Photo of Abe Assad, who will be competing against Nelson Brands this Sunday, courtesy of University of Iowa Athletics.
This Sunday, at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville, Iowa, the Hawkeye Wrestling Club is hosting the HWC Showdown Open, a nine-match card kicking off at 6 pm CST. The stream can be purchased through Trackwrestling, for $29.95. On Monday, University of Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands announced the addition of eight undercard matches, which will be streamed for free starting at 4 pm CST, also on Trackwrestling.
“The undercard was always part of the plan. We kept it behind closed doors for obvious reasons, promotion and that type of thing,” Brands said in a virtual zoom press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s a dual format open. That was important. You had to register by a certain date. We had to be careful with how we did that, made sure that our guys were registered the right way, so that’s how those matchups came up,” Brands elaborated.
The undercard features 13 wrestlers currently on the University of Iowa’s roster, two members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club and Mitch McKee of the Gopher Wrestling Club RTC.
Jesse Ybarra vs. Nodir Safarov
Kicking off Sunday’s action will be incoming Hawkeye freshman Jesse Ybarra and HWC member Nodir Safarov. Ybarra is listed at 133 pounds on the Hawkeye’s roster and Safarov competes at 57 kg internationally for Uzbekistan.
Ybarra is a three-time state champion and four-time state finalist from Arizona. In freestyle, he is a 2018 Fargo 16U champion and a 2019 UWW Cadet Nationals runner-up. The up-and-comer will have his hands full with Safarov, who has represented Uzbekistan at the Senior World Championships three times. Safarov is also a 2009 Junior World bronze medalist. In his most recent performance, he placed third at the Cerro Pelado tournament in Cuba this past February.
Justin Stickley vs. Carter Happel
The second match of the afternoon features Iowa seniors Justin Stickley and Carter Happel. Both wrestlers are listed as 141 pounders on the Hawkeye’s roster. Stickley is a two-time Ohio State finalist. Last season, he went 12-3 winning titles at the Grand View and Jim Koch opens. Happel is a four-time Iowa state champion and a 2013 Fargo 16U champion. He posted an 8-5 record last season, winning the Luther Open and going 2-2 in Big Ten duals.
Bretli Reyna vs. Cobe Siebrecht
Iowa newcomer Bretli Reyna will take on redshirt freshman Cobe Siebrecht at 149 pounds. Reyna is a four-time Florida state champion and a Super 32 champion. Siebrecht went 9-3 competing in open tournaments last season. He is a 2019 Iowa state champion and three-time state finalist.
Max Murin vs. Mitch McKee
One of the undercard’s premier matchups features two-time Iowa NCAA qualifier Max Murin vs. 2017 Junior World silver medalist Mitch McKee. The pair have wrestled four times over the past two seasons, with McKee holding a 3-1 lead in the series.
Last season, Murin was named an NWCA First-Team All-American, while McKee garnered Second-Team honors. Murin is entering his redshirt junior season, and McKee graduated from Minnesota last year. He was a four-time NCAA qualifier, twice making the round of 12 and finishing sixth on the podium in 2019. McKee also represented the U.S. at the 2017 U23 World Championships and the 2012 Cadet World Championships.
Kaleb Young vs. Jeremiah Moody
Iowa redshirt senior Kaleb Young will square off with HWC resident athlete Jeremiah Moody. Young is a 2020 NWCA First-Team All-American and a 2019 NCAA fifth place finisher. Moody graduated from Iowa last year. He is a 2018 UWW Junior Nationals champion.
Patrick Kennedy vs. Myles Wilson
Iowa fans will be clamoring to see incoming freshman Patrick Kennedy take on redshirt Myles Wilson at 174 pounds. Kennedy is a blue chip recruit from Minnesota, where he was a four-time state champion. He is a 2018 Super 32 champion and a 2019 Fargo Junior champion. Wilson is a two-time Colorado state champion. During his redshirt season he put together a 15-2 record at 184 pounds. During the 2018-2019 season, he suffered a season-ending injury in his fifth match of the year. He did not compete last season.
Nelson Brands vs. Abe Assad
Another big match on the undercard features Nelson Brands and Abe Assad. Last season, Brands, Assad and now-graduated Cash Wilcke all competed for the starting spot at 184 pounds. Assad, a true-freshman at the time, had his redshirt pulled and took control at the weight class, earning NWCA Second-Team All-American status. He is a 2019 Fargo Junior champion and a 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist.
Nelson is the son of Iowa Associate Head Coach Terry Brands. He is entering his redshirt sophomore season. During his redshirt year he went 18-0, winning four open tournaments competing at 165 pounds. Last season, he compiled a 9-4 record wrestling at both 174 and 184 pounds. He is a three-time Iowa State champion and placed third at the 2019 UWW Junior Nationals.
Jacob Warner vs. Zach Glazier
The final match of the undercard pits redshirt junior Jacob Warner against redshirt freshman Zach Glazier. Warner earned All-Americans honors as a freshman, finishing seventh at 197 pounds. He was a NWCA First-Team All-American last year. Warner is a 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist, a 2018 Junior World Team member and a numerous-time Fargo champion in both Greco-Roman and freestyle.
Glazier went 19-2 wrestling unattached last season and won four open tournaments. He is a three-time Minnesota state finalist and two-time state champion.