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WRASSLIN: Iowa heads to the land of Lincoln

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Hawks to take on Illinois, Northwestern

NCAA Wrestling: Big Ten Wrestling Championship
Let’s pick up a couple wins, guys.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend could be an interesting one for the Iowa wrestling team.

The Hawkeyes will take on No. 20 Illinois (2-3, 1-2 Big Ten) on Friday at 8 p.m. followed by a Sunday marquee against Northwestern at 2 p.m. The dual against the Illini will be on Big Ten Network, while the Hawks take on the Wildcats streaming live on Big Ten 2 Go and FloWrestling.

It should be interesting. Iowa’s probables are below:

HawkeyeSports (thanks, Chris)

All the rankings here are from Intermat, which has six Hawkeye wrestlers in the top-five of their weights this week. It continually amazes me how young most of these guys are, if you think about it. As much as this year has great potential to be fun, the next two are going to be exciting as well.

Anyways, it seems everyone’s healthy. This is Sam Stoll’s first appearance on the wrestling note probables this year, which is probably a fairly good indication he’s fully back in action. That said, it wouldn’t entirely shock me to see Aaron Costello get one of these duals — but even then it seems a bit doubtful as Stoll needs some matches.

After this week, Iowa has just five duals left and these are matches Iowa’s going to need for seeding purposes for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. That’s getting out a bit far, but March is closing fairly fast.

But let’s move on to the (projected) Illinois lineup.

*scans starters*

Hello, Joey Gunther. If you’ll remember, Gunther is a former Hawk and left over the summer. It made sense, of course and I think the overriding feeling is that there really are no hard feelings. I mean Iowa has Alex Marinelli, who could blame him for finding a new place to wrestle?

Gunther was adequate, if unspectacular at Iowa. With the way 165 has played out over the last five years or so for the Hawkeyes, he provided a body that would probably win quite a few more matches than he lost — a win. He finished with a 36-19 record at Iowa, with a 10-4 mark in Big Ten duals and once finished 6th at the conference championships. He made the NCAA field twice.

And that’s... that. He’s 15-7 on the year and Marinelli should maul him.

Moving on, I think it’s rather interesting that every single one of the Illini wrestlers hail from the state itself outside of Mike Carr. Overall, Illinois doesn’t match up real well with the Hawkeyes and i think the good guys roll in this dual.

It might be a bit closer than some might expect, but I don’t see much to worry about. There will be a couple interesting matches — I’m especially 184. It’ll be interesting to see how Cash Wilcke stacks up against Emery Parker and i don’t believe they’ve ever faced off at the collegiate level.

Anyways, let’s move on to the Wildcats.

Water is wet, the sky is blue and Northwestern wrestling has a handful of decent wrestlers while the rest of their team stinks. Tell me something I don’t know.

The biggest match here, of course, will be Spencer Lee vs. Sebastian Rivera. It’s a rematch of the Midlands Championships and it very well could be a preview of the NCAA finals. I have a feeling Lee took that loss personally and be looking to avenge it.

I’m very much looking forward to it.

There’s another spot of revenge on the line as well: Ryan Deakin beat Kaleb Young in the finals of the Midlands Championships as well. Iowa should run through the meet, but Young and Lee’s matches certainly make it worth watching.

And, of course, who doesn’t enjoy Iowa wrestling cause utter destruction on an opponent?