The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s wrestler Victor Voinovich III transfers from one powerhouse program to another

The 149-pounder and 2023 NCAA Tournament qualifier transferred from Oklahoma State over the summer.
Matt Sindt
Iowa’s No. 10 149-pound Max Murin wrestles Oklahoma State’s No. 18 Victor Voinovich during a wrestling dual between No. 2 Iowa and No. 6 Oklahoma State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday Feb. 19, 2023. Murin won by decision, 4-3. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cowboys, 28-7.

From one powerhouse program to another, Victor Voinovich III transferred from Oklahoma State wrestling to Iowa head coach Tom Brands and the Hawkeyes over the summer. The second-year 149-pounder adds NCAA Tournament experience to a roster with six past All-Americans.

“It’s an opportunity to wrestle for one of the most historic programs in wrestling history,” Voinovich III said at media day on Oct. 26. “I’m excited for the opportunity, and I’m going to go out there and do everything I can to represent not just this team but myself and go out there and put it on a show.”

Hailing from Brecksville, Ohio, Voinovich went 148-16 throughout his prep career and won two state titles. The 5-foot-6 grappler finished second at the Junior Men’s Freestyle National Championships in 2019.

He redshirted his first season with the Cowboys and went 16-1 while competing unattached. He was the youngest in Oklahoma State’s lineup during the 2022-23 season, finishing sixth at the Big 12 Championships and advancing to the third consolation round of the NCAA Tournament.  During his nationals run, he earned the highest-ranked win of his career against No. 9 Jaden Abas of Stanford in sudden victory.

On May 8, Voinovich announced on Instagram he was transferring to Iowa. Brands said he recruited Voinovich in high school, along with North Dakota State transfers Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo, who wrestle at 157 and 165 pounds, respectively.

Voinovich’s recruitment occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, so he said he never got the chance to visit Iowa City. He received over a dozen scholarship offers and strongly considered Iowa as well as Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Cornell, North Carolina State, Iowa State, and Penn State.

“When you’re looking at your roster and maybe what’s thrown at you and how you’re dealing with certain things, certainly the new portal rules, we had to utilize them,” Brands said on Oct. 26. “We looked at these guys. We know where they come from. We know where their strengths were as high school wrestlers. They were on our watch list.”

Despite never wrestling in a Hawkeye singlet, Voinovich has already made his Carver-Hawkeye Arena debut.

In last season’s dual meet between the Cowboys and Hawkeyes, Voinovich wrestled sixth-year Max Murin, narrowly falling, 4-3.

Now, he seems to be the leading candidate to replace Murin in Iowa’s starting lineup.

The transfer, ranked 12th at 149 pounds by Intermat, started in Iowa’s season-opener against Cal Baptist. He squeezed past unranked Dayne Morton, 2-0, to help the Hawkeyes to a dominant 40-0 victory over the Lancers.

Voinovich will likely return to the mat in Carver-Hawkeye when Iowa faces Oregon State in its home opener on Nov. 19.

Iowa Athletics announced on Nov. 3 that Hawkeye men’s wrestling season tickets sold out for the third consecutive year. Iowa has led the nation in attendance in every season since 2006-07.

“I’m excited to be in Carver and be around the fans,” he said.

While Voinovich said he hasn’t been in Iowa City quite long enough to compare it to his time at Oklahoma State, he is pleased with the transition so far. He has enjoyed bonding with his teammates and doing individual work with both Tom and Terry Brands.

As the season progresses, one of Voinovich’s main goals is to put more points on the board.

“I’m surrounded by a different environment that I feel like is more suited to where I wanted to be. It’s been a good change,” Voinovich said. “Everyone’s just coming in ready to work, and everyone on the team wants to win. So, it’s really nice to be surrounded by people that are like-minded.”

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About the Contributor
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.