Wrestling fans return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Iowa downs Princeton, 32-12

Roughly 9,000 spectators watched the Hawkeyes pick up a season-opening win at Carver Friday night.


Grace Smith

Iowa’s 141-pound Haydin Eierman grapples with Princeton’s Jacob Mann during a season opener dual wrestling meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 21 Princeton at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 18, 2021. Eierman won by major decision 14-5. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers with a team score of 32-12.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After a season full of meets in empty, quiet arenas in 2020 because of COVID-19, Iowa wrestlers finally got their opportunity to compete in front of spectators at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Friday night.

Over 9,000 fans watched the top-ranked Hawkeyes’ 32-12 season-opening victory over the No. 21 Princeton Tigers, in person.

Hawkeye 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman, who has wrestled on the biggest stages in both the U.S and around the world, said the Hawkeye faithful gave him a feeling he hasn’t had for a while.

Last season was Eierman’s first at Iowa. So, he’s never competed in front of fans at Carver.

“I kinda got butterflies for the first time in a long time,” said Eierman, a Missouri transfer. “And that doesn’t really happen that much. It’s just awesome to feel the crowd behind me ready to go to war with me.

“You can imagine, you can dream about it, Eierman added. “But until you do it … You won’t understand until you’re out there running out of that tunnel in front of that crowd.”

Eierman defeated Princeton’s Jacob Mann via major decision, 15-7, in the third match of the night. Eierman is currently ranked second nationally at 141-pounds.

After Eierman’s match, Hawkeye sophomore 149-pounder Cobe Siebrecht defeated Josh Breeding via technical fall in his first-ever collegiate dual start.

“That was insane,” Siebrecht said post-match. “You know, I’ve been thinking about it all week. I’ve just been sitting in my bed. I was a little more nervous wrestling in front of 14,000 people, I haven’t done that before. It was electric. It was insane. I could hear them. Normally, I can’t hear a crowd when I’m wrestling. But this crowd I could hear, which was awesome.”

Eierman and Siebrecht combined to score eight takedowns in their two matches. Siebrecht also racked up three four-point near-falls.

According to Iowa Athletics, the Hawkeye men’s wrestling program sold a record number of season tickets this year. The Hawkeyes put out a press release two weeks before their 2021-22 campaign began, announcing that season tickets were sold out.

Iowa men’s wrestling has led the nation in attendance every year since 2006-07, per Iowa Athletics. The 2019-20 Iowa men’s wrestling team set an NCAA attendance record, averaging 12,568 fans per dual.

Brands said he could feel the fans’ energy Friday night, noting that the Hawkeye faithful yearned to watch their favorite wrestlers in person.

“I think they were hungry for Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” head coach Tom Brands said. “… Our fans want to see great performances, and our guys want to give great performances. So, it was great.”

Iowa’s next match is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. The Hawkeyes will welcome Oregon State to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa hasn’t lost a home dual since Jan. 27, 2018. The Hawkeyes have won their last 19 homes duals.

Facebook Comments