Iowa mega-recruit Spencer Lee from Pennsylvania was a popular topic of conversation during Iowa’s media day.
Cedar Falls was one of the places to be for wrestling fans on Saturday, where glimpses of the Iowa wrestling team’s future were on display inside the UNI-Dome.
There, both Spencer Lee and Jacob Warner competed unattached at the UNI Open. For Warner, it was the first time wrestling since he knocked off Missouri’s Willie Miklus at the Lindenwood Open last month. For Lee, it was his collegiate wrestling debut.
Others from Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa also wrestled. Here are some quick takeaways from Saturday’s action.
Hoo boy, Spencer Lee looked good. This isn’t some sort of hyperbole, either. Lee, Iowa’s mega-recruit out of Pennsylvania, easily dispatched his three opponents en route to first place at 125 pounds.
All day, Lee was aggressive on his feet, using a two-on-one that would make Cory Clark proud, and worked an effective arm bar and tilt on top. His three results: 16-0 tech fall over Missouri’s Dack Punk, a first-period pin over Wisconsin’s Johnny Jimenez, and another first-period pin over Minnesota’s Skyler Petry in the finals. He allowed one point all day, a gifted escape to Petry.
Also, Lee wore a brace on his right knee all day. He wrestled part of his senior year with a torn ACL, and spent much of the following offseason recovering. The brace did not appear to bother him on Saturday against less-than-elite competition.
Warner actually lost. Jakob Woodley, who wrestled unattached from Oklahoma, scored a last-second takedown to beat Warner, 5-4, in the semifinals at 197. Woodley used heavy hands and was got to his shots throughout the match. Warner otherwise had a pin, two majors and a decision en route to third.
Max Murin had a good day at 141. The true freshman won back-to-back decisions to reach the semifinals, where he lost to Wisconsin’s Cole Martin, 5-1. Murin struggled some on bottom — Martin had over three minutes of riding time — but also bounced back to take third.
Marcus Coleman looks like the Cyclones’ best 174-pounder. The former Ames standout continues to wrestle really well. He took first on Saturday, winning by pin, 5-1 decision, 13-9 decision, and 2-1 decision in the finals over teammate Danny Bush. Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser said on media day that Coleman would probably stay in redshirt all year.
Additionally, Iowa State's Gannon Gremmel won at heavyweight, defeating Iowa’s Aaron Costello and Northern Iowa’s Carter Isley to do it. And at 133, Markus Simmons looked very good, placing first with a decision, major, tech fall and decision.
For Northern Iowa, Rudy Yates reached the finals at 133, where he lost to Simmons 6-4, but Yates out-placed the Panthers’ regular 133 starter Jack Wagner, who defaulted to sixth. Could we see Yates in the lineup soon? That’s something to monitor moving forward.
There was also an all-Panther final at 165, where Bryce Steiert beat Isaiah Patton, 16-0.
Up next: Iowa wrestles at Maryland on Sunday at noon. After hosting Wyoming on Saturday night, the Cyclones are off until Jan. 5, when they host Northern Colorado. Northern Iowa hosts North Carolina on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.