Michael Kemerer is ready to return to Iowa wrestling’s lineup

The two-time All-American spent all of last season out with injuries, but now he’s back and it makes Iowa’s lineup stronger.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s Michael Kemerer addresses the media during Iowa wrestling’s media day in Mt. Vernon on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

After sitting out all of the 2018-19 season with corrective surgeries on both his shoulder and knee, two-time All-American Michael Kemerer has returned to the mat with a goal and a new outlook on his career.

After bumping up a weight and tweaking his knee in practice with the injury persisting, Kemerer underwent season-ending ACL surgery at the end of November and later had surgery on his shoulder.

“I’ve never really missed a significant amount of time like I did last year, so it was something that was new for me,” he said. “It makes me more excited to wrestle this year than I’ve ever been before and more appreciative of it.”

Now, after finally getting back to full wrestling action in June, Kemerer is ready to go for Iowa at his normal 174-pound spot.

“People ask me who looks good, if you had to say one guy, the guy that comes to mind for me is Michael Kemerer,” head coach Tom Brands said. “He’s healthy, he’s strong. He’s a 74-pounder.”

His freshman and sophomore years, Kemerer placed third and fourth, respectively, at NCAAs in the 174-pound spot.

He has only lost six matches in his career, one in a Big Ten dual meet. Forty of his 60 total wins came with bonus points, 16 by major decision, 10 by technical fall, and 14 by pin.

It’s no doubt that losing Kemerer from the lineup effected Iowa overall, with that weight significantly missing from the group of NCAA qualifiers and All-Americans in 2019.

“You know you want to go out there, whether it’s a dual meet you’re losing or at nationals, you see we’re behind on the scoreboard, you want to be out there helping out, and you just can’t do anything about it,” Kemerer said. “You’ve got to watch someone else go out there and win your Big Ten title, win your national title, win that stuff, and that’s tough because we’re competitors, and we’re selfish. We want to win everything.”

After spending a year off the mat, working on his mentality and improving himself every day while helping coach up his teammates, he’s back and is exactly where he wants to be: in Iowa’s lineup at 174-pounds.

Not only does his return bring a spark back to Iowa’s lineup for competition but being able to spar off against his teammates during workouts is something that makes everyone better.

“I missed going with him, because he’s got a different style,” Alex Marinelli said. “I think a lot of people that watch him know that he’s not the typical Iowa style, so he’s in-and-out. If you’re not moving your feet, he’s going to pick your ankle and maybe turn you up in 30 seconds. It’s really nice to have a guy that’s different style in there.”

As Iowa comes into this season ranked No. 2 in the country and is set to face off in regular-season dual meets against Penn State, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 2020, adding Kemerer back into the lineup gives Iowa a major edge for bonus points and an anchor at 174.

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