Friday, February 15th, 2019 is a sad day for Hawkeye wrestling. No, it’s a happy day… but still a sad day.
As we welcome the Indiana Hoosiers into Carver-Hawkeye Arena for our final home dual meet of this season, we also pay tribute and ultimately, say goodbye to our seniors. That’s right, another class has come and is now on the teetering edge of going, but not yet.
We bid farewell to our three seniors: Perez Perez, Mitch Bowman, and Sam Stoll.
(It’s hard to believe we only have three seniors on this team)
Gentlemen, we cannot thank you enough for the blood, sweat, tears, and dedication you have given to the greatest team in the greatest sport. The Iowa Hawkeyes have a long history of outstanding wrestlers, that have more importantly, turned into amazing young men and you continue to honor that legacy. From BHGP, thank you.
But before we make things official, we must first officially throttle Indiana. And you seniors will help us!
On paper it would appear that Indiana has had a rough season so far, but they are better than their record shows. They’re 5-10 overall, but a rough 1-6 in conference competition. They were in the midst of a three-meet losing streak before they welcomed #25 Stanford into Bloomington and decided to vent their frustration and beat them, 30-7. The day before they lost a tightly contest dual to #12 Rutgers, 11-24. Rutgers only had a five-point lead going into the eighth match before Rutgers had back-to-back majors to put things away. Indiana can compete, especially if they are firing on all cylinders.
They do have some solid wrestlers with solid experience sprinkled throughout the lineup. Elijah Oliver and Bryce Martin are returning NCAA qualifiers from last year while Jake Danishek qualified in 2016, and Fernie Silva was division II All-American last year, taking home 3rd place.
Martin is the only Indiana wrestler that appears in any of the major rankings, coming in at #24 on Trackwrestling at 165lbs.
We’re coming off our second shutout win of the season and eyeing Indiana for our third. And it’s entirely possible.
I’m unsure if we can top the 48 points we put on Maryland last week, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially if our starting lineup takes the mat as we expect it to.
As you can see, Austin DeSanto is back so we’re supposed to be at full strength, but that’s never stopped head coach Tom Brands from playing tricks on us before and this is of course senior night at CHA. Two of the three seniors (Bowman and Stoll) are already starters, so that leaves Perez Perez with an outside chance of going instead of Spencer Lee. Does it happen though?
Wrestlestat has us surviving a shootout with these Hoosiers, 36-4, with our lone loss coming at 174lbs. Personally, I think they’re wrong and we keep Indiana off the scoreboard.
KEY MATCH UPS:
125: #2 Spencer Lee // Perez Perez vs Elijah Oliver // Liam Cronin. Whether it’s Lee or Perez, I think this is going to be a win for our Hawks. Oliver is a returning NCAA qualifier and probably gets the nod, but even if Perez goes, I think he’s going to feed off the CHA faithful and get the job done in what would be his last time in a Hawkeye singlet. This would also be his first win on the season. What a way to go out! Though ultimately, I will be surprised if he gets the nod. Lee is looking better, he’s on the mend, but he does need more mat time. There’s only three duals left before Big Tens and he still isn’t where he wants to be.
133: #3 Austin DeSanto vs Garrett Pepple // Paul Konrath. This marks DeSanto’s return to action following his overzealous behavior against Nebraska two weeks ago. The only thing that makes this noteworthy Is that we truly have no idea what Austin is going to do after every match. He needs to learn to stay under control when that final whistle blows and that needs to start right now against Pepple or Konrath.
165: #2 Alex Marinelli vs Bryce Martin. Martin finds himself ranked #24 in trackwrestling and is a returning NCAA qualifier. He has quietly compiled a respectable 17-7 record on the season and has a few nice wins to go along with it. He even narrowly lost an 8-6 decision to #10 Mekhi Lewis (VT) earlier in the season. Of his seven loses, three have been by fall. The way Marinelli has been pounding on the head and forcing that ¾ nelson, this match could have a similar result. Either way, Martin is a quality opponent and could prove to be a guy that can go a full seven with The Bull.
174: Mitch Bowman vs Jacob Covaciu. On paper Bowman is our only underdog of the night. He’s of course been struggling since his cut from 197lbs, but he looked much better last week, and I think that paper is severely underestimating his drive on senior night. Covaciu is a Wisconsin transfer and one of the only bright spots in this Indiana lineup. He’s 15-7 and even went a full seven against PSU’s #1 Mark Hall, holding him to a 12-4 major a few weeks back. This will be a tough test for Bowman, but one I’m looking forward to. Bowman was wearing a shoulder brace last week, but his energy level looked normal, so will it be again? Has he finally settled into 174lbs? This match will help us judge our expectations as we begin to looks ahead at the tournaments to come.
PROJECTED LINE UPS:
125: #2 Spencer Lee (14-1) // Perez Perez (0-6) vs Elijah Oliver (22-13) // Liam Cronin (18-13)
133: #3 Austin DeSanto (14-1) vs Garrett Pepple (14-10) // Paul Konrath (18-8)
141: #18 Max Murin (12-4) vs Kyle Luigs (12-13)
149: #16 Pat Lugo (12-6) vs Fernie Silva (3-7) // Breyden Bailey (9-10)
157: #7 Kaleb Young (14-3) vs Jake Danishek (15-10)
165: #2 Alex Marinelli (17-0) vs Bryce Martin (17-7)
174: Mitch Bowman (5-4) vs Jacob Covaciu (15-7)
184: #14 Cash Wilcke (15-3) vs Norman Conley (16-11)
197: #4 Jacob Warner (11-2) vs Jake Kleimola (9-13)
285: #8 Sam Stoll (7-1) vs Fletcher Miller (8-4) // Brandon Streck (4-14)