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Hawkeyes to host Nittany Lions in battle between heavyweight programs

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:05 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - With the exception of 2015 and 2020 due to COVID-19, since 2008 either Iowa or Penn state has claimed the men’s wrestling national team title.

“There’s not very many teams that can say that they go out to win the nationals every single year. I can honestly say that we are two teams that go out there and legitimately, even if we have no shot in hell, which isn’t the case ever for us or them, we still expect ourselves to win at the highest level,” said senior Jacob Warner.

The Hawkeyes were named national champs in 2021, while Penn State’s last came in 2019. Mix in the fact that both teams sit unbeaten on the season and head to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to wrestle in front of some of the sports most passionate fans – it’s the perfect recipe for an A+ battle.

“It’s not hard for me to get up for something like this because maybe that’s what we’re used to doing, but I’ll tell you what, our fans get up for it too. The wrestling world in general will be up for this as well,” explained Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands.

There’s some extra skin in the game for four Hawkeyes among the probable lineup. Austin DeSanto, Max Murin, Kaleb Young and Michael Kemerer all hail from Pennsylvania.

“[It’s] a strong rivalry,” said Kemerer . “I’ve gotten the privilege to be from Pennsylvania and be out in Iowa now for 7 years. Honestly, it’s two extreme hot beds of the sport. Areas where they love wrestling, are super knowledgeable about the sport and combine all that with the success of the programs and the coaching staffs and everything, it just makes it an awesome rivalry,” he added.

All four will be donning the black and gold on Friday as the Hawkeyes put their 29-straight dual winning streak on the line. Iowa won their last meeting 19-17 in Iowa City, January 31 of 2020, but they know they’re in for their toughest test yet.

“The bottom line is; when it’s your time to step on the mat, be ready, be smart and make things go your way,” said Brands.

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