryland Wrestler Niko Cappello in the 197lb weight class during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Warner won via tech fall 24-9 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

Now, he’s found his groove even more.

“I think it was in practice big; I was having all right practices in December, but I wasn’t able to string them up when I had five, six, seven, eight good practices,” Warner said. “I’d have one, two here and there. Now, I’ve been able to string them along. I’ve had a few great weeks now in the practice room, and it’s showing on the mat, I think. I’m really happy with how I’m progressing.”

For some, Warner’s performances in recent weeks might seem like it came out of nowhere, but that’s not entirely the case.

“Quiet is a good word; the thing is, he’s not quiet in his approach,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “He had a unique schedule with Junior World Championships, then we gave him some time off, then he came back, then he got nicked up, then he kind of kept nicking the nick, and it slowed him down a little bit. But he’s a tough customer.”

Now, Warner and the Hawkeyes have a great opportunity to prepare for the championship season, as they head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to take on No. 2 Oklahoma State for their regular-season finale before Big Tens and NCAAs.

Warner, now ranked No. 4 at 197 pounds, is set to take on No. 6 Preston Weigel in what could be the wildest atmosphere Iowa has competed in all season on the road.

“There are a lot of big ranked matchups, and a lot of great matches are going to happen this weekend,” 125-pounder Spencer Lee said. “It’s a historic rivalry, and we always have to be ready to go for Oklahoma State.”

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