Iowa Crowns Five Champions, Bulldozes Field at Midlands

By RossWB on January 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm
Kemerer is King.
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So Midlands is well in the rear view mirror at this point, but we should probably talk about it a little bit, right? I'll try to keep this fairly brief.

Iowa won their 27th team title at the Midlands Championships last weekend in dominating fashion, crowning five champions (at 149, 157, 165, 197, and 285) and crushing the next closest challenger by almost 50 points. This was not the strongest field Midlands has seen, but it was still a pretty impressive performance from Iowa. They dominated at several weights and racked up bonus points wherever possible -- that's what we hope to see whenever Iowa wrestlers take the mat. 


1) 156.5 -- Iowa
2) 109.5 -- Rutgers
3) 108.0 -- Central Michigan
4) 106.5 -- Arizona State

Arizona State finished a very distant fourth, despite this prediction from FloWrestling before Midlands: Arizona State Will Beat Iowa At Midlands, And Here's Why



(10) Spencer Lee (3-1, 6th)
R2 Killian Cardinale (Old Dominion-unattached) W, FALL (1:20)
R3 (7) Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) W, TECH FALL (17-2)
QF (2) Sean Russell (Edinboro) W, TECH FALL (15-0)
SF (3) Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) L, DEC (3-1)
CONSO (9) Zeke Moisey (West Virginia) L, MED FORFEIT
5th Place (2) Sean Russell (Edinboro) L, MED FORFEIT

I talked about Lee's performance earlier this week in the post discussing the decision not to redshirt him this season, so go there for more discussion on Lee at Midlands. And definitely read this breakdown of Lee's efforts at Midlands by The Des Moines Register's Cody Goodwin; it definitely nails his strengths, as well as what went wrong against Bresser in the semifinals. 

Justin Stickley (2-2, DNP)
R1 (16) Connor Brown (South Dakota State) W, DEC (5-4)
R2 Kirk Johansen (NIU) W, DEC (6-2)
R3 (1) Nick Suriano (Rutgers) L, TECH FALL (19-4)
CONSO Joshua Kramer (Arizona State) L, DEC (8-4)

Stickley picked up a few wins before running into the Suriano juggernaut in round three, then lost in his first match in the consos. An okay performance overall, but also not one that matters much this season now that Spencer Lee is not redshirting. 


Paul Glynn (3-2, DNP)
R1 (5) Ben Thornton (Purdue) W, DEC (5-1)
R2 Anthony Rubinetti (Northwestern) W, FALL (3:56)
R3 Jens Lantz (Wisconsin) W, DEC (3-2)
QF (4) Dylan Duncan (Illinois) L, DEC (6-1)
CONSO Paul Konrath (Wisconsin-unattached) L, DEC (8-5 OT)

Glynn's Midlands started really well with an upset win over 5-seed Ben Thornton, picked up bonus points in his next win and eked his way into the quarterfinals. He lost to the 4-seed there and then lost in sudden victory in his first match in the consolation bracket. 133 is still a topsy-turvy weight for Iowa, but Glynn's win over Thornton was a quality win and he managed to at least make a run to the quarters. It would have been nice to see him also put together a run in the consolation bracket, but overall a pretty solid showing for Glynn. 

(10) Phillip Laux (2-2, DNP)
R2 Michael DeLaPena (Indiana-unattached) W, DEC (9-2)
R3 (7) Micky Phillippi (Pittsburgh-unattached) L, DEC (6-2)
CONSO Noah Gonser (Eastern Michigan) W, DEC (6-3)
CONSO Colin Valdiviez (Northwestern) L, DEC (4-3)

Glynn's competition for the 133 lb spot had an up and down showing at Midlands. Laux won once and lost once on the championship bracket and the consolation bracket, but didn't pick up any wins of note or get bonus points. This was probably a chance for Laux to firm up his hold on the 133 lb starting spot, but it didn't really work out that way. 


(9) Max Murin (6-2, 5th Place)
R1 Grant Willits (Oregon State-unattached) W, MAJ DEC (17-7)
R2 Jason Ipsarides (Northwestern) W, DEC (6-2)
R3 (9) Colton Schilling (Cal Poly) L, FALL (3:35)
CONSO Ben Freeman (Michigan-unattached) MED FORFEIT
CONSO Michael Carr (Illinois) W, DEC (3-2)
CONSO (15) Pat D'Arcy (Princeton) W, DEC (8-3)
CONSO (6) Yahya Thomas (Northwestern-unattached) W, DEC (4-3)
CONSO (4) Tyler Smith (Bucknell) L, DEC (8-4)
5th Place (12) Carter Happel (Iowa) W, DEC (5-2)

Iowa had three wrestlers competing at 141 lbs and true freshman Max Murin had the best finish of the bunch, taking 5th place. Murin did most of his damage in the consolation bracket, he won two matches in the championship bracket, but got pinned by 9-seed Colton Schilling in the third round, He won three straight matches in the consos (and picked up a medical forfeit, too), including wins over the 6-seed and the 15-seed. Murin wrapped up his tournament with a win over Iowa teammate in the 5th place match. Despite that win and the slightly better overall finish, I don't think Murin put so much distance between himself and the field at 141 that he should come out of redshirt, too. The field at 141 at Midlands was especially weak and Murin didn't exactly dominate it. 

(12) Carter Happel (5-3, 6th)
R1 Noah Hermasillo (Adams University-unattached) W, TECH FALL (18-2)
R2 Lenny Petersen (Air Force) W, FALL (4:38)
R3 Jacob Lizak (Penn) W, MAJ DEC (10-2)
QF (4) Tyler Smith (Bucknell) L, MAJ DEC (11-3)
CONSO (11) M Vanschenkbrill (Rutgers) W, DEC (3-1)
CONSO (8) Colton Schilling (Cal Poly) W, DEC (12-8)
CONSO Nate Limmex (Purdue) L, DEC (8-7)
5th Place (9) Max Murin (Iowa-unattached) L, DEC (5-2)

Happel had the best run in the championship bracket of any Iowa wrestler, making it to the quarterfinals before getting knocked off by 4-seed Tyler Smith. He didn't face any seeded opponents to get to that point, but did rack up bonus points along the way, with a pin, tech fall, and major decision. Happel went 2-2 in the consolation bracket, beating the 8- and 11-seeds before losing to Limmex and then Murin, his teammate. I think Happel put a bit of distance between himself and Turk in the battle for the starting job at 141 and while he didn't beat Murin, it was close enough that keeping Murin under redshirt seems to make sense. 

Vince Turk (3-2, DNP)
R1 (14) Alexander Jaffe (Harvard) W, DEC (6-2)
R2 Jaime Hernandez (Northwestern-unattached) W, DEC (7-4)
R3 (3) Cole Weaver (Indiana) L, DEC (8-3)
CONSO Cory Crooks (Arizona State) W, FALL (3:21)
CONSO (11) Mike Vanschenkbrill (Rutgers) L, FALL (2:12)

Turk's Midlands started with a win over the 14-seed, but he lost in the third round to the 3-seed Weaver. He split a pair of matches in the consolation bracket, pinning an opponent and then getting pinned himself. Turk probably needed a strong performance at Midlands to earn more starting opportunities and he was OK at Midlands, but he probably needed to something better than OK. 


(1) Brandon Sorensen (5-0, 1st Place)
R2 Davey Tunon (Indiana) W, FALL (3:52)
R3 (16) Kevin Budock (Old Dominion-unattached) W, TECH FALL (26-11)
QF (8) Eleazar Deluca (Rutgers) W, MAJ DEC (12-2)
SF (5) Jason Tsirtsis (Arizona State) W, DEC (3-1 OT)
Finals (2) Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) W, DEC (4-2)

Sorensen claimed his third Midlands title with a pretty strong effort. Sorensen picked up bonus points in all of his wins through the quarterfinals, with a pin, a technical fall, and a major decision -- that's the kind of active, aggressive, bonus point-seeking Sorensen we want to see, especially against weaker opponents. The scoring slowed down in the semifinals and finals, but his finals opponent (Oliver) is a top-5 wrestler at 149 lbs and Tsirtsis is notoriously difficult to score on. The Sorensen-Tshirt semifinal match was pretty much a dead ringer for all past Sorensen-Tshirt matches: a pair of escapes in regulation, but not much action other than that; Sorensen finally scored with a good shot in sudden victory. As usual with Sorensen, the wish is that he would just get to his offense early and often in matches. But as long as the match results in a win, we certainly have a bit less to gripe about. 

(10) Pat Lugo (6-2, 4th Place)
R1 Zach Krause (Brown) W, DEC (4-2)
R2 Isaac Reinemann (Illinois) W, DEC (7-4)
R3 (7) Josh Maruca (Arizona State) L, DEC (4-1)
CONSO (4) Brandon Wright (Indiana-unattached) W, DEC (9-2)
CONSO Joshua Cortez (Cal Poly) W, FALL (2:01)
CONSO (8) Eleazar Deluca (Rutgers) W, FORFEIT
CONSO Austin O'Connor (Northwestern-unattached) W, DEC (6-1)
CONSO (3) Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) W, FALL (4:38)
3rd place (6) Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) L, DEC (8-5)

Patrick Lugo ended up having a pretty decent showing at Midlands thanks to a good run in the consolation bracket. Lugo lost to the 7-seed in the third round, but put together four straight wins (and a forfeit) to get to the 3rd place match after that, which was nice to see. That included a lopsided decision win over post-grad Brandon Wright and a pin over 3-seed Matthew Kolodzik. It would have been nice to see him finish 3rd instead of 4th, but overall he did pretty well here. 

Jaren Glosser (4-2, DNP)
R1 Jordan Shearer (Nebraska) W, FALL (2:30)
R2 (4) Brandon Wright (Indiana-unattached) W, DEC (8-1)
R3 Austin O'Connor (Northwestern-unattached) L, DEC (7-4)
CONSO Tyler Meisinger (Michigan) W, MAJ DEC (9-1)
CONSO (12) Eric Barone (Illinois) W, DEC (3-1 OT)
CONSO (6) Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) L, DEC (4-2)

Glosser is kind of the forgotten man at 149, but he may his performance suggests that Lugo may have a bit of a battle on his hands next year to replace Sorensen. Glosser also had a lopsided decision win over post-grad Brandon Wright, but lost in the third round to Northwestern's Austin O'Connor. He won two matches in the consolation bracket before losing to Northwestern's Deakin (who also beat Lugo in the consolation bracket). There were some encouraging results here, though, and Glosser continues to improve at 149. 


Michael Kemerer (6-0, 1st Place)
R1 Gene 'Ol Pierce (Arizona State) W, FALL (2:35)
R2 Dylan Geick (Columbia-unattached) W, FALL (1:30)
R3 Brett Donner (Rutgers) W, FALL (1:25)
QF (9) Jake Danishek (Indiana) W, FALL (4:24)
SF (5) Justin Staudenmayer (Brown) W, TECH FALL (19-4)
Finals (2) Joshua Shields (Arizona State) W, DEC (5-2)

Kemerer was Iowa's most dominant wrestler at Midlands as he steamrolled the field to the finals. He didn't see even see the second round of a match until the quarterfinals and didn't wrestle a full seven minutes until the finals against Shields, the 2-seed who happens to be a former high school teammate. Four pins and a technical fall is the level of offensive activity we want to see out of Iowa's best guys and Kemerer delivered on that front. A 5-2 win over Shields isn't bad, either, although it would have been nice to see him get more than one takedown and continue to push the pace on offense. But that's mostly a quibble; Kemerer was excellent at Midlands.


Alex Marinelli (4-0, 1st Place)
R2 Johnny Blankenship (Nebraska) W, FALL (6:05)
QF (7) Jonathan Viruet (Brown) W, DEC (3-2)
SF (3) Richie Lewis (Rutgers) W, DEC (3-2)
Finals (5) Jon Schleifer (Princeton) W, DEC (3-1 OT)

Marinelli had the easiest path to a title of any of Iowa's five Midlands champions, thanks to the small bracket at 165 lbs -- he only had to wrestle four matches. He won them all, including another win over Rutgers' Richie Lewis, but his offense didn't really get on track after the pin in his first match. He only had a pair of 3-2 wins and a 3-1 overtime win over Schleifer in the finals after that. Marinelli's capable of much more offense than that, so hopefully we see more of that from him as he gets more comfortable in the lineup. 

(8) Kaleb Young (6-2, 5th Place)
R1 Patrick Gerish (Maryland) W, MAJ DEC (15-3)
R2 Jacob Morrissey (Purdue) L, DEC (6-4 OT)
CONSO Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider-unattached) W, MAJ DEC (12-3)
CONSO Dale Tiongson (Princeton) W, MAJ DEC (17-3)
CONSO (6) Logan Parks (Central Michigan) W, MAJ DEC (8-0)
CONSO Logan Peterson (South Dakota State) W, DEC (8-3)
CONSO (1) Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) L, DEC (7-3)
5th Place (4) May Bethea (Penn) W, DEC (2-0)

Young suffered a bit of an upset los to Purdue's Morrissey in the second round, but responded with four straight wins in the consolation bracket before losing to 1-seed Anthony Valencia. Along the way Young picked up a major decision win over the 6-seed Logan Parks (one of four major decisions he recorded at Midlands) and also grabbed a win over 4-seed May Bethea in the 5th place match. This was a solid showing for Young, but with Marinelli at 165 as well, it sure seems like Young's ultimate future is at 174. Hopefully he can add weight and be effective up at that weight for Iowa. 


(11) Joey Gunther (3-2, DNP)
R2 Jordan Pagano (Rutgers) L, DEC (7-4)
CONSO Brit Wilson (Northwestern-unattached) W, DEC (3-2)
CONSO Matthew Gancayco (Princeton) W, DEC (8-2)
CONSO Jake Lanning (Buffalo-unattached) W, DEC (10-3)
CONSO (2) Mikey Labriola (Nebraska-unattached) L, DEC (4-3)

Gunther didn't have the best Midlands experience, losing in his first match on the championship bracket and then failing to place. He put together a mini-run in the consolation bracket, taking advantage of a bye and three wins before suffering a narrow loss to the 2-seed Mikey Labriola that ended his tournament. Gunther also failed to record bonus points in any of his three wins. 


(12) Mitch Bowman (2-2, DNP)
R1 Brett Perry (Buffalo) W, MAJ DEC (10-2)
R2 (5) Christian LaFragola (Brown) W, INJ DEF (3:52)
QF (4) Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan) L, DEC (6-1 OT)
CONSO (10) Martin Mueller (South Dakota State) L, DEC (7-5)

Mitch Bowman also had a forgettable Midlands run, winning his first two matches and then losing his next two, one in the quarterifnals and one in the consolation bracket to end his tournament. Bowman has given Iowa a hard-working option at 184, but he's struggled to string together wins, too. 


(3) Cash Wilcke (5-0, 1st Place)
R1 Anthony Messner (Rutgers) W, FALL (4:45)
R2 Kyle Gentile (Lehigh-unattached) W, DEC (2-1)
QF (11) Pat Brucki (Princeton) W, DEC (5-2)
SF (7) Jacob Warner (Iowa-unattached) W, FALL (7:25)
Finals (5) Frank Mattiace (Penn) W, DEC (3-1 OT)

Wilcke was probably Iowa's most surprising Midlands champion, but it was a just reward for wrestling well and steadily improving. Wilcke had a few bonus point wins, including a first-round pin and a semifinal pin in overtime over teammate Jacob Warner, but most of his matches were very close, including a nervy 2-1 win in the second round and a 3-1 win in sudden victory in the finals. Wilcke has some good shots -- he just needs to trust them earlier in matches at times. But Wilcke got the job done in the end and we salute him for that. 

(7) Jacob Warner (3-3, 6th Place)
R1 Tyler Johnson (NC State) W, DEC 8-2)
R2 (10) Jackson Striggow (Michigan) W, MAJ DEC (11-3)
QF (2) Jacob Smith (West Virginia) W, DEC (3-1)
SF (3) Cash Wilcke (Iowa) L, FALL (7:25)
CONSO (8) Christian Brunner L, DEC (10-6)
5th Place (11) Pat Brucki (Princeton) L, DEC (4-2)

The first half of Warner's first Midlands went very well, with three wins, including a major decision over the 10-seed and an upset win over the 2-seed Jake Smith. But things went sour after that, losing via pin in overtime to teammate Wilcke and then dropping two decisions in the consolation bracket. I didn't see the consolation matches so I'm not sure what happened there, but hopefully it was a blip for Warner. He remains one of Iowa's most promising young wrestlers and a star-in-the-making; it does seem like he needs a bit more seasoning, though. Given Wilcke's strong performances so far this year, keeping the redshirt on Warner seems like the right idea. 


Sam Stoll (5-0, 1st Place)
R2 Ian James (Buffalo) W, DQ
R3 Patrik Garren (Penn) W, DQ
QF (10) Zack Parker (Ohio) W, MAJ DEC (17-5)
SF (6) Conan Jennings (Northwestern) W, DEC (8-2)
Finals (1) Tanner Hall (Arizona State) W, DEC (2-1)

Stoll was Iowa's fifth Midlands champion and I'd say he had easily the weirdest path to a title of any Iowa wrestler. After getting a bye in the first round, Stoll won his next two matches via DQ when his opponents were both disqualified for picking up too many stalling penalties. You'd be lucky to see that once in a tournament, let alone twice -- and in back-to-back matches, no less. Stoll got more traditional victories in the quarters and semis (including an impressive 17-5 major decision in the quarters) before the weirdness returned in his 2-1 win over Hall in the finals. Stoll and Hall each recorded escapes, but the winning point for Stoll came via a penalty point against Hall for unsportsmanlike conduct; reportedly the refereee was not pleased with something Hall said. I hope whatever was said was really egregious, because otherwise it seems awfully harsh to ding a guy a point, even if it did benefit my team's wrestler. Stoll won the match, but this far from a convincing performance; without that penalty point this match looked destined for overtime and tiebreakers. Neither guy was all that close to recording a takedown in this one. Still, weird wins are still wins and we're not going to begrudge Sam Stoll any of those. 

Aaron Costello (0-2, DNP)
R1 (1) Tanner Hall (Arizona State) L, FALL (4:01)
CONSO Ian James (Buffalo) L, DEC (5-3)

Having your first-ever Midlands match against the 1-seed is quite a "welcome to Midlands!" moment and, alas, it went about as expected for Costello. He also lost his first match in the consolation bracket to end his tournament early. This was definitely a Midlands to forget for Costello, but hopefully he uses it as motivation to keep working and improving for the future. 

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