Iowa got a surprise before Wednesday’s NCAA Wrestling Selection Show began, and it wasn’t that unbeaten senior Thomas Gilman was a No. 1 seed at 125 pounds.
Nine Hawkeyes will head to St. Louis next week, with redshirt freshman Cash Wilcke added to the field late after an injury removed another qualifier at 197 pounds. Wilcke is one of three unseeded wrestlers Iowa has in the 10 brackets.
Five qualifiers earned top-five seeds, including Gilman, No. 2 Michael Kemerer (157 pounds), No. 3 Sam Brooks (184), No. 4 Cory Clark (133) and No. 5 Brandon Sorensen (149).
Clark could potentially see Iowa State’s Earl Hall in the second round if both seniors win their openers. Brooks is across from fellow Big Ten opponent in Rutgers’ Nicholas Gravina. Both Clark and Sorensen would have to beat No. 1 overall seeds — Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello and Penn State’s Zain Retherford, respectively — to return to next Saturday’s national finals.
The NCAA Championships begin on March 16 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
IOWA’S FIRST-ROUND MATCHES
125—No. 1 Thomas Gilman, Iowa, 27-0 vs. Brent Fleetwood, Central Michigan, 22-10
133—No. 4 Cory Clark, Iowa, 15-3 vs. Connor Schram, Stanford, 14-4
149—No. 5 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa, 26-4 vs. Matthew Zovistoski, Appalachian State, 26-9
157—No. 2 Michael Kemerer, Iowa, 27-2 vs. Casey Sparkman, Kent State, 25-12
165—Joey Gunther, Iowa, 18-8 vs. No. 13 Brandon Womack, Cornell, 30-8
174—No. 11 Alex Meyer, Iowa, 24-7 vs. Austin Dewey, Boise State, 24-13
184—No. 3 Sam Brooks, Iowa, 24-2 vs. Nicholas Gravina, Rutgers, 20-9
197—Cash Wilcke Iowa, 16-11 vs. No. 13 Tom Sleigh, Bucknell, 31-5
141—Topher Carton, Iowa, 24-8 vs. Joshua Heil, Campbell, 15-11