Iowa is in for its biggest test of the year.
At 2:30 p.m. (God’s time) the Hawkeyes will wrestle Ohio State live on Big Ten Network. Over the past few years, this has become one of the best duals — or, well, at least one of my personal favorites. Iowa leads the all-time series 39-3 and have won the last three duals, including a fun 21-13 win last season.
This year, however, it’s going to be a tough one. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the country for a reason, as every single wrestler on the roster is ranked in the top-13 of the Intermat, WIN, and FloWrestling rankings.
Let’s take a look at the probables.
Assuming the dual starts at 125-pounds, we’re quickly going to find out just how good Spencer Lee is. I mean, obviously we already know he’s talented, but Nathan Tomasello is an entirely different beast — not to be crass, but just ask Thomas Gilman.
Tomasello missed three months with a lower-body injury, but just last week hung an 18-3 tech fall on Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak, a top-5 wrestler. I think it’s safe to say he’s just fine.
I have a feeling (or, at least, will be hoping) it’ll be a good match. Regardless, it’ll be a good measuring stick for Lee who is, after all, just a freshman.
It certainly doesn’t get any easier from there. Paul Glynn will have his hands full with uber-talented sophomore Luke Pletcher. Same goes with either Vince Turk or Carter Happel at 141.
Brandon Sorensen has never wrestled Ke-Shawn Hayes, but he should be able to handle him. I will say, I’m a tad bit sad we don’t get round four of Sorensen and Micah Jordan, though if you look at the scores they’ve had in the past (Sorensen leads the all-time scoring between the two at 6-1) perhaps it’s for the best.
Michael Kemerer, instead, will get Jordan, who bumped up to 157 this season. I think Kem Dawg should SHOULD get a decision here, but this will be a match that could easily go either way.
Alex Marinelli vs. Te’Shan Campbell should be another good one and at the risk of being called a homer (which, well, duh) it wouldn’t shock me if the young Iowa 165-pounder grabs another win over a ranked opponent. Marinelli is 8-0 on the year, and has three wins over ranked opponents. This would be another good notch to have come NCAA-seeding time.
From there, things really tilt towards the Buckeyes. I like Joey Gunther, but Bo Jordan is an animal. That said, Gunther has pulled some surprises out before, including taking Jordan’s cousin, former Wisconsin wrestler Isaac Jordan, into sudden victory last year.
Mitch Bowman will have issue with Myles Martin at 184, a wrestler he’s never faced. In Bowman’s career, he’s 3-4 against wrestlers who were ranked when he wrestled them, including a 10-6 win against Oklahoma State’s Keegan Moore last week.
Kollin Moore and Cash Wilcke has potential to be a toss up, but Moore also pinned Virginia Tech’s Jared Haught in 1:52 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas tournament earlier this season. What I’m saying is don’t get your hopes too far up.
And, lastly, we get to one of my all-time favorite wrestlers — Kyle Snyder. I’m excited to see how Sam Stoll will stack up against him, but this is Ohio State’s Senior Day and I expect Snyder to go out of his college career on top.
What a career Snyder has had already. You can’t not respect him.
That said, I hope Stoll kicks his ass. Go Hawks.