Iowa senior Jacob Warner named Most Valuable Hawkeye Wrestler for 2021-22 season
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Jacob Warner was named recipient of the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestler Award on Friday night at the Hawkeye wrestling team’s annual awards banquet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Warner was the 197-pound runner-up at the 2022 NCAA Championships. He earned his fourth career All-America honor and reached the finals to extend Iowa’s streak of consecutive NCAA finals appearances to 32 straight national tournaments. Warner finished the season with a 21-6 record. He registered a team-high six major decisions with 14 wins against ranked opponents.
Warner was one of five Hawkeyes presented All-America awards. Warner, Austin DeSanto and Alex Marinelli each earned their fourth career All-America honor at the NCAA Championships. DeSanto placed third at 133 and Marinelli placed fifth at 165. Those three are the 23rd, 24th and 25th wrestlers in program history to become four-time All-Americans.
Tony Cassioppi earned his third-career All-America honor with a seventh-place finish at 285, and Michael Kemerer became the first five-time All-American in program history, placing fourth at 174 pounds. Iowa has crowned at least one All-American in 51 consecutive NCAA Championships.
Kemerer shared the award for most pins with Cassioppi, Jaydin Eierman and Abe Assad – all four wrestlers finished the season with three falls – and was presented the Mike J. McGivern Award for most courageous wrestler and the J. Donald McPike, Sr., Award for highest grade point average by a graduating senior.
Kemerer returned for his seventh year on campus and battled through injuries en route to his fifth career All-America honor. He entered the lineup at the start of the Big Ten season on Jan. 7 and compiled a 7-2 dual record while reaching as high as No. 2 in the country. He earned an automatic berth to the national tournament at the Big Ten Championships and won five matches at the NCAA Championships to reach the medal stand. His fifth win in the consolation semifinals was the 100th win of his career.
Freshman Drake Ayala was presented the John and Dorothy Sill Award for most dedicated wrestler. Ayala jumped into lineup to open the Big Ten season and wrestled to a 4-2 conference record. He won two matches at the Big Ten Championships to become just the fourth true freshman under Tom Brands to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Ayala finished the season 17-8 overall.
Six wrestlers were presented Coaches Appreciation Awards. They include Aaron Costello, Patrick Kennedy, Charles Matthews, Cullan Schriever, Vince Turk and Myles Wilson.
The Hawkeyes completed the 2022 season with third-place finishes at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships. It marked the 13th time in the last 14 national tournaments Iowa earned a team trophy. The Hawkeyes also crowned at least five All-Americans for the ninth straight year and had 14 wrestler earn All-Big Ten Academic honors, the second highest total in school history.
2022 AWARD WINNERS
Mike Howard Most Valuable: Jacob Warner
Mike J. McGivern Most Courageous: Michael Kemerer
John and Dorothy Sill Most Dedicated: Drake Ayala
J. Donald McPike, Sr., High Senior GPA: Michael Kemerer
Coaches Appreciation: Aaron Costello, Patrick Kennedy, Charles Matthews, Cullan Schriever, Vince Turk, Myles Wilson
Most Pins: Abe Assad (3), Tony Cassioppi (3), Jaydin Eierman (3) and Michael Kemerer (3)
All-Americans: Austin DeSanto, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer, Jacob Warner, Tony Cassioppi