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Big Ten Wrestling Championship preview: 125-157

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Wrestling in.... Lansing?

(AP Photo)

With the Big Ten Wrestling Championships coming this weekend, Danny and I decided to split the list and preview each weight for Iowa. The fun begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. Only the Sunday finals (2 p.m.) will be televised on BTN, though BTN+ will have coverage online throughout the tournament. Mark Ironside and Steven Grace are on the radio call, however.

Since the Big Ten decides to move around its host sight for the conference wrestling championships, Iowa will be wrestling in Lansing, Michigan this weekend.

It’s kind of ridiculous, if you ask me. If you’ll remember, just two seasons ago, Michigan State was so bad at wrestling they finished with negative points at the 2015 NCAA Championships.

Not, uh, nice.

Anyways, I guess we’ll have to grin and bear it. I just don’t see the point in having the Big Ten Championships — the second-best college wrestling tournament of the year — in a place and a school without any kind of history to speak of is preposterous.

Just put it at a neutral site. Anyways.

125 — Spencer Lee

Year: Freshman
Record: 14-0 (8-0 vs. field)
B1G Seed: 2 (of 14)
B1G NCAA auto-qualifiers: 10

Currently on an eight-match winning streak that’s included just two close matches, Lee is wrestling at an extremely high level right now. His last two matches have been pins and he’s beaten every Big Ten wrestler here’s come across this season.

It’s going to be fun to watch him in this tournament. He’ll make the NCAAs, but it would be pretty special to see him win the conference as a freshman.

That said, 125 is a tough weight in the Big Ten this season. He hasn’t faced top-ranked Nick Suriano (Rutgers) and just barely beat Nathan Tomasello. Lee is tough though and has faced six wrestlers ranked in the top-10 when they met.

There’s plenty of expectation here. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to him.

133 — Paul Glynn

Year: Sophomore
Record: 8-9 (4-6 all time vs. field)
B1G seed: Unseeded (of 7)
B1G NCAA auto-qualifiers: 8

Glynn hasn’t exactly been a revelation at 133 this season, but with a little luck he might just sneak into the NCAA tournament. He’s got wins over a couple Big Ten guys this season and has kept things fairly close in most of his ranked matches.

At this point, getting into the tournament and getting a couple points for the Hawkeyes is the important thing. Brackets haven’t been released yet, but chances are he loses in the first round and fight his way back through consolations.

That’s not exactly a bad thing.

141 — Vince Turk

Year: Sophomore
Record: 9-6 (2-4 all time vs. field)
B1G seed: Unseeded (of 8)
B1G NCAA auto-qualifiers: 8

Turk is getting the nod in the Big Ten Championships after beating Carter Happel 6-1 in a wrestle off. Tough for Happel, but that’s just the way life goes sometimes.

Turk really hasn’t wrestled a whole lot competitively since Midlands, starting just five matches. A nice major decision win against a mediocre Ian Parker gives me a little confidence here, but like Glynn, I’m just not expecting a whole lot.

Sitting at just two wins against Big Ten wrestlers this year, it’ll be nice if he can lock down a spot and perhaps have a slight run for a bit better seed.

149 — Brandon Sorensen

Year: Senior
Record: 19-1 (8-5 all time vs. field)
B1G seed: 2 (of 14)
B1G NCAA auto-qualifiers: 9

Sorensen has five losses to Big Ten wrestlers in this field. All five are to Zain Retherford.

It’s almost a given that Sorensen and Retherford will meet in the finals, but stranger things have happened. 149 is a fairly strong weight in the conference this season and nothing here will be easy. But, that said, Sorensen is on a mission.

This is his last season.

He’s never won a Big Ten title.

He’s never won a NCAA title.

That has to eat at him. He’s certainly one of the better wrestlers in Iowa history, but he hasn’t quite been able to win any sort of championship. Maybe, just maybe, he gets it done this season. I sure as hell hope so.

157 — Michael Kemerer

Year: Sophomore
Record: 20-0 (14-2 all time vs. field)
B1G seed: T-1
B1G NCAA auto-qualifiers: 8

Kemerer didn’t see Jason Nolf when Iowa and Penn State wrestled earlier in the season, which complicates things tremendously. Nolf was injured in a Jan. 28 meet against Rutgers and hasn’t wrestled since.

It’s expected he’ll wrestle in the Big Ten tournament, which makes this weight pretty wide open. The No. 1 seed will be decided at the pre-tournament Big Ten coaches meeting between Kemerer and Nolf. It’ll be extremely interesting how that plays out.

Meanwhile, Kemerer is 53-3 in his career, which is pretty incredible to think about. Two of those losses, of course, have been to Nolf, but they were both fairly close.

If Nolf isn’t 100-percent and Kemerer is at his best, the Iowa 157-pounder may just set himself up real well at the NCAA tournament. This is going to be something to watch and it certainly will be exciting.