Lee, Iowa men’s wrestling brace for clash with No. 5 North Carolina State

The Hawkeyes will take on the Wolfpack in the Journeymen Wrestling Collegiate Duals Tuesday at 5 p.m.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa’s No. 1 ranked 125-pound Spencer Lee walks off the mat following a match during the first day of the National Collegiate Duals at Raider Arena at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, FL on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Cassioppi won via injury default. The Hawkeyes defeated Central Michigan 44-0 and Lehigh 28-7.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Iowa men’s wrestling has defeated all five of the opposing teams it’s faced this year by double digits. The Hawkeyes’ slimmest margin of victory in 2021-22 is 11. Iowa beat Iowa State, 22-11, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames Dec. 5.

The Hawkeyes will face their one of stiffest tests of the season Tuesday evening on the campus of Northwest Florida State College. Iowa will take on No. 5 North Carolina State in the Journeymen Wrestling Collegiate Duals’ red pool championship.

The Wolfpack’s starting lineup features eight ranked wrestlers — four of which are rated in the top five of their respective weight classes.

“We gotta be ready to go,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said Monday. “[North Carolina State is] probably a tougher test. We won some tough matches and we lost some tough matches [Monday] . . .  We gotta learn from it. We gotta move on because we’ve got a dual meet tomorrow.”

The Hawkeyes beat the Central Michigan Chippewas and Lehigh Mountain Hawks by scores of 44-0 and 28-7 in the first round of the Journeymen Wrestling Collegiate Duals to advance to the red pool championship.

The 10 wrestlers Iowa will put on the mat against North Carolina State are still unknown. 

All 10 wrestlers that were in Iowa’s 2020-21 starting lineup returned to the University of Iowa for the 2021-22 season. Through five duals in 2021-22, Brands has yet to put his national-championship-winning lineup from a year ago on the mat.

Iowa’s lineup could feature 10 ranked wrestlers on Tuesday, should Brands opt to wrestle the lineup that won him a national championship a year ago.

Among the Hawkeyes’ 2020-21 starters that have missed extended time 2021-22 are 125-pound senior Spencer Lee and 174-pound All-American Michael Kemerer.

Lee missed the Hawkeyes’ first three duals of the year. But the reigning national champion made his 2021-22 season debut Monday in the Journeymen Wrestling Collegiate Duals.

Lee took down Central Michigan’s Brock Bergelin by way of 17-0 technical fall. He then earned an 8-0 major decision over Lehigh’s Jaret Lane. Lane is the 11th-best 125-pound wrestler in the nation, per Intermat.

If Lee takes the mat for the red pool championship against the Wolfpack Tuesday, he’ll likely face No. 5 Jakob Camacho.

Kemerer has missed all five of Iowa’s duals this season. Junior Nelson Brands has wrestled in his place all year long and gone 5-0.

Kemerer did travel to Raider Arena in Florida with the Hawkeyes. He sat on the bench in street clothes for both of Iowa’s duals Monday.

Kemerer was not listed in Iowa’s probable lineup ahead of the Journeymen Wrestling Collegiate Duals. His status for Tuesday’s red pool championship has not been disclosed.

Should Kemerer wrestle Tuesday, he’d probably face No. 5 Hayden Hidlay.

In a post-dual meeting with reporters Monday, Tom Brands said he’s not sure what his lineup will look like against the Wolfpack on Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of work to do,” Tom Brands said. “It’s December. We have a weigh-in tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. We have matches at 5 p.m. — 10 matches, individual matches, one dual meet.”

Action between Iowa and North Carolina State will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday and stream live at rokfin.com.

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