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 Patrick Kennedy impresses after moving up to 174 this season

The NCAA qualifier at 165 pounds is ranked inside the top ten at 174 after finding success during the conference schedule.
Carly Schrum
Iowa’s No. 9 174-pound Patrick Kennedy points toward the crowd during a wrestling dual between No. 3 Iowa and Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers, 34-6. Kennedy defeated Baumann by technical fall, 19-4.

Iowa men’s wrestler Patrick Kennedy has found a new home at 174 pounds for the Hawkeyes this season after an NCAA qualification at 165 last year.

Kennedy was missing from Iowa’s lineup to start this season and didn’t see any action until the dual against Iowa State on Nov. 28, where he wrestled and won against MJ Gaitan at 174.

He couldn’t follow up that win, losing against Penn’s No. 10 Nick Incontrera, 10-2.

He responded after the loss by earning a 20-3 tech fall in the Hawkeyes’ final nonconference dual meet against Columbia’s Garrett Bilgrave on Dec. 8.

For the 2023 Soldier Salute, Kennedy moved down to a more natural weight of 165 and succeeded, making it to the final.

He met teammate and North Dakota State transfer Michael Caliendo in the 165-pound title match. Caliendo got the better of Kennedy, beating him, 7-3, and protecting his status at 165.

“I think that [Michael] Caliendo solidified himself at 165,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said coming out of the winter break. “We still have a great asset for our team, a great attitude, a great worker, and a great teammate in Patrick Kennedy.”

Brands has options at 174, with true freshman Gabe Arnold impressing early into his Iowa career. Still, the coaching staff put its faith in Kennedy ahead of the Big Ten Conference schedule.

Kennedy rewarded the coaching staff’s faith in him by defeating his first opponent after winter break.

He wrestled No. 30 Bubba Wilson from Nebraska and beat him, 9-5, helping the Hawkeyes secure a 22-10 victory over the Cornhuskers.

He followed that win up with two more wins during Iowa’s duals against Minnesota and Purdue. Kennedy secured bonus points in each, beating Minnesota’s Sam Skillings, 13-2, for a major decision and Purdue’s Brody Baumann, 19-4, for a tech fall.

Kennedy said he has embraced the physicality of wrestling and the goal of trying to dominate someone without causing physical harm. He thinks that makes wrestling the “purest form of competition on this earth.”

Kennedy ranked in the top 10 at 174 ahead of Iowa’s next duals against Illinois and Northwestern.

Illinois gave Kennedy his most challenging test at 174 pounds with No. 3 Edmond Ruth. Kennedy impressed in the top-10 showdown, beating Ruth, 5-1. Kennedy then beat Northwestern’s David Ferrante, 11-2, as the Hawkeyes dominated the Wildcats, 46-0.

Kennedy’s win streak was broken during Iowa’s dual against Michigan on Feb. 2 as he lost to No. 3 Shane Griffith. Still, Kennedy will have plenty of opportunity to impress in Iowa’s remaining duals ahead of the postseason.

“Hitting my stride, getting back into it, I don’t know,” Kennedy said after the win against Baumann. “I just know that every time I feel like I am on the mat, I just get a little better. You get more comfortable. Even though I’ve been doing this for a long time. I just love that. I love the floor. I love the competition of it. You know you get nervous, but man when I walk out there, it’s so free. You walk out there, and it’s a wrestling match, and it’s just you versus another guy, and that’s the beauty of it.”

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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.
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.