Let’s get to it, ladies and gentlemen — arguably the Hawkeye wrestling team’s biggest dual meet of the year is Sunday at 2 p.m. against top-ranked Oklahoma State. FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! This one may not be as big as Penn State in a week — we’ll let you guys debate that.
If you recall, last season’s dual against the Cowboys took place in Kinnick Stadium and ended in a thrilling 18-16 victory at the Grapple on the Gridiron, marking the third time in as many meetings the Hawkeyes have emerged victorious. Expect this year’s meeting to have as razor-thin of margins as it did last season.
Barring any surprises, Iowa’s Cash Wilcke will be the only unranked wrestler in this dual — five bouts will feature top-10 foes, while three will feature top-5 opponents. Full probable lineups are listed at the bottom of this post if you’re short on time, if not, we’ll break down a few of the key matchups that could swing this one either way.
- 133: No. 1 Cory Clark vs. No. 6 Kaid Brock
This one should go in Clark’s favor — senior against freshman, Clark’s always wrestled Okie State really well, yada, yada, yada. What should be at least a bit scary for Hawkeye fans is their wrestler’s health — the SEP product hasn’t looked to explosive since a month or so off the mat — and the fact Brock is really, really good. He’s been able to ease his way back into the lineup, but it’ll be time for the senior to turn things up a notch come Sunday.
- 149: No. 2 Brandon Sorensen vs. No. 3 Anthony Collica
Last year at the Grapple, this bout went in favor of Sorensen with a lovely 6-1 decision. Of the five listed here, Sorensen-Collica III is probably the match I feel favors the Hawkeyes most. Just a hunch. Sorensen’s been a wrecking ball this season, scoring bonus points in 14 of his 17 wins, while Collica’s wrestled nine matches, collecting bonus points in four. His most recent was an impressive 7-6 win at the Southern Scuffle over Mizzou’s Lavion Mayes, so it won’t be a cakewalk. Sorensen’s level of competition this season has been awesome to watch and has kind of flown under the radar, and however homerish it may be of me, I think that continues here.
- 157: No. 2 Michael Kemerer vs. No. 5 Joe Smith
If you look at the body of work each of these guys has put together this season, Kemerer has the advantage against the returning All-American. The young Hawkeye kept the momentum from his Midlands title rolling through last weekend, while Smith stumbled in the Scuffle finals to Jordan Kutler of Lehigh. Smith’s a bigger 57-pounder than Kemerer, so it should be fun to watch how the boy genius attacks a guy who probably could be wrestling at 65 without much issue. Expect fireworks here.
- 184: No. 5 Sammy Brooks vs. No. 4 Nolan Boyd
A repeat of last year’s tech fall to win the dual doesn’t seem as likely to happen this time around, as Boyd is a far superior foe than Jordan Rogers. Brooks gave this one to Boyd on a silver platter two seasons ago in Stillwater, and got the best of him in their other meeting. With the news of Alex Marinelli’s redshirt (more later), Brooks is going to have to open things up for the remainder of his final season in Iowa City.
- HWT: No. 7 Sam Stoll vs. No. 9 Austin Schafer
This should be a fun one. Stoll’s as strong as an ox, and Schafer’s one of the more active heavies in the country. Even if the dual’s decided by this point, it’ll be worth staying tuned, which can’t always be said about the big boys.
How to Watch/Follow, Loose End, Probable Lineups
Unless you get Fox Sports Oklahoma on your cable package, you’re going to have to pony up and pay for a FloPro subscription if you don’t already have one. Hey, at least you’ll be able to watch Terry if you haven’t seen it yet. I’m really looking forward to doing so Monday.
This dual is at 2 p.m. Sunday. We’ll post an open thread sometime beforehand. Follow along with these Twitter accounts or 800 KXIC on the radio.
As you know, Iowa plans to sit freshman Alex Marinelli for the remainder of the year. We discussed that situation Wednesday, and Chad Leistikow broke the news Thursday. Tom Brands’ main reasoning stemmed from the Ohio native’s lack of mat time as he was dealing with a knee injury in the early going this year.
Please read more into this decision — it’s a tough spot to be in for the Hawkeyes as this ultimately benefits Marinelli but hurts the team’s chances at a national title this season. It’s a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ at this point. Brands is riding with the horses he has, let’s hope there’s enough there come March.
No. 3 Iowa
125 / No. 1 Thomas Gilman, 15-0
133 / No. 1 Cory Clark, 8-0
141 / No. 19 Topher Carton, 16-2
149 / No. 2 Brandon Sorensen, 16-0
157 / No. 2 Michael Kemerer, 17-0
165 / No. 20 Joey Gunther, 12-3/Skyler St. John, 5-2
174 / No. 13 Alex Meyer, 13-3
184 / No. 5 Sammy Brooks, 14-1
197 / Cash Wilcke, 10-4
HWT / No. 7 Sam Stoll, 6-1
No. 1 Oklahoma State
125 / No. 11 Nick Piccininni, 11-4
133 / No. 6 Kaid Brock, 14-0
141 / No. 1 Dean Heil, 14-0
149 / No. 3 Anthony Collica, 9-0
157 / No. 5 Joe Smith, 5-1
165 / No. 4 Chandler Rogers, 10-2
174 / No. 5 Kyle Crutchmer, 8-2
184 / No. 4 Nolan Boyd, 10-2
197 / No. 4 Preson Weigel, 12-2
HWT / No. 9 Austin Schafer, 13-1