Iowa's dual meet win over Rider last Friday night was a rout, which wasn't much of a surprise; Rider had a few very good wrestlers, but not enough top-to-bottom quality to really threaten Iowa in a dual. But if the dual outcome was never in question, there was one match that looked pretty intriguing, a Top 10 showdown at 157 between Iowa's Michael Kemerer (#2) and Rider's B.J. Clagon (#7). The match of the night was just as much of a one-sided rout as the dual, though: Kemerer crushed Clagon with an 18-5 major decision. He took Clagon down with relative ease in the first two periods and had a 10-2 lead through two; he used a reversal and some near fall points at the end of the third to extend his lead even further. As a result of that emphatic win, Kem earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors:
Michael Kemerer of @Hawks_Wrestling earns #B1GWrestle Wrestler of the Week honors after defeating Riders seventh-ranked B.J. Clagon with an 18-5 major decision | https://t.co/ASRnUNYlRH pic.twitter.com/AF2APK3WMB— Big Ten Wrestling (@B1GWrestling) November 28, 2017
This was definitely a statement win for Kemerer. Right now he's not just beating his opponents, he's demolishing them. At the Iowa City Duals Kem had two first period pins and was thisclose to a third; he had to settle for a 17-2 technical fall moments into the second period. Kem wrestled the Duals like he was in a hurry to get somewhere else (maybe he had post-match reservations at Wig and Pen). Obviously the competition he faced at the Duals wasn't great, but it's still notable that he's buzzsawing through opponents like this. Kem hit the ground running and was very good last year, but he wasn't a notable pinner -- just four his 33 wins came via fall. He's already halfway to that total this year and if he wrestles the rest of the season like he has the first few matches, he's going to blow that total out of the water. Big bonus point wins and pins have been a staple of Penn State's recent dominance; Iowa getting more guys who do that in their own matches is the first step the Hawkeyes need to take to chase down the Nittany Lions.
This is the first time in his career that Kemerer has received Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors, but I'm going to go out on a (pretty firm) limb and say that it won't be the last time. Remember: he's just starting his sophomore season -- we have almost three more years of watching him tear through opponents at 157 lbs. Let's sit back and enjoy the ride.
For the season Kemerer is 4-0 with all four wins coming with bonus points. Kemerer's next match should be on Friday, likely against Illinois' Kyle Langenderfer, ranked #17 at 157 lbs in InterMat's new rankings. After that Kemerer should have a very interesting match against Rugers' Richie Lewis, ranked #8 at 157 lbs and fresh off a gold medal at 70 KG at the U23 World Championships where he beat his five opponents by a combined score of 45 to 11. Give 'em hell, Kem.