I hit everyone with the quick recap immediately following our 35-7 win over The Gophers that clinched us the Big Ten Regular Season Championships. Now, it’s time to dive into a full recap and break down the dual that was filled with great individual matches.
IOWA 35, MINNESOTA 6
184: #21 Owen Webster dec. over Cash Wilcke, 3-2. Iowa 0-3
197: #5 Jacob Warner major dec. over Hunter Ritter, 13-4. Iowa 4-3
285: #1 Gable Steveson dec. over #3 Tony Cassioppi, 7-5. Iowa 4-6
125: #1 Spencer Lee wins by forfeit. Iowa 10-6
133: #2 Austin DeSanto tech fall over Boo Dryden, 24-8. Iowa 15-6
141: #3 Max Murin dec. over #5 Mitch McKee, 6-4 SV1. Iowa 18-6
149: #2 Pat Lugo dec. over #7 Brayton Lee, 3-2. Iowa 21-6
157: #4 Kaleb Young dec. over #24 Ryan Thomas, 5-4 TB2. Iowa 24-6
165: #2 Alex Marinelli tech. fall over Kasper McIntosh, 21-6. Iowa 29-6
174: #1 Michael Kemerer pins #8 Devin Skatzka, 2:52. Iowa 35-6
Even with the Iowa High School Wrestling Districts going on over the weekend and a ridiculously late 8:30PM call time, 12,608 fans piled into Caver-Hawkeye Arena to witness Iowa cap off a perfect conference run that pushed our record to 11-0 (9-0). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it just rolls off the tongue with ease: We’re Big Ten Regular Season Champs!
We won eight of ten matches, including four by bonus points: One pin, two tech falls, and a major decision. All of this is excluding the medical forfeit we received at 125lbs. In all we wrangled up an additional 11 team points, which is the most we’ve had since we derailed The Boilermakers last month. We also won the takedown battle 30-7.
“We got sole possession of first place for the Big Ten. So, we go upstairs. Get some t-shirts, get some hats, take a couple pictures, and move on. I don’t say that lightly, I say that because that’s what you do.”
His brief post-dual presser is crammed with golden nuggets and highlights. It’s refreshing to see that despite locking up the B1G regular season title, they’re still hungry for more and continually use the word/ phrase, “onward” or “move on.” This is a team that is happy with the outcome, but they aren’t content. They are always analyzing the situations, whether it’s a win or a loss, and striving to be better.
This is similar to what we’ve heard from Brands in years past, but this time it feels different. This time, everyone is buying into it for a single-minded focus. They have horse blinders on and are zeroing in on their ultimate goal: an NCAA Team Title.
184: Brands finally shared some light on the Abe Assad/ Cash Wilcke situation.
“Assad could’ve went. You’ll see him in the lineup next week. It’s one of those things where [we] gotta be smart until the very end and not smart to kind of the end. So he’ll be ready. He was ready tonight.”
We’ve been speculating for a couple weeks now why Assad wasn’t going, now we know. Cash got the nod on military appreciation night and went out for one final hurrah in front of his home crowd. Sadly, he unceremoniously dropped the bout to Owen Webster, 2-3. Cash has always had the talent and the physical abilities, but could never put all phases together for a continued run. He was right in this match against a quality opponent, but just couldn’t pull it off when it mattered most. It’s reminiscent to his career in the Black & Gold. Always so close, but not quite there.
As frustrating as his offensive has been, he’s always been a quality and competent 184lber. But now it’s time to hand the reins back to Assad and see what he can do heading into the post season.
Iowa 0, Minn 3
197: After 184 put us into an early hole, Jacob Warner got himself and the team back on track with a major decision (his first since the Midlands). This is back-to-back matches that Warner has shown impressive quickness and speed. We’ve known he’s had the abilities, now hopefully he’s mentally back in the game and firing on all cylinders. He racked up an impressive six TD’s from a variety of positions and thoroughly dominated for 7 minutes. It was the compete performance we’ve been waiting for and hopefully this version of Jacob Warner is here to stay.
Iowa 4, Minn 3
285: This was the second consecutive dual where Cassioppi has been in the marquee match of the night and this was the second consecutive dual that he came out on the wrong end. Last week he was throttled by #2 Mason Parris. Here, he faced off with #1 Gable Steveson. Things started off with Steveson taking a swing at Big Cass that spotted our Hawk with an early one point advantage. However, that was short lived as Steveson went to work and pulled in two takedowns between the first and second periods.
Thanks to two escapes by Cass he still found himself in the match, tied 4-4, going into the third. But he never got to his offense and seemed to be on the reactionary side of things. Gable snagged one more TD and locked up the riding time to eventually win 7-5.
It’s clear that Big Cass is a level below Parris and Steveson, but it’s not a gap that he can’t bridge. But the question is: can he bridge it this year? If he doesn’t find a way to his offense then the answer is: No.
Iowa 4, Minn 6
125: Minnesota’s Patrick McKee allegedly weighed in, but he’s been nipped by the injury bug as well. As far as I’m aware, this was Lee’s first medical forfeit that went in his favor. I’d much rather see him on the mat, but it was an easy six points for Iowa and gave us the team lead for the remainder of the dual.
Iowa 10, Minn 6
133: Guess who’s back, back again. DeSanto’s back, tell a friend. Guess who’s back, guess who’s…
You get the idea.
Austin returned to the lineup and didn’t miss a step. He was rocking a slick and slender knee brace, but his mobility looked good, as well did his gas tank. He obliterated Boo Dryden (a 2019 NJCAA National Champ) with an impressive NINE takedowns that resulted in a 24-8 technical fall. This was about as good as we’ve seen DeSanto and assuming his knee continues to heal up, all signs point to him firing all rocket boosters come March.
Iowa 15, Minn 6
141: Per Brands, the medical staff finally gave Murin the greenlight and asked him if he felt like going. The end result speaks for itself. Max had never beaten Mitch McKee in two previous attempts and by doing so this time, he possibly secured the biggest win of his young career and easily the biggest win of this dual. Max’s incredible match deserves a more thorough breakdown:
Early in the first, McKee snapped a lightning quick duck under for two points that put Max in an early disadvantage. I think the whole fanbase begrudgingly groaned under their breath, “Here we go again.”
But Max had a different outcome in mind. Early in the 2nd Max was down 1-3, when McKee snapped him hard and Murin went with the momentum right into a blast double for his own TD that knotted things up. Now tt was tied 4-4 late in the 3rd when Mad Max nearly won it as time expired. A video review confirmed no TD so they headed into sudden victory. Murin stayed aggressive, but found himself on the wrong end of a front headlock. McKee tried taking Murin for a ride, but he was able to roll with move, squared back up, and got to another double leg for the 6-4 win in SV1.
For the first time all year he wasn’t wearing his shoulder brace. For the first time all year, he looks healthy. This was perhaps the best we’ve ever seen Max and if it’s any indication of things to come, it’s time to get excited.
Iowa 18, Minn 6
149: Several people are still frustrated with Lugo’s lack of bonus point wins on the season, but the bottom line is: he just wins. That’s all there is to it. It’s not pretty, it’s not flashy, but he finds a way to get it done and I think that’s impressive as hell.
Brayton Lee is an absolute stud, so don’t be surprised if we see him on the podium this year and the next three years after that. This was a fantastic win 3-2 for Lugo, no matter how we twist and turn the end result. Lugo is calm under pressure and is rarely out of position. Keeping a match close and tight is risky and could ultimately backfire, but it’s also telling that he’s not afraid to wrestle in these positions, especially against the best this class has to offer.
Having this ability is going to pay dividends come March. There are few wrestlers out there that can do what he can do.
Iowa 21, Minn 6
157: The underrated Ryan Thomas brought the heat in this match and gave KY all he could handle. He blast-doubled KY off the mat in the first period for an 2-0 lead, but hats off to our Hawkeye for battling back. Young got his own TD in the 2nd to take the lead, 4-2, but Thomas was able to escape in the 2nd and then again in the 3rd to force OT. We went through the entire first sudden victory without a score that pushed this match into the rare territory of tie-breakers and ride outs. Young rode Thomas in TB1 to give notch himself :30 of RT. Thomas rolled the dice and cut Young for an escape, going up 5-4, to try and win it off a takedown. KY held strong and initiated a time-consuming scramble off a Thomas shot as time expired. It was a bizarre and weird match that thankfully rolled our way.
KY has looked good lately, but he was flat and lacked his usual energy. I guess a positive note is that he overcame adversity and gutted out a win.
Iowa 24, Minn 6
165: This was vintage Alex Marinelli. This was vintage Bull stampeding his way through an opponent in an embarrassing fashion. It’s also hard to believe this is Marinelli’s first tech fall on the year.
Alex picked up six first period takedowns, followed by two more in the second, en route to a 21-6 thrashing. It was a TD clinic from the git-go and a season highlight reel all crammed into one match. This was his 9th bonus point win on the year.
Iowa 29, Minn 6
174: Kemerer has now majored, teched, and pinned three consecutive opponents since knocking off #1 Mark Hall. Kem is a run away train that is picking up speed at the right time. Whenever someone picks up two quick TD’s and cradles and stacks a returning All-American in the first period, it is noteworthy.
Devin Skatzka is good. But Michael Kemerer is wrestling on a different world right now. He’s a beast. And right now, he’s the best in this weight class. If he keeps up this momentum and this pace, he’s going to firmly push himself into the Hodge Trophy discussion.
What’s more, he’s looking better and better as the weeks roll on, which leads me to believe he’s still not wrestling at his best. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the field and I freakin’ love it.
Iowa 35, Minn 6
Up next we host No. 12 Oklahoma State on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 7PM CT.