There is a date looming large on the calendar here in Iowa for high school wrestling fans. Continuing a preseason slate of outstanding competition, Night of Conflict 3 is ready to treat fans to more fantastic action. A year ago I made the 45-minute drive to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to witness the second iteration of Night of Conflict hosted by IAWrestle, and it did not disappoint.
This season IAWrestle has assembled talent from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, and even Blair Academy in New Jersey. Nine Iowa high school wrestlers will take to the mat over the 11 matches, creating an almost Iowa versus the Nation feel. Four wrestlers will be returning from NOC 2 to compete once again for Iowa. Missouri will be represented by the second most wrestlers on the evening with four, followed by Illinois with three. Iowa Hawkeye fans will recognize the surname of the lone Pennsylvania traveler Luke Kemerer, Michael's cousin. Future Hawkeye heavyweight Anthony Cassioppi will also take to the mat under the Carver lights giving fans a preview of the future at that weight.
Those fans and wrestlers alike suffering from triskaidekaphobia beware, Friday the 13th is already a night steeped in superstition. Avoid black cats, passing under ladders, and if you’re competing try not to break a shoelace. Escaping from Carver with a win is already difficult enough without bad luck haunting you. Fourteen of the competitors are currently ranked by TOM in their respective class rankings. Ten wrestlers ended their 2016-17 seasons ranked in the top twenty in their weight classes nationally. There will be talent aplenty on display, but a little luck never hurts.
Freestyle fans look for the push-out rule to be in effect again. There has been plenty of debate over bringing it to folkstyle, but this is another chance to see the practical application. It certainly can be no more cumbersome than our college stalling rules for out of bounds action at the moment. Tune into TOM Twitter account for updates on all the action. I'll break down each match and make my predictions below.
Friday, October 13th 7:00 CDT (doors open at 6:00)
Carver-Hawkeye Arena - 1 Elliot Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242