Iowa wrestling tops UT-Chattanooga and Drake Ayala wins UNI Open in season debut

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

The Iowa wrestling team improved to 7-0 this season after thumping the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, 27-12, on Saturday night at McKenzie Arena.

Despite a 15-point victory, Iowa only won 6-of-10 matches, but scored bonus points in five, including each of the final three to pull away from the Mocs, who fall to 2-6 this season.

Real Woods (141) and Patrick Kennedy (165) both won by technical fall — Woods actually beat Dayne Dalrymple, 16-0, in the first period — while both Abe Assad (184) and Jacob Warner (197) won by major decision. Heavyweight Tony Cassioppi closed the dual with a pin, his fifth of the season.

The Mocs actually won three of the first four matches for a 9-3 lead. Charles Matthews went at 125 pounds, but lost 1-0 to Logan Ashton. Cullan Schriever went again at 133, but gave up an overtime takedown and lost 3-1 to Brayden Palmer. Joel Jesuroga, a true freshman, made his dual debut at 149, but dropped a 3-2 decision to Noah Castillo in the overtime tiebreaker.

Still, Cobe Siebrecht's 6-3 win over Lincoln Heck kept Iowa within 9-8 at the intermission, Kennedy's 23-8 technical fall over Jackson Hurst propelled Iowa in front, 13-9. The Hawkeyes never trailed again, which delighted the Iowa fans among the announced crowd of 2,743.

The one match of interest before the dual even started — at 174, between No. 14 Nelson Brands and No. 16 Rocky Jordan — ultimately went the Mocs' way. Jordan scored a takedown on the edge with 40 seconds left and won, 3-1. Brands came up favoring his knee and carried a slight limp off the mat.

Iowa returns to action at the end of the month at the Solider Salute, set for Dec. 29-30 at Xtream Arena in Coralville.

No. 2 Iowa 27, UT-Chattanooga 12

  • 125: Logan Ashton (UTC) dec. Charles Matthews (IA), 1-0
  • 133: No. 27 Brayden Palmer (UTC) dec. Cullan Schriever (IA), 3-1 (SV)
  • 141: No. 2 Real Woods (IA) tech. fall Dayne Dalrymple (UTC), 16-0
  • 149: No. 27 Noah Castillo (UTC) dec. Joel Jesuroga (IA), 3-2 (TB1)
  • 157: No. 24 Cobe Siebrecht (IA) dec. Lincoln Heck (UTC), 6-3
  • 165: No. 14 Patrick Kennedy (IA) tech. fall Jackson Hurst (UTC), 23-8
  • 174: No. 16 Rocky Jordan (UTC) dec. #14 Nelson Brands (IA), 3-1
  • 184: No. 8 Abe Assad (IA) maj. dec. #31 Matthew Waddell (UTC), 16-4
  • 197: No. 6 Jacob Warner (IA) maj. dec. Jake Boyd (UTC), 10-1
  • 285: No. 4 Tony Cassioppi (IA) pinned Logan Andrew (UTC) in 1:16
Iowa wrestler Abe Assad beat UT-Chattanooga's Matthew Waddell 16-4 on Saturday night.

Iowa wrestler Drake Ayala wins UNI Open in season debut

A smattering of wrestlers from Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa all competed at the UNI Open on Saturday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, and perhaps the most intriguing entry was Drake Ayala, Iowa's sophomore 125-pounder who is redshirting this season after qualifying for the NCAA Championships last year.

Ayala wrestled just twice on Saturday but won both matches via major decision to take first: 16-6 over Iowa State's Caleb Fuessley, then 11-3 over Northern Iowa's Trever Anderson. Ayala racked up 12 takedowns between both matches, seven against Fuessley and five against Anderson. Anderson beat Fuessley, 3-1, to finish second.

In Ayala's first live action in eight months, he flashed the same offensive firepower that made him an All-American threat last year as a true freshman, an encouraging development for the future of the Iowa wrestling program.

Iowa wrestler Drake Ayala made his season debut on Saturday at the UNI Open. Ayala went 2-0 and took first at 125 pounds.

More wrestling takeaways from the UNI Open

  • Jesse Ybarra made his debut at 133 pounds at the UNI Open. It was a rough first look, as he went 1-3 and finished fourth.
  • Jace Rhodes, a true freshman for Iowa, went 2-2 in that same 133-pound bracket and finished third. He registered a 4-0 win over Northern Iowa's Cory Land as well as a 1-0 win over Ybarra.
  • Iowa State's Evan Frost won that 133-pound bracket, despite opening his day with a 6-2 loss to Land. Frost rallied to beat Ybarra, 8-4; Rhodes, 8-1; and Northern Iowa's Julian Farber, 8-5.
  • Iowa State's Jacob Frost won at 141, outscoring his three opponents 33-11. He beat Missouri's Josh Edmonds, 7-3; Minnesota's Theo Cha, 13-3; and Northern Iowa's Connor Thorpe, 13-5, in the final.
  • At 157 pounds, Iowa's Caleb Rathjen made the finals after picking up wins over Northern Iowa's Evan Yant, 7-3, and Iowa State's Isaac Judge, 11-3. In the final, Rathjen lost to Iowa State's Jason Kraisser, 4-2. Judge beat teammate Cam Robinson, 4-2, for third.
  • Christian Minto, who joined the Northern Iowa program after winning two junior college national titles for NIACC, finished second in his Panther debut, beating a pair of Missouri wrestlers — 10-4 over James Conway, then 3-1 over Cam Steed — to reach the finals, where he lost to Minnesota's Cael Carlson, 3-2.
  • Iowa State's Joel Devine won at 174 pounds, with a 3-1 semifinal win over Northern Iowa's Jared Simma and a first-period pin over teammate Manny Rojas in the finals.
  • Northern Iowa's Wyatt Voelker took first at 197, posting a 3-0 record. He beat Missouri's Tommy Hagan, 12-2, and Minnesota's Gabe Nagel, 5-3, then won by forfeit over Iowa's Zach Glazier in the final. Glazier beat two Panthers, Adam Ahrendsen (14-4) and Kalob Runyon (4-3), to reach the final.

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