Iowa’s Kemerer returns to lineup against Minnesota, wants to enjoy seventh year

Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 11:07 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As soon as fans heard the entrance song ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ by the Baha Men, Carver Hawkeye arena erupted. It signaled the return of Iowa’s Michael Kemerer.

“There’s just something different when you’re the one coming out of that tunnel. I’m grateful for every last time and they’re dwindling. I’m going to take advantage every time,” he said.

In Saturday’s 22-10 victory over Minnesota, Kemerer made his 2021-2022 season debut earning a 9-2 decision at 174 against Minnesota’s Bailee O’Reilly. He was wearing a shoulder brace during the match. The four-time All American admitted he had been dealing with an upper body injury, but felt it was the right time to return to the mat.

“I knew coming back it was going to be a little different of a year anyway and things change and you keep adapting. We’ve got a deep team. We have Nelson Brands in there, we had [Brennan] Swafford who was ready to go,” said Kemerer.

“It’s his decision,” explained Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands. “People and fans and detractors probably more so, would say that would be reckless, but he’s a seventh year guy. It’s his call,” said Brands.

Kemerer’s score first, score fast and score often mentality helped him build a 4-1 lead after the first period and an 8-1 lead after two before closing his match out with riding time. As a returning Big Ten champion and NCAA finalist, his passion for the sport is why he’s stayed with Hawkeyes.

“I love to compete. I love to do this,” said Kemerer. “I was made to be a wrestler. Coming back, you don’t see a lot of seventh years, but I’m like there’s a reason God wants me back on this team for my seventh year. I’m a believer in that stuff. It’s just not trying to figure things out, just go out and enjoy it.”

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