How The Hawkeyes Can Gain Momentum For The NCAA Season After Omaha

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For Iowa wrestling, finishing the 2020-21 season on the NCAA team leaderboard starts now.

With a shortened season – an official timeline and schedule have yet to be announced – unaffiliated competition will be the key to repeating the success the Hawkeyes had in 2019-20. Nine of 10 starters from last season are returning, with the addition of three-time All-American transfer Jaydin Eierman to the lineup.

Of the nine returning wrestlers, eight earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships following the conference tournament in early March, with Kaleb Young at 157 pounds earning an at-large bid.

The Hawkeyes battled their way to the #1 spot in the nation after a dual win over Penn State and a first-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. But for a win at NCAAs, the Hawkeyes will no doubt be more dominant with their lineup at full-strength, in prime season form.

Based on the results from last season, the trajectory each athlete took and how competition has gone so far, here’s a breakdown of who the Hawkeyes will have to keep a closer eye on to be at their best when the season matters most. 

Austin DeSanto

Following a tough injury-default loss to Roman Bravo-Young at the end of January 2020, DeSanto’s season waivered to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten tournament. 

Similarly, his performance at U23 a week ago started out strong but fell towards the end, landing him in the same spot he ended a coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 season. He defeated Todd Small and Dominic La joie, 23-3 combined, and cruised up through his first match on the second day.

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The key for DeSanto is to keep his head on the competition and his emotions in check, which has been the storyline for almost his entire Hawkeye career. That was much of the story in his dual loss to Bravo-Young and could be a learning lesson following an upset at the hands of Michael Colaiocco in Day 2 of U23.

Penn’s former 125-pounder, up a weight from last season, came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat DeSanto 8-5.

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DeSanto finds success when he focuses his mentality on a goal – he famously beat Spencer Lee in their senior year of high school to keep the two-time NCAA champion from winning four Pennsylvania high school titles – and can help carry the Hawkeyes in the regular season when he does just that.

Kaleb Young

Young’s 2019-20 season was similar to DeSanto’s, with a much starker contrast. He won the Midlands Championships with impressive wins and finished the season 15-5 with six wins over ranked opponents.

At the Big Ten Championships, however, Young lost back-to-back matches to be left off the podium without a win in the tournament. His start to the season carried him, and a 9-0 record in conference duals led to an at-large bid to NCAAs as the No. 8 seed.

Young’s path to a runner-up finish at U23 featured only one ranked wrestler, but he won the matches that he was expected to win, and that’s a plus for Young. 

Watch Young defeat Drexel's Parker Kropman to advance to the U23 Nationals semifinals:

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If he can keep his intensity throughout matches – and throughout a shortened college season – the Hawkeyes could be even stronger than they were in 2019-20.


Anna attended the University of Iowa, where she covered multiple sports from volleyball to football to wrestling. She went to Pittsburgh in March 2019 for the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships and did live coverage of the entire event and Spencer Lee’s second-straight NCAA title. Follow her on Twitter.

Live Updates: #8 Ohio State vs #14 Rutgers

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We've got Sunday Big Ten wrestling on tap between #8 Ohio State and #14 Rutgers. The action starts at 12:00 PM EST, 11:00 CT. With 12 ranked individuals including #1 Sebastian Rivera at 141 and #1 Sammy Sasso at 149, this will be an action-packed dual.

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Match Notes: #4 Nebraska Overpowers #24 Northwestern

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It's a great afternoon for a Big Ten Live Blog, in my humble estimation.

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Match Notes: Iowa Routes Minnesota 35-4

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#1 Iowa cemented they would be the team to beat this year with a dominant performance last week against top ten tournament and #4 dual ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Now they're back on the mat against a tough Big Ten opponent in #12 Minnesota.

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Live Updates: #14 Pittsburgh vs #5 NC State

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Keep up to speed with everything going down between #14 Pittsburgh and #5 NC State with live updates of every second. Be sure to refresh often. My friend and enemy Christian Pyles live blogged the other top 20 showdown in the ACC, #19 Virginia vs #10 Virginia Tech, right here. 

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Virginia Tech Downs UVA, 19-15

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Virginia Tech holds off a scrappy UVA team in Blacksburg, VA!  Check out all the details below.  

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6 Reasons To Watch Oklahoma vs UNI & Iowa State

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Oklahoma makes its way to West Gym on Sunday for a pair of duals against Northern Iowa and Iowa State. This event is packed with 16 ranked wrestlers and 5 ranked matchups and plenty of good reasons to tune in.

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How to Watch: 2021 Oklahoma vs Iowa State

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Here's how to watch the 2021 Oklahoma vs Iowa State on FloWrestling.

SIx Michigan High School Wrestlers To Watch In 2021

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With eight nationally-ranked wrestlers, 26 returning state champions and 11 Division 1 recruits (and counting), the state of Michigan is loaded with grappling talent. 

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Why Penn State Has A Mountain To Climb, & Why They Still Can

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In order for Penn State to maintain its run of dominance, a new crop of youngsters will need to get up to speed quickly. That's a tall order for a number of reasons, but if anyone can lead a fresh group of wrestlers to a title, it's Cael Sanderson and company. Here's why this crop of Nittany Lions has a number of obstacles in its way, and why they just might be up for the challenge.

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How to Watch: 2021 Oklahoma vs Northern Iowa.

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Here's how to watch the 2021 Oklahoma vs Northern Iowa. on FloWrestling.