Happy Spencer Lee debut day, friends! Spencer Lee's impending official debut in an Iowa singlet is of course the biggest news of the dual, but as Courtney Baumann noted, he won't be the only Iowa wrestler making his Carver-Hawkeye debut:
v fun! pic.twitter.com/sSZiRsm5Rl
— Courtney Baumann (@cbomb12) January 3, 2018
Marinelli and Happel entered Iowa's starting lineup for the dual meets against Rutgers and Maryland last month, but those duals were on the road. Iowa hasn't wrestled in front of the home faithful at CHA since a sluggish win over Illinois a month ago. Happel appears to have stabilized Iowa's tumultous 141 lb spot for the time being, while Marinelli is grinding away at 165. That said, there's one other hotly anticipated CHA debut that won't be happening tonight:
soon. you cant free the Lee & PDIII @ the same match... Carver would explode & Iowa City would riot! https://t.co/bFQSjaJjyw
— PDIIIHAWK (@iAmPatDowney) January 3, 2018
All signs seem to still be pointing toward Downey eventually suiting up for Iowa this season... just not yet. Perhaps it will happen at one of Iowa's next two duals (1/12 against Oklahoma State or 1/21 against Ohio State).
In the meantime... Spartans! Let's not mince words: this is going to be ugly. Sparty has exactly one ranked wrestler in their lineup, multiple freshmen or redshirt freshmen, and a slew of guys with losing records. And I expect Iowa to come in with a little more pep in their step after their Midlands triumph and with the excitement surrounding Lee's debut. I think that all adds up to a very dominating win for Iowa. But one more warm-up is fine -- Iowa's upcoming schedule (Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State) contains some real doozies. There will be plenty of tests over the next month.
all rankings via InterMat
125: Spencer Lee (FR, 6-1) vs Rayvon Foley (FR, 18-3)
Welcome to CHA, Mr. Lee. I think you're going to get along just fine here. Foley has an impressive record, but it's been built on some shaky competition; I expect Lee to put on a show here. A show that will end with him putting Foley's shoulders on the mat.
PREDICTION: Lee via FALL (Iowa 6-0)
133: Paul Glynn (SO, 5-5) OR Phillip Laux (SR, 9-3) vs Nathan Ellis (RS FR, 3-8) OR Matt Santos (RS FR, 4-4)
So many options! If only any of them were all that enticing... on either side. 133 remains a bit of a muddled mess on Iowa's side, but MSU isn't bringing much to the party here either; I expect either Glynn or Laux to be able to grind out a win here.
PREDICTION: Glynn/Laux via DEC (Iowa 9-0)
141: Vince Turk (SO, 6-4) OR Carter Happel (RS FR, 10-5) vs #18 Javier Gasca (SR, 10-3)
Turk still listed as a possible starter here, but it seems like Happel has taken over as the starter here for the time being; I'm operating under that assumption at least. Gasca will be a very nice test for Happel; he's a two-time NCAA qualifier and fringe Top 20 guy. This year he has a few decent wins and a few head-scratching losses. This is the kind of guy Happel probably needs to beat if he wants to have a chance to make any noise at the Big Ten or NCAA Tournaments and this will let us know how close he is to maybe doing that. I'm rooting for an upset, but picking Gasca in a close one.
PREDICTION: Gasca via DEC (Iowa 9-3)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (SR, 12-0) vs Jwan Britton (RS FR, 9-6) OR Austin Eicher (JR, 5-2)
Sorensen is fresh off his third Midlands title and even opened up a bit on offense in some of his matches last week. I think he does the same here and coasts to a major decision win.
PREDICTION: Sorensen via MAJ DEC (Iowa 13-3)
157: #2 Michael Kemerer (SO, 13-0) vs Jake Tucker (RS FR, 14-8)
Tucker has been having a decent season, but he hasn't seen anyone like Kemerer. The closest opponent he's faced is Arizona State's Josh Shields, who fell to Kemerer in the Midlands final last weekend. Shields beat him 13-3; I think Kemerer will extend that margin to a technical fall at home.
PREDICTION: Kemerer via TECH FALL (Iowa 18-3)
165: #14 Alex Marinelli (RS FR, 6-0) vs Austin Hiles (RS FR, 9-9)
Marinelli is also coming off a Midlands title, though he seemed (justifiably) frustrated with his performance after a pair of 3-2 wins in the semis and finals there. Against a weaker opponent like Hiles, I think we see him cut loose a bit more on offense and get bonus points for the Hawkeyes.
PREDICTION: Marinelli via MAJ DEC (Iowa 22-3)
174: Joey Gunther (SO, 10-2) vs Logan Ritchie (SO, 8-1) OR Austin Malczewski (FR, 6-9)
Gunther was up and down at Midlands, but I trust the comforts of home to get him back on track. I don't quite see bonus points for him, though.
PREDICTION: Gunther via DEC (Iowa 25-3)
184: Mitch Bowman (JR, 8-3) vs Shwan Shadaia (JR, 7-9) OR Danny Kruse (RS FR, 8-5)
Bowman had a forgettable Midlands, but neither Shadaia or Kruse are the sort of guy that shold trouble Bowman too much here. I'm guessing for a fairly comfortable decision here.
PREDICTION: Bowman via DEC (Iowa 28-3)
197: #8 Cash Wilcke (SO, 12-0) vs Nick May (RS FR, 5-11)
Wilcke was Iowa's fourth Midlands champion, so should enter this match with plenty of confidence and I think he'll take it to May. Sometimes Wilcke shuts it down in his matches, but I think he'll keep the points flowing in this one.
PREDICTION: Wilcke via MAJ DEC (Iowa 32-3)
285: #6 Sam Stoll (JR, 10-0) vs Christian Rebottaro (RS FR, 5-8) OR Matt Lloyd (RS FR, 6-7)
Stoll was Iowa's fifth Midlands champion, although his path to a title was easily the strangest of the bunch with two of his wins coming via DQ and another coming from a penalty point. Wins are wins, though, and I expect Stoll to keep rolling here. In fact, I expect him to get back to his pinning ways here.
PREDICTION: Stoll via FALL (Iowa 38-3)
Feel free to talk about the action in the comments; I'll be watching and posting results and feedback tonight.
The usual rules apply.