Northern Iowa's Taylor Lujan won a Midlands title at 184 pounds. Des Moines Register
There were no NCAA Wrestling Championships to decide All-Americans and national champions, but the National Wrestling Coaches Association offered something in the way of recognition last week.
The NWCA announced Division I All-American teams for the 2019-20 season. First-, second- and honorable mention teams were selected based off the seeds for the 2020 NCAA Championships, which were canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m proud of the action that the NWCA Division I Leadership Group in providing direction for honoring the 2020 Division I All-American team,” NWCA executive director Mike Moyer said in a statement.
“It’s important that these athletes’ efforts and successes during the season are recognized. Congratulations to each of this year’s honorees and national qualifiers.”
Iowa’s three Division I programs combined 21 total selections, including 14 first-team picks. Of the 21 picks, all but four are expected to return for the 2020-21 season.
Iowa led all teams with 10 total selections, including nine on the first-team: Spencer Lee (125), Austin DeSanto (133), Max Murin (141), Pat Lugo (149), Kaleb Young (157), Alex Marinelli (165), Michael Kemerer (174), Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285). Abe Assad was a second-team pick at 184.
Lee, the 2020 Hodge Trophy winner, as well as Lugo and Marinelli were all 1-seeds at the 2020 NCAA Championships. DeSanto, Murin, Young, Kemerer, Warner and Cassioppi were all seeded eighth or better. Assad was the 11-seed.
All 10 wrestlers’ names will be added to the wall honoring the program’s All-Americans inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. The Hawkeyes were the favorites to win the national team title after going 13-0 in duals and winning the Big Ten Championships.
“We will do it that way, and I am not even torn about it,” Iowa coach Tom Brands told the Des Moines Register last week. “I am convinced that is the way to do it. There is no other team that had as many dominant individuals.
“I always check myself to make sure I'm not being self-serving. Naming these wrestlers and recognizing them officially is the right thing to do. They earned it the entire year with their individual results.”
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Iowa State had six total honorees: three first-teamers in Ian Parker (141), Jarrett Degen (149) and David Carr (157); two second-team picks, in Alex Mackall (125) and Gannon Gremmel (285); and one honorable mention selection in Sam Colbray (174).
Parker and Carr, both 2020 Big 12 champs, were seeded fourth and third, respectively, while Degen, a 2019 All-American, earned the 8-seed after an injury-riddled campaign. Mackall and Gremmel both earned top-12 seeds. Colbray was the 13-seed.
Northern Iowa had five total honorees. Seniors Bryce Steiert (174) and Taylor Lujan (184) were both first-team selections after winning Big 12 titles and earning top-8 seeds — Steiert was the 5-seed while Lujan was the 1-seed.
The other three were all honorable mention picks after earning top-16 seeds: Michael Blockhus, the 13-seed at 141; Max Thomsen, a 2017 All-American and the 13-seed at 149; and Carter Isley, the 14-seed at heavyweight.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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