The Iowa wrestling team used five individual titles and have four other place-winners on the way to its 27th Midlands championship.
Brandon Sorensen (149), Michael Kemerer (157), Alex Marinelli (165), Cash Wilcke (197), and Sam Stoll (285) were the individual winners at the tournament. As a team, the Hawkeyes scored 155.6 points, besting second-place Rutgers by 47 points.
It was, as you say, a pretty good showing. Here’s a bit more detail:
During the opening day of competion the Hawkeyes advanced seven wrestlers to the semifinals. The usual suspects -- Kemerer, Sorensen, Stoll -- as well as Alex Marinelli and Cash Wilcke on the attached side. Wrestling unattached, freshmen Spencer Lee and Jacob Warner also moved on.
The matches to get them into the semis went largely as you’d expect -- a few pins from Kemerer, second-seeded Marinelli beat No. 7 Jonathan Viruet of Brown in the quarters, and bonus points for Sorensen and Stoll by way of major decisions.
Lee added a tech fall, and perhaps the most encouraging result of day one came from Warner. At 197, he managed to pull an upset of second-seeded Jacob Smith from West Virginia with a 3-2 decision. Warner likely isn’t going to take Wilcke’s spot in the starting lineup, especially given the surprising-ish strong results the latter’s had in the earlygoing. Either way, the future looks bright at that weight and we like that! THESE TWO WRESTLE TODAY ZOMG!!
In the consols, Pat Lugo and Vince Turk won matches via fall to move on. The bad news? Turk got pinned afterwards and was knocked out. At day’s end, eight Hawkeyes were still alive -- two at 141 and 149, with 133, 165, 174, and 184. With Turk’s early exit, you’d have to imagine it’s going to be between Happel and Murin for the full-time spot the remainder of the year. We’ll touch on that in our full analysis post coming in the next couple of days.
Maybe the big story from the second day was Spencer Lee medically forfeiting out of his consolation match. He got beat by Oregon State’s Ronnie Bresser in the semifinals, despite Lee appearing to have gotten a reversal late.
This is when the whistle was blown in the Spencer Lee semifinal. In what world is this not a reversal? #Midlands55 pic.twitter.com/CgTXOo62OU— C.L.L. Donovan (@CLLDonovan) December 30, 2017
Speaking of redshirted Hawkeyes, Pat Lugo bounced back nicely and won three consolation matches before getting bounced by Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin in the 149 third-place match.
Disappointed, I honestly wanted to see Sorensen and Lugo go at it in the winners bracket.
All of Iowa’s finals matches were close and there just wasn’t that continual scoring we all love. Granted these all were finals matches and everyone’s wrestling tight, but it would have been nice to see someone get a pin or even a dominating major.
Here’s part of what Tom Brands had to say:
"We have to score with more efficiency. We're closing matches, we're winning matches, and when you get to the semis that's what you do,” Brands said to HawkeyeSports. “You get yourself in position to win titles, and when you get to the championship match that's what you do... you win matches in the championship matches. But this is like a midterm. This is a midseason test and where we have to go from here to the next one is a significant step or two. There is a lot of work to do."
Here are the results from the finals and other placing matches.
165 - #2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. #5 Jon Schleifer (Princeton), 3-1 SV1
197 - #3 Cash Wilcke (Iowa) dec. #5 Frank Mattiace (Penn), 3-1 SV1
295 - #2 Sam Stoll (Iowa) dec. #1 Tanner Hall (Arizona State), 2-1
149 - #1 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. #2 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 4-2
157 - #1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. #2 Joshua Shields (Arizona State), 5-2
149 - #6 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) dec. #10 Pat Lugo (Iowa-UNAT), 8-5
165 - #8 Kaleb Young (Iowa) dec. #4 May Bethea (Penn), 2-0
197 - #11 Pat Brucki (Princeton) dec. #7 Jacob Warner (Iowa-UNAT), 4-2
141 - #9 Max Murin (Iowa-UNAT) dec. #12 Carter Happel (Iowa), 5-2