Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands on Austin DeSanto, Cullan Schriever: ‘Both guys are great options’

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands provided some clarity on the lineup situation at 133 pounds.

“Our number one guy is Austin DeSanto,” Brands said Wednesday during his weekly media availability.

But will DeSanto go when the second-ranked Hawkeyes wrestle No. 8 Ohio State on Friday?

“We haven’t decided because funny things happen in life,” Brands continued. “I can’t guarantee it. How’s that for a teaser?

“I would say this — I would say that we’re going to put our best lineup on the mat.”

DeSanto, Iowa’s two-time All-American at 133 pounds, has missed the Hawkeyes’ last three duals, all victories: 36-4 over Purdue, 33-6 over No. 17 Northwestern, and 36-3 over No. 19 Illinois. The Hawkeyes are now 10-0 overall and 4-0 in Big Ten competition.

Iowa associate head coach Terry Brands talks with Austin DeSanto during a NCAA Hawkeyes men's wrestling practice, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

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After beating Purdue, Brands said DeSanto “took the day off,” and that there were “no issues.” He added that the decision was DeSanto’s choice. DeSanto, ranked No. 3 nationally at 133 by InterMat, is 11-0 this season with seven technical falls.

Jesse Ybarra wrestled at 133 against Purdue’s Matt Ramos, and lost 11-3. Cullan Schriever went against both Northwestern and Illinois this past weekend. He lost to Northwestern’s Chris Cannon, 5-3, on Friday, then dropped a 5-0 decision to Illinois’ Lucas Byrd on Sunday.

Schriever’s entry into Iowa’s starting meant he burned his redshirt, a status he maintained after last season was essentially a freebie in terms of eligibility due to COVID-19. Brands said inserting Schriever into the lineup was “not a hard decision.”

“Cullan is a second-year guy,” Brands said. “It’s not even close to being the same decision as bringing a guy who’s been here for three or four months out of redshirt. There was dialogue.

“He’s a very, very important part of our present and future. We love the guy. We know he’s capable.”

Schriever is now 15-5 overall this season. The three-time state champ from Mason City wrestled at the Luther Open (second), Lindenwood Open (first), Cyclone Open (2-0 then medically-forfeited out), UNI Open (first) and Southern Scuffle (fourth).

All five losses have come to guys currently ranked in InterMat’s top-25: Cannon, Byrd, Michigan State’s 12th-ranked Rayvon Foley (10-5 at the Scuffle), Chattanooga’s 23rd-ranked Brayden Palmer (4-2 at the Scuffle) and DeSanto, 8-4 in the Luther Open finals.

Even more, four of those five losses have come to All-Americans, in Byrd, Cannon, Foley and DeSanto. DeSanto also beat Schriever during Iowa's instra-squad matches in early November.

Cullan Schriever took fourth at the Southern Scuffle at 133 pounds and has started for the Hawkeyes each of the last two duals, against Northwestern and Illinois.

DeSanto and Schriever were both listed on Iowa’s probable lineups for Friday’s dual against the Buckeyes (5-1, 1-1), set for 7 p.m. CST on Big Ten Network. It was the only weight that had multiple options.

The rest of the lineup is clearly set moving forward:

  • 125: Drake Ayala (13-3 overall)
  • 141: Jaydin Eierman (11-0; he missed both duals last weekend, too)
  • 149: Max Murin (6-1)
  • 157: Kaleb Young (9-5)
  • 165: Alex Marinelli (14-0)
  • 174: Michael Kemerer (4-0)
  • 184: Abe Assad (9-2)
  • 197: Jacob Warner (10-1)
  • 285: Tony Cassioppi (9-2)

So Brands said DeSanto, who took third at the NCAA Championships last year and scored 19.5 team points as part of Iowa’s title-winning total of 129, is the number one guy, but Schriever will be in the mix to wrestle from time to time, too.

“As we go forward, we’ll put our best lineup on the mat,” Brands said. “It’s no different than back in early-November, mid-November when we started this venture. The difference is that we’re in the middle of the season.

“But it’s important that we’re getting our pieces more in line. The 10 guys that we put in the ranking pool are the 10 guys that you could guess. Everyone on this call could guess. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be in the lineup every week.”

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