Hawkeye Wrestling Club hosting November freestyle dual featuring Iowa wrestlers

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

Mark your calendars, Iowa wrestling fans.

The Hawkeye Wrestling Club, in collaboration with Trackwrestling, is hosting an exhibition freestyle dual, dubbed the HWC Showdown Open, on Nov. 1 at the new Xtream Arena in Coralville.

The Sunday dual starts at 6 p.m. and will be streamed in a pay-per-view format by Trackwrestling. It will feature nine total freestyle matches: seven between men's freestyle competitors and another two between women's freestyle wrestlers. 

The card has not been released yet — Trackwrestling and the HWC will announce the individual bouts via social media next week — but Iowa coach Tom Brands told the Des Moines Register to expect a handful of the best from the current Hawkeyes roster.

"You're going to see Hawkeyes with eligibility on the mat, and that's exciting," Brands said. "We're demonstrating that there's a lot of value in the Hawkeyes. We'll have some women's flavor as well. Women's wrestling is important to our program. We'll have a good blend."

The HWC Showdown Open logo.

The event itself is considered an open format, not unlike the Midlands Championships, where wrestlers who aren't affiliated with colleges can register and compete. It's also scheduled for Nov. 1, because NCAA rules state that wrestlers can't compete before Nov. 1 if they want to maintain eligibility for the coming season.

"We've worked hard on this," Brands said. "Ryan Morningstar has worked hard on this. Bobby Telford has worked hard on this. Our Hawkeye Wrestling Club board has worked hard on this to make it happen. Trackwrestling is a good partner."

This competition will be the first for members of the Iowa wrestling program since the Hawkeyes won the 2020 Big Ten Championships back in early March. The novel coronavirus pandemic then canceled the 2020 NCAA Championships, which were originally scheduled for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The Hawkeyes, who haven't won an NCAA team title since 2010, were the prohibitive favorites to win last season and will be again this coming season. This exhibition event will serve as an unofficial start to the 2020-21 campaign.

"We're thrilled to partner with one of the most recognizable brands in wrestling to showcase a unique, high-level event," Travis Shives, the vice president of sports for SportsEngine and Trackwrestling, said in a release from Trackwrestling.

"The Hawkeye Wrestling Club has assembled an exceptional card filled with highly-credentialed athletes from around the country and beyond, and we look forward to streaming the event to the wrestling world."

Iowa's Spencer Lee, right, wrestles Aaron Cashman during the first day of preseason Hawkeye wrestling matches, Thursday, Nov., 7, 2019, inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

The dual will include "world medalists, national champions and All-Americans," according to Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton, which could include past and present collegiate stars, plus male and female Senior-level freestyle competitors. Attendance will be limited to wrestlers and coaches only as a health and safety precaution.

This will be Iowa's version of what the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club put on last weekend. The latter hosted a 13-match freestyle dual and streamed it on Rokfin. The competition also included present college wrestlers, who are likely planning to redshirt the coming season, along with past Penn State wrestlers and international competitors.

Other wrestling events have taken place in the space between March and last weekend. There was the Rumble on the Rooftop in Chicago in June, hosted by Fite.TV; Wrestling Underground in late August, through ESPN's UFC Fight Pass; and the Beat The Streets event this past month in New York, which was streamed by Flowrestling.

"This is about the wrestling, first and foremost," HWC president Randy Novak said in a release. "The HWC is committed to providing opportunities for men and women to train and compete for World and Olympic championships, and that mission is represented on this card.

"Every corner features a contender at the NCAA, national, or international level. The men and women involved are excited about it, and wrestling fans are going to love it."

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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