Our Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers had quite the busy weekend. We defeated Indiana 37-9 in our final home dual of the season and then immediately hit the snow-covered roads and ventured to the land of cheese where we capped off a perfect conference season as we put #14 Wisconsin through the grater, 35-2.
That of course concluded our conference season at a perfect 9-0 (14-0 overall) and gives us a share of the Big Ten regular season championship. This marks the eight time we have had an undefeated season under head coach Tom Brands. Well who do we have to share it with and why? You guessed it, that other team is none other than #1 Penn State. Who else would have the audacity to run their record to 9-0 (13-0).
Some are going to say we don’t deserve it because of our “weak” schedule that lacked Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan. Some say we don’t deserve it because PSU and tOSU are both ranked higher. Some are going to say this, some are going to say that. I am going to say we earned a share of the title and should be proud of it. We had to wrestle the schedule that the B1G put on us and we wrestled it perfectly. Very few teams out there had to deal with the challenges we faced, illness, injury, plague, especially over the first two months of the season.
Bottom line, we can only wrestle who we wrestle, and we cannot change that. I’m hoping some of our more knowledgeable fans will chime in here and correct me if I am wrong, but even if we had scheduled PSU or tOSU on our own, it wouldn’t have counted for or against our conference record considering the B1G already had our NINE conference duals laid out. But never fear, next season we face all three of those wonderfully polite and cheerful teams/ fan bases.
So what did we do this weekend?
IOWA 37, INDIANA 9
125 -- #2 Spencer Lee pinned Elijah Oliver, 4:12 Iowa 6, IN 0
133 -- #3 Austin DeSanto tech. fall Paul Konrath, 18-3 Iowa 11, IN 0
141 -- Kyle Luigs pinned #18 Max Murin, 6:15 Iowa 11, IN 6
149 -- #16 Pat Lugo pinned Fernie Silva, 1:22 Iowa 17, IN 6
157 -- Jake Danishek dec. Jeren Glosser, 5-1 Iowa 17, IN 9
165 -- #2 Alex Marinelli pinned Dillon Hoey, 2:10 Iowa 23, IN 9
174 – Mitch Bowman dec. Jacob Covaciu, 3-1 Iowa 26, IN 9
184 -- #14 Cash Wilcke dec. Norman Conley, 5-2 Iowa 29, IN 9
197 -- #4 Jacob Warner maj dec. Jake Kleimola, 16-5 Iowa 33, IN 9
285 -- #8 Sam Stoll maj dec. Fletcher Miller, 16-6 Iowa 37, IN 9
It wasn’t the prettiest of duals Friday on Senior night, but the final score doesn’t reflect how sloppy we actually appeared at times. Even though we won 8 of 10 matches (six by bonus), there were a few close calls and specifically, two heartbreaking loses.
125: Spencer Lee is looking better and better and he had Elijah Oliver look silly. Lee was rocking the re-bar and racking up NF. He had an 11-0 lead then he decided to put Oliver out of his misery, though he wasn’t going down without a fight, even jamming his thumb into Lee’s eye socket as he squirmed on his back. The cheap shot (may have been accidentaly, but it didn’t look it) didn’t work and Lee ended it in 4:12. Lee is rounding into form, at the right time.
FALL ALERT!!— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) February 16, 2019
No. 2 Spencer Lee goes to work early on Elijah Oliver. He gets the pin in period 2, in the 125lbs match.
The No. 3 @Hawks_Wrestling are up early on Indiana 11-0.
141: Max Murin really struggled in his match and it ultimately cost him as he ended his night staring up, counting the lights. He looked unsteady on his feet, flashed his back one too many times, but ultimately what did him in was his awful takedown conversion rate. He was in deep on eight separate occasions, but failed to score on every one of them. As Mark Perry said, “That’s 16 points left off the board, and that’s not good.” To add insult to injury, Murin kept exposing his ankles and Luigs would dive in and take advantage and create a stalemate. Murin got pinned and he didn’t give up a single TD… that’s not good as well. He has a lot of work to do in a very, very short amount of time. BTW- Murin has tumbled out of the rankings following this loss.
157: Kaleb Young sat this one out and Jeren Glosser received the spot start. Glosser didn’t get anything going and only mustered one point (escape in the 2nd). He clearly didn’t bring his A game tonight, but this is also his second match since the Midlands. It’s hard to fault a guy that sees limited action, but Glosser is a much better wrestler than what he showed against Indiana.
174: Mitch Bowman picked up his first signature win of the season at his new weight. It was a hard-fought brawl that literally had my heart racing. Bowman and Covaciu were back and forth and flashing some great defense following great shots by both. Bowman got the upper hand late and landed the match winning TD even later.
It was a great moment for Bowman, in front of the Iowa faithful, in his last appearance in CHA. This one we’ll remember for a long time.
285: Fletcher Miller isn’t elite, but he’s a serviceable heavyweight and Sam Stoll took it to him. Big Sam got in on the TD/cut release/TD action and racked up 16 points without a single NF. That’s pretty impressive for the big guy and he looked good doing it. He’s had two nice rebounds following his disastrous performance against Nebraska.
IOWA 35, WISCONSIN 2
125: #2 Spencer Lee pinned Ethan Rotondo, :56 Iowa 6, Wis 0
133: #3 Austin DeSanto maj dec. Jens Lantz, 21-8 Iowa 10, Wis 0
141: Vince Turk maj. dec. Michael Cullen, 11-1 Iowa 14, Wis 0
149: #11 Pat Lugo dec. #12 Cole Martin 3-1 (SV1) Iowa 17, Wis 0
157: # 7 Kaleb Young maj. dec. Garrett Model, 11-2 Iowa 21, Wis 0
165: # 2 Alex Marinelli dec. #3 Evan Wick, 6-4 (SV1) Iowa 24, Wis 0
174: Mitch Bowman tech. fall Anders Lantz, 27-9 Iowa 29, Wis 0
184: No. 14 Cash Wilcke dec. Mason Reinhardt, 6-5 Iowa 32, Wis 0
197: No. 4 Jacob Warner maj. dec. Beau Breske, 9-0 Iowa 36, Wis 0
285: # 6 Trent Hillger dec. # 8 Sam Stoll, 1-0* Iowa 35, Wis 2
*Some extracurricular activities occurred following the heavyweight match. Both teams were deducted a team point*
It’s dumb for me to say we needed a rebound following the Indiana dual, but I’m dumb so I’m going to say it. We needed a rebound and we got one. The team as a whole raised their energy, their levels, and got after it early and often. We kept Wisconsin off the scoreboard up to the heavyweight match before Sam Stoll took the mat. We won 9 of 10 matches, six by bonus, including one pin, one tech. fall, and four major decisions.
Wisconsin is a talented team and we thoroughly took it to them. Overall the only blemish on the night was Stoll’s ugly loss, which I will dissect with a dull knife below.
Some More Notable Notables:
125: I said Lee was looking good against Indiana, well he looked even better here. He stuck Rotondo in :56 seconds.
Since Lee’s upset to Rivera he’s been on a mission, especially over the past 3 weeks. He’s now gotten pins in 5 of his last 6 and he only has six on the season. You can clearly see he’s still racking up the NF, but he’s not content on the tech. fall anymore. He wants to pin his antagonist and make a statement. He’s making a huge statement. Spencer Lee is back.
133: Like Lee, Austin DeSanto is on a mission and his mission starts and ends with takedowns. Austin’s go-to move over the past few weeks has been the Fireman’s carry and he had it on display against Lantz.
Austin DeSanto lights up the scoreboard on his way to a 21-8 major decision. pic.twitter.com/lrKS42EWrW— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) February 17, 2019
I believe he tallied eight TD’s and may I point out that Lantz is a solid grappler in his own right. Austin is simply peaking and wrestling the best of his career. BTW- Austin is so zoned in he was even giving the ref stalling calls and swiping his own near fall points at the end. I. Love. IT.
141: After Murin’s severe stumble and faceplant two nights before, Vince Turk got the start here and he didn’t disappoint. It took a couple periods for Turk to get going, but he was active, mobile, and energized. He had a beautiful TD as he dragged his feet to secure the two as they were going out of bounds. He immediately barred the arm on the restart and tilted Cullens for 4NF. Before we knew what happened Turk was in major decision territory and didn’t look back. Turk showed us he still has the high pace and good offense, in fact I think his offensive abilities are a bit higher than Murin’s at the moment, but he still struggles on his feet at times, especially when he’s not the aggressor. Some may want Turk in, but Murin has wrestled too much this year to bail on him quite yet. But if he struggles against Okie St. next week then we’ll see…
149: This was Lugo’s toughest test since his loss to now #1 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) a month ago. I want to be clear, this was one of the most exciting 3-1 matches I have ever seen. Lugo and Martin got after each other. Each showing smooth offense followed by elite defense. The score was low, but the pace was sky high. Martin is at least 6 inches taller and that length usually gives Lugo all sorts of fits, it was nice to see him neutralize that advantage with his quickness and strength. Lugo kept his wits and pulled it off in sudden victory. Awesome win.
165: This was the re-match we were all waiting for and it did not disappoint! On top of this being #2 vs #3, Alex was also dealing with the emotionality on the night where both teams gave their respects and honored Wisconsin’s fallen wrestler, Eli Stickley, who passed away last year. Eli and Alex were close friends and in fact Eli’s twin sister, Moriah, in engaged to Alex. The weight of this night must have been heavy, but he was ready. The action was a bit higher than the last time they met at Midlands. Both guys scored TD’s, but unfortunately Alex did get ridden for the entire 2nd period again. Wick is an elite rider. He’s a leg rider and he might be the tallest 165-pounder in the country. But The Bull is improving because following a quick Wick TD to start the 3rd, Alex managed a reversal, I believe his first against Wick, and rode him until time expired to force sudden victory. Upon the restart in OT Bull wasted no time, got in deep on a leg, hooked the other, and scored the TD to win it.
Da Bull Da Bull Da Bull Da Bull Da Bull pic.twitter.com/GSeWJMCYtV— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 17, 2019
Alex is growing up before our eyes. Not only is he insanely physically strong, he’s just as mentally strong. He’s a true title contender.
285: This just wasn’t Stoll’s night. He continues to struggle against the smaller, quicker heavyweights and especially anybody that can throw in a leg. The score was tied 0-0 and Stoll elected to go down to start the 3rd. Again, why does this keep happening? Stoll’s decision or the coaches? Either way, it’s a serious error and one that cost him his 2nd loss on the season. Hillger threw in the leg and broke Stoll for the entire 3rd period to secure the 1-0 win due to riding time. Stoll escaped against Youssif Hemida (Maryland) last week and I have no doubt he thought he could replicate this feat, unfortunately for him, Hillger is just a good enough leg rider and Stoll still hasn’t figured out how to counter it and I’m beginning to think he won’t. Following the match there was some jawing going on and Hillger pushed, no he roughly shoved Stoll right between the shoulder blades. Stoll turned on him and threw his headgear, hitting Hillger in the chest. Hillger then marched forward with some more choice words before the benches cleared and the coaches separated the big men. Ultimately, both teams were deducted a team point.
Stoll always seems bitter after a defeat, but I didn’t see anything that deserved the shove he received. Likewise, he needs to be smart and just walk off the mat. It wasn’t a good look for Wisconsin directly following the beautiful and touching tribute to Eli. What should have been a night of celebration quickly soured under the boos and jeers from the Badger faithful. Early on they got rowdy over, what they thought, were missed stall calls. News flash Wisconsin: you won’t get calls in your favor when you’re getting throttled 36-0!!!
All in all, it was a great finish to the weekend. I didn’t note it, but Jacob Warner and Kaleb Young also looked great. Warner is rounding into form, his energy is finally looking good late in the 3rd, and his defense is top notch. Likewise, KY’s offense was better. He looked more confident in his skills and that’s something he desperately needs moving forward.
Despite the lopsided victories there’s still question marks that remain with little time to answer them. What do we do with Max Murin? If he fizzles out next week, does Turk get the nod come B1G’s? I doubt it, I think he wrestles out the season. Can Stoll gather himself just enough and find the podium this year? Right now he walks like it hurts. Allegedly he even struggles to lace up his shoes. The guy is undoubtedly a warrior and we need him. He has given us so much and he owes us nothing, but we’re going to ask him for more. As another big man said:
“I ain’t as good as I once was, But I’m as good once, as I ever was.”
Can he give us three more elite days in late March?
Next up we take on the #4 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, OK to close out our season. Let’s go get it done. Let’s finish this season 15-0.