On a day when Iowa and Wisconsin celebrated the life and tragic death of former Wisconsin wrestler Eli Stickley, the main story ended up being yet another dominant dual meet win for Iowa. The Hawkeyes won the first nine matches of the dual and scored bonus points in six of those nine matches, allowing them to cruise to a 35-2 victory in their final Big Ten dual of the season.
Going into the dual I expected Wisconsin to have a decent-or-better chance in five of the ten matches. As it turned out, they wrestled backups in two of the matches where they had the biggest advantage on paper (141 and 174) and Iowa took full advantage of that, earning an 11-1 win at 141 (via a backup of its own) and storming to a 27-9 technical fall at 174. Iowa ended up winning two of the three toss-up bouts (149 and 165; Wisconsin picked up their lone win at 285). And Iowa dominated the matches they were favored in, scoring bonus points in four of those five wins. Add it up and you get another rout.
Iowa ends the Big Ten dual meet season at 9-0 in league duals, with an aggregate score of 283 to 64 in those nine duals. Iowa's average margin of victory in those duals was 24 points (31-7). They scored 30+ in six of nine duals. Their closest win was a 20-13 victory over Nebraska in which they lost four matches, the only time that happened in Big Ten competition. They lost two or fewer matches in five of nine Big Ten duals. Overall they went 70-20 in Big Ten dual meet matches, and several of those 20 losses featured backups in action. Iowa also had a commanding advantage in bonus points; they recorded 36 bonus point wins (16 major decisions, 15 pins, and five technical falls) among those 70 wins, while they conceded just four bonus point losses (three major decisions and one pin).
At 9-0 in Big Ten duals, Iowa won a share of the Big Ten dual meet (regular season) championship, alongside Penn State (also 9-0). That 9-0 record, of course, was accomplished against a scheduled that lacked Penn State (obviously) as well as Ohio State and Michigan. Holy empty accomplishment, Batman. The Big Ten dual meet (regular season) championship is a lesser accomplishment in wrestling anyway, when the success of a season is determined by results in March at the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments, but it feels even more diminished against a schedule like the one Iowa had this year. Obviously Iowa isn't to blame for that -- the Delanybot 9000 sets the league's schedule and Iowa is currently stuck in a cycle that sees Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan fall off the schedule every third year -- and they can only wrestle who's placed before them. To their credit they did what they should do against overmatched opposition: dominate, again and again and again. But it does mean no one is going to get too hyped up about this particular Big Ten title.
#3 Iowa 35, #16 Wisconsin 2
|125||#2 Spencer Lee||FALL (0:56)||Ethan Rotondo||IOWA 6-0|
|133||#3 Austin DeSanto||MAJ DEC (21-8)||Jens Lantz||IOWA 10-0|
|141||Vince Turk||MAJ DEC (11-1)||Michael Cullen||IOWA 14-0|
|149||#12 Pat Lugo||DEC (3-1 OT)||#19 Cole Martin||IOWA 17-0|
|157||#7 Kaleb Young||MAJ DEC (11-2)||Garrett Model||IOWA 21-0|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli||DEC (6-4 OT)||#3 Evan Wick||IOWA 24-0|
|174||Mitch Bowman||TECH FALL (27-9)||Anders Lantz||IOWA 29-0|
|184||#11 Cash Wilcke||DEC (5-4)||Mason Reinhardt||IOWA 32-0|
|197||#4 Jacob Warner||MAJ DEC (9-0)||Beau Breske||IOWA 36-0|
|285||#8 Trent Hillger||DEC (1-0)||#6 Sam Stoll||IOWA 35-2*|
* Iowa and Wisconsin were each deducted a team point after the heavyweight match.
A few thoughts:
Spencer Lee picked up his third straight pin and his fifth pin in his last six matches. It was also his third pin in less than a minute this season; no other Iowa starter has even one pin in less than a minute this year. I think Spencer might be rounding into form, folks.
Austin DeSanto had to settle for a 21-8 major decision at 133, although he honestly could have -- and probably should have -- had a technical fall; the ref seemed a bit stingy in awarding nearfall points in his match for whatever reason. Regardless, DeSanto was unstoppable from neutral once again, once again employing the fireman's carry-into-a-dump takedown that he used to such great effect against Indiana to get a few more takedowns here.
Wisconsin starter Tristan Moran sat out this dual and Iowa's regular starter Max Murin was also rested. Vince Turk got the nod instead and after a mostly sluggish first period, he was able to take it to Cullen, recording a few takedowns and turns on his way to an 11-1 win.
149 was one of the toss-up matches of the dual on paper and it lived up to that billing in reality. Lugo and Martin traded escapes in regulation, with neither guy able to get in deep enough on a leg attack to finish a takedown in the first three periods. Lugo was a bit more aggressive, but he wasn't able to convert that into any really strong attacks, let alone finishes. Fortunately, he stayed on the attack in sudden victory and was finally able to get the decisive takedown after getting in deep on Martin's legs. It would have been good to see Lugo score earlier in the match, but his tenacity in this one was still impressive.
Kaleb Young returned to the lineup at 157 and cruised to an 11-2 major decision but it could have (and should have) been a technical fall if Young had worked for it a bit more. He had very little trouble taking Model down from neutral, but he ended up spending a huge chunk of the match riding him without ever getting close to turning him (2:30 in the first period alone). This would have been a good match for Young to turn into a takedown clinic, but he opted not to and had to settle for a major decision instead.
165 was the marquee match of the dual and it did not disappoint. Marinelli jumped out a 2-0 lead in the first off a double leg takedown, but he wasn't able to keep Wick down and gave up an escape, making it 2-1. Marinelli deferred to start the second period and Wick chose the top position, from which he put on a dominant ride from which Marinelli was unable to get an escape. Marinelli chose neutral in the third, but spent very little of the period on his feet -- Wick attacked quickly to start the period and got a takedown to go up 3-2 (with over two minutes of riding time) and put Marinelli back into the worst position he could be in: being ridden hard by the lanky Wick. But Marinelli kept fighting and managed to get a reversal with about 45 seconds to go that made the score 4-3 Marinelli (though it was effectively 4-4 as Wick had a riding time point locked). Marinelli was able to put on a hard ride of his own and ride Wick out for the remainder of the period, which sent the match into sudden victory. Marinelli seemed to have more energy in overtime and got in on a few attacks before finally finishing a solid leg attack and getting the 6-4 win in a thriller. This was round two this year between Marinelli and Wick; odds are good we're going to see them square off a few more times this year, too. If those matches are anything like their first two, though, I'm not sure we'll have any nails left to chew on.
Unlike Kaleb Young at 157, Mitch Bowman at 174 also had an overmatched opponent that he could take down with ease -- and he took full advantage. Bowman went full cut-and-release on Lantz, racking up takedowns in bunches (and picking up a riding time point and some nearfall points along the way) on his way to an incredibly dominant 27-9 technical fall. Kudos to Bowman for taking advantage of the situation.
Cash Wilcke appeared to sleepwalk through the better part of the first two periods of his match at 184, getting taken down early in the first and ridden hard for over a minute. He turned up the intensity in the third period, though, and scored a pair of takedowns, including one off an extremely slick low single, to prevail 5-4.
Jacob Warner did a solid job of increasing the gap between himself and his opponent in his bout; he beat Breske just 5-3 at Midlands, but turned that into a 9-0 major decision here. Warner was able to score a handful of takedowns (one in each period, if memory serves) and rode Breske well, too. Warner is another guy whose performances seem to be ticking up at the right time of the season.
- Iowa's only loss of the day came at 285, where Sam Stoll dropped a 1-0 decision to Trent Hillger when he was unable to get an escape after choosing down in the third period. This match was reminiscent of the Nebraska match that Stoll lost a few weeks ago; there again he was unable to get escapes and found himself ridden out of the match. Stoll's success in March is going to be predicated on two things: whether he can take advantage of opportunities to score from neutral and if he can figure out how to get escapes. The book for beating Stoll is out now and he's likely to see more guys take top against him and attempt to ride him out, unless he can prove he can actually get escapes. Stoll also needs to find more ways to score from neutral; 0-0 periods make it hard for any wrestler to win, but especially Stoll with his deficiencies on the mat right now.
Quick reaction: Brands and Marinelli on an emotional day in Madison. pic.twitter.com/Rjg3OCsqjo
— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 17, 2019
And that's a wrap on the Big Ten regular season.
NEXT: Iowa's final dual meet of the season is next Sunday at #2 Oklahoma State (2 PM CT, Flo).