Stanford transfer Real Woods makes Hawkeye debut in Iowa men’s wrestling’s 18-15 win over Iowa State

After missing the first four duals of the season because of an injury, second-ranked Woods defeated 10th-ranked Casey Swiderski via 4-2 decision.

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Jerod Ringwald

Iowa State’s No. 7 Casey Swiderski pulls down Iowa’s No. 3 141-pound Real Woods during a wrestling meet between No. 2 Iowa and No. 7 Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. Woods defeated Swiderski by decision, 4-2. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones, 18-15.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter


In the Iowa men’s wrestling team’s 18-15 win over Iowa State on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, prized Stanford transfer Real Woods made his Hawkeye debut.

The 141-pounder from Albuquerque, New Mexico, beat Cyclone freshman and InterMat 10th-ranked Casey Swiderski via 4-2 decision. Even though Woods did not earn a takedown during the match, his riding time advantage and multiple escape points were enough to grind out a victory. 

“As a competitor, I always feel like I can do better,” Woods said in a post-dual press conference. “I believe that I handled that match pretty well. You can see more out of me in the future. But first match, no excuses, I’m content with it.” 

Woods, who is ranked No. 2 on InterMat, was a two-time All American and two-time Pac-12 Champion with the Cardinal. After announcing his move to Iowa City in April, Woods said he was looking forward to being a spark for the Hawkeye program. 

“I bring a lot of energy,” Woods said. “I bring excitement. I’m just really excited to put on a show. I’ve never experienced something like Iowa wrestling, in terms of, like, the culture. So, this is really exciting for me.”

Brought in to replace the graduating four-time All American Jaydin Eierman, Woods had not wrestled since March because of an unspecified injury. Fellow senior Drew Bennett had started the Hawkeyes’ first four duals. 

“[Head coach Tom] Brands just got through saying, ‘You’ve got to absorb the energy,’ Woods said. “That’s exactly what I did, it was fun. Made it really fun. Got my emotions up.” 

Emotion did flare at the end of the third period, when Woods and Swiderski came face-to-face and exchanged words before referees got between the two. 

 

“[Swiderski] kind of just threw a fit afterwards, continued to try to wrestle dirty after the period,” Woods said. “Emotions got real aggressive, he was trying to say some things that were real personal. So then I reacted … thank goodness the refs were there to hold me back and keep me calm.”

After the altercation, Woods did a victory lap around the mat, pumping his arms up and down to motivate a raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

“Just thinking about the energy in the arena, just imagining it in my head beforehand,” Woods said. “You hear stories and everything, but there’s nothing like really experiencing it. I love those fans, they gave me energy, and I just want to give that energy back.”

Woods has two years left of eligibility at Iowa. With the two-time All-American potentially back as a mainstay in the Hawkeye lineup, Iowa will pose a steep challenge at the 141-pound slot. 

“When you’re young and you’re a freshman and you wrestle a savvy guy who is as accomplished as Real Woods, you got to get away,” Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser said.

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