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 Gabe Arnold impresses with two ranked wins to kick off collegiate career

The true freshman has wrestled at two different weight classes and is ready to fill whatever role the coaching staff asks of him.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa’s 174-pound Gabe Arnold smiles after wrestling 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. Arnold defeated Wittlake by decision, 4-2. The Hawkeyes defeated the Beavers, 25-11.

Iowa men’s wrestler Gabe Arnold has impressed early in his Hawkeye career.

The rookie has two ranked wins over Oregon State’s then-No. 11 Travis Wittlake at 174 pounds and Iowa State’s then-No. 6 Will Feldkamp at 184 pounds.

The upset over Feldkamp, a past All-American, led to the true freshman earning Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors. Arnold also rose to No. 10 in Flowrestling’s rankings at 174.

“You know what your teammates have within them, and you know what they’re capable of,” 141-pounder Real Woods said following the Cy-Hawk dual. “To see that shine through more and more with guys like Gabe Arnold because he’s young … it’s a wonderful thing.”

Arnold welcomes the challenge and has been prepared to step up for the Hawkeyes, who were in flux after the NCAA’s updated sports gambling guidelines.

“[Iowa head coach] Tom Brands says next guy up, so I’m going to embrace that,” Arnold said. “Whatever that guy says, I’m going to embrace it 110 percent.”

Arnold said having an All-American like Nelson Brands in the room has helped his development and prepared him to potentially take on a big role during his first season.

Arnold is ready to accept whatever role the coaching staff asks of him. Associate head coach Terry Brands said Arnold is always prepared to “answer the call” when needed.

The coaching staff is unsure if Arnold will redshirt or not this season. Under new NCAA guidelines, freshmen can wrestle in five dates of competition during the student athlete’s first year of collegiate enrollment without using a season of eligibility. Arnold is 3-0 and did not compete in Iowa’s last dual meet against Penn.

“I want to be a national champ,” Arnold said after the dual against Oregon State. “So whatever that route looks like, if not this year, next year, if not next year, then the year after that … I want to do big things by the time I’m done with the sport.”

Arnold has embraced the spotlight and loves putting on a show for the fans when given the opportunity.

“You guys come to watch these meets because we’re performers,” Arnold said. “And at the end of the day, I put on a show, and I’m glad everyone enjoyed it.”

Arnold wrestled in front of his mom, dad, and grandma during the Hawkeyes’ home dual against Oregon State.

Arnold honored his hometown of Albany, Georgia, during his match against the Beavers with shoes that had “229,” the town’s area code, on them. Arnold said it helps remind him of his humble beginnings and the work he’s put in since the fourth grade to get to this point.

Arnold finished his prep career at Iowa City High last year, which helped him adapt to the state’s culture and prepare him for the atmosphere he’ll face during the season. The team and coaching staff have also been crucial in facilitating that adaptation.

“It’s hard to say, ‘Oh, this guy did the most, this guy did the most.’ It’s just been a group effort to make Gabe Arnold the absolute best human being he could possibly be,” he said.

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
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
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.