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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 Gabe Arnold earns upset win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena debut

The true freshman’s family was in attendance, and Arnold honored his hometown in Georgia during his match.
Iowa%E2%80%99s+174-pound+Gabe+Arnold+wrestles+Oregon+State%E2%80%99s+No.+11+Travis+Wittlake+during+a+men%E2%80%99s+wrestling+dual+between+No.+3+Iowa+and+No.+16+Oregon+State+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Sunday%2C+Nov.+19%2C+2023.+
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa’s 174-pound Gabe Arnold wrestles Oregon State’s No. 11 Travis Wittlake during a men’s wrestling dual between No. 3 Iowa and No. 16 Oregon State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

Iowa men’s wrestler Gabe Arnold made his Carver-Hawkeye Arena debut in No. 3 Iowa’s 25-11 win over No. 16 Oregon State on Sunday.

The unranked true freshman pulled off a 4-2 upset victory against No. 11 Travis Wittlake in the 174-pound bout.

Arnold started the second period in the bottom position, escaped, and then scored a takedown, igniting the Hawkeye faithful crowd. 

“I knew he was a rolly guy. I knew he wanted to try to get me off his legs as much as possible, but [I] put him in the ground.” Arnold said after the dual meet.

Arnold said he wanted to put some more points up on the scoreboard, but he loved “putting on a show” for the fans and embraced his role as a performer. 

“I’ve wrestled in big crowds before, but it’s different when you got 1000 people cheering for you,” he said. ”It was just an awesome experience. It’s great to perform the way I did.”

After the win, Arnold came off the mat and hugged his father, Phil. 

“We’ve been doing this journey since fourth-grade year,” Arnold said.  “It’s been surreal how far I’ve come.”

Arnold’s mother and grandmother were also in attendance for his Iowa debut. His grandmother traveled from Missouri to watch him compete.

“She’s been around wrestling since my dad started,” Arnold said about his grandmother. “She’s awesome. Jennifer Arnold, if you don’t know her now, you’re probably going to hear her in the stands because she’ll be screaming for me.”

During the match, Arnold honored his home roots of Albany, Georgia, by wearing shoes with 229 on them — his hometown’s area code. 

“I come from humble beginnings, and it’s cool to be where I’m at now and perform the way I am performing,” he said. “I plan to just continuously do that and make the hometown crowd proud.”

Arnold transferred to Iowa City City High last year to finish his prep career and knows what Iowa wrestling means to the town and the program’s history. 

“You got a lot of kids who are in the stands now, and they’ve been Hawkeye fans since this big,” he said while lowering his hand toward the ground. “It crazy just to be a part of that culture, part of that history.”

Arnold thanked his teammates who have helped him grow into the wrestler and human he is and singled out fellow 174-pounder Nelson Brands for helping him with his development.  Arnold said Brands is a great partner, and that it’s helpful to have an All-American in the room to learn from. 

Brands is currently suspended, as he is involved in the NCAA’s sports gambling investigation.

“It’s cool to have those younger guys because, for me, I’m a big energy person,” 133-pounder Brody Teske said. “Even just sitting in the back, listening to Gabe [Arnold]  giving his talk, you can feel that energy. It’s real. Going into practice every day, it keeps your focus right.”

Arnold said associate head coach Terry Brands told him before Sunday’s match to “put the world on notice.”

“I kind of like that,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “Put them on notice, that’s right, and score a lot of points. Convert when you get an opportunity, and [Arnold] converted when he had an opportunity.”

Arnold is unsure what his role with the team will be going forward, but he’s ready to do anything the coaching staff needs. He has dreams of being a national champion and doing big things in the sport. He trusts Tom and Terry Brands to make the best decision for his long-term development. 

“I’m here at 174 pounds; I’m not backing down from anything,” Arnold said. “I’m ready for it all.”

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
(he/him/his)
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
(he/him/his)
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.