Will Iowa Hawkeyes HC Tom Brands Fulfill Gabe Arnold’s Dream Match Against Carter Starocci?

Published 02/09/2024, 7:30 AM EST

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Iowa Hawkeyes’s head coach, Tom Brands, is eyeing to dismember Cael Sanderson’s career-standout match. The wrestling match between the top-seeded Penn State and the third-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes is scheduled for February 9. But before that, the Cael Sanderson-coached team kept a clean slate for the last several matches. Moreover, if the PSU wins Friday’s feud against the Hawkeyes, then it will be the former Olympic champion’s 200th dual victory, being HC of the camp. On the other hand, Tom Brands felt the heat of the situation in the last match. There, Michigan handed them a disappointing defeat, resulting in a slip in the ranking. So in a complicated situation like this, Tom Brands has to think about several tryouts. 

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One of those is the wrestling fate of Gabe Arnold on Friday. The freshman can fight in both 174 and 184-category. But Brands wants him in the 184 category on Friday. Meanwhile, some previous scuffles made the situation much more dramatic. 

Gabe Arnold is waiting for a bout with Carter Starocci 

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As of now, the probable lineup against the guest Penn State is in place for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The host tried to match with the depth and deception PSU serves in every meaning. But few weight categories are still dwindling with uncertainty. The 133 and 149 categories are two such painstaking categories for Tom Brands. But as FloWrestling. org argued, in both these categories the PSU’s wrestlers hold the upper hand. Now after that, the 174 and 184-category raise the same impediment. And in both these categories, freshman Gabe Arnold comes out to be the contributing proponent. As the true freshman wishes, his eyes are on Carter Starocci, the 174-category phenom from the Lions. 

Behind this wrestling wish, a brewing antagonism worked from last year. The then blue-chip Iowa Hawkeyes commit termed the senior Penn State wrestler as “overrated”. The staunch criticism came even after Starocci’s fine show against the Hawkeyes’ Nelson Brands. That was the last duel between these two camps. However, in that hay time, the 3x All-American did not walk away digesting the Iowa commit’s offensives. After a few days, he retorted back to Arnold, claiming, “I’ll take care of business there, and it’ll be in his home dojo, too”. The Friday night episode will be the second chapter since then. Whereas Carter already secured his position in the 174 category with 61 undefeated encounters, Gabe Arnold will still have to wait for Tom Brands’s nod for the final say. 

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The situation Tom Brands is living in

Hinting at his strategy on Friday, Tom Brands firmly stated, “We have to make it a tough battle,..We have to perform better.” Eventually, the judicious wrestling coach did not want to look back at the Michigan match’s result. So for him, a fresh lineup against Penn State is on the card. Concentrating on that part, Brands wants Gabe Arnold to fight in the 184 category. Several reasons are there for his support. 

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In the 184 category, PSU’s predictable option is Bernie Truax with an 8-2 record. On the other hand, except for Arnold, the only option Tom Brands has is Aiden Riggins. But the unranked wrestler committed multiple errors in past matches, disbursing bonus points. In contrast, Gabe Arnold defeated the ranked ISU wrestler, Will Feldkamp, in 184-category. So capitalizing on that, Tom Brands wants him in 184-category. 

Read more: Penn State Freshman Stuns The Wrestling Team With Homecoming Triumph, Defeats Michigan All-American Opponent at 125 lbs

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But the redshirt has another point backing his chance in the 174 category. And that is his victory against Columbia’s ranked wrestler, Lennox Wolak, in that weight class this year. So once again, number 5 Hawkeyes’ 2023 recruit establishes the balance in a lateral position. But in front of fiery Starocci, Tom Brands would prefer Patrick Kennedy as Gabe Arnold holds a little chance of winning there. So in that situation, Gabe Arnold’s contention in the 184 category would be the better option. 

Watch this story: I Can Wrestle With Anybody Anytime: The Unranked Purdue Wrestler Proved His Boast

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

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One take at a time

Hello there! I am Prasun Chakrabarty, an Olympics sports writer at EssentiallySports. Being an adrenaline junkie, I take a keen interest in creating insights about various avenues of the sporting realm. As an ardent swimming enthusiast, I take inspiration from the Baltimore Bullet Michael Phelps and love to create insights on various nooks and crannies around the turquoise turf.
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Edited by:

Himanshu Sridhar

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