That went well. Iowa sent nine wrestlers onto the mat in round one of the NCAA Tournament -- and all nine ended their matches with their arms raised as winners. We will absolutely take that kind of start from Iowa at this tournament. Iowa was favored by seed in seven of the nine matches, so a good start was expected, but getting a clean sweep was still satisfying.
1) 21.0 -- Penn State
2) 15.5 -- Ohio State
3) 15.0 -- Oklahoma State
4) 14.0 -- Iowa
5) 13.5 -- Minnesota
|125||#3 Spencer Lee||TECH FALL (18-0)||#30 Bryce West (Northern Illinois)|
|133||#7 Austin DeSanto||DQ||#26 Codi Russell (Appalachian State)|
|141||#22 Max Murin||DEC (3-2)||#11 Tristan Moran (Wisconsin)|
|149||#10 Pat Lugo||DEC (5-2)||#23 Josh Maruca (Arizona State)|
|157||#6 Kaleb Young||TECH FALL (16-1)||#27 Dan Reed (Columbia)|
|165||#1 Alex Marinelli||DEC (7-4)||#33 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State)|
|184||#12 Cash Wilcke||DEC (3-2)||#21 Nick Gravina (Rutgers)|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner||DEC (9-8)||#28 Drew Phipps (Bucknell)|
|285||#28 Sam Stoll||DEC (8-5)||#5 Mason Parris (Michigan)|
Iowa's action got underway with Spencer Lee at 125, as he got his repeat national championship bid underway with an 18-0 technical fall. He didn't secure the tech until late in the third, so he had to work hard for it and he seemed to struggle a bit to get an escape, but... there's only so much quibbling we can do with an 18-0 technical fall, you know? He was still pretty dominant. Austin DeSanto kept up the scoring punch at 133, as he recorded something I don't think I've ever seen before: a DQ victory due to excessive stalling from his opponent in the first period. Seriously, just look at the scorecard:
— Cody Goodwin (@codygoodwin) March 21, 2019
That's what happens when a wrestler with a high tempo and incredibly attacking approach meets a ref who's more than happy to call stalling. Frequent stall calls came into play at another Iowa match later in the day, too.
Max Murin scored Iowa's first upset of the early session with a slim 3-2 win over #11 Tristan Moran. Murin got the crucial takedown -- and was in on Moran's legs a few other times during the bout, but unable to finish -- and was able to hold on to his narrow lead in the third period. Pat Lugo made it four wins in four tries for Iowa with his 5-2 win at 149 lbs; after a scoreless first period, he used a pair of nice takedowns to open up a lead on Marcua in the second period. The third period was more uneventful, but Lugo held on for the victory.
Kaleb Young scored Iowa's final bonus point win of the early session with a dominating 16-1 technical fall over Columbia's Dan Reed. Young got a quick takedown and then went to work on the mat, rolling up near fall points with ease on a few turns. He finished the bout shortly into the second period; this was a great showing for Young and hopefully he can maintain this attacking mindset throughout the tournament.
The showcase match of the early going for Iowa -- if not the entire tournament -- was at 165, where #1 Alex Marinelli took on #33 Joe Smith of Oklahoma State. Smith is no ordinary #33 seed, though -- he's a two-time All-American and was a Top 10 wrestler for most of the season, albeit at 174 lbs. The cut down to 165, as well as a mediocre showing at the Big 12 Tournament, led to his lousy seed, which made for a scarily tough opening round match for Marinelli. Smith jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first behind two takedowns, but Marinelli stayed calm and was able to grind his way to a win. He put a smothering ride on Smith for the entire second period, effectively locking up a riding time point, then got an escape and -- finally -- a takedown in the third (off a sloppy shot from Smith) to take the lead in the match. Marinelli was able to ride him out after that and earn a 7-4 win. That was much tougher sledding than we typically like to see out of the opening round, but again -- Smith was no ordinary #33 seed.
Cash Wilcke got another win for Iowa at 184 lbs in a match that felt like Vintage Wilcke: 0-0 first period, second period takedown, third period escape, rinse and repeat. Wilcke weathered a good scramble from Gravina late in the third, but was mostly in control; it would just be nice to get a few more takedowns, you know? Speaking of in control, Jacob Warner was in control of his opening round match at 197 for, oh, about 6 minutes and 30 seconds -- but the last 30 seconds made things very hairy. Warner picked up four takedowns through the match's first two periods and rode the hell out of Phipps in those periods, amassing over three minutes of riding time and locking up the riding time point. He spent most of the third trying to get a takedown and secure a major decision, but after he got into an awkward position, Phipps pounced and got a takedown of his own -- and locked up Warner in a hold that exposed his back to the mat. He got four near fall points for that and, frankly, if it hadn't been for the end of the period (and match), he might have been able to get a pin out of it; Warner did not seem to be in a good position to earn an escape. The match ended, though, and the 8-8 tie was broken by the riding time point Warner had earned. Exhale.
The final Iowa match of the early session was Sam Stoll, who took on #5 seed Mason Parris -- and came away an 8-5 winner in pretty thrilling fashion. Stoll used his heavy ties to move Parris around the mat -- and off the mat, which resulted in several stall calls from this particular ref (I'm not positive, but I think it was the same ref that did DeSanto's match earlier in the day). Stoll kept the pressure throughout the first and second, and finally got a takedown off an inside trip in the second to extend his lead. After the takedown Stoll was also able to put on a hard ride. Stoll kept up the pressure (and the riding time) in the third and came away with an 8-5 win. Hell yeah, Sammy Stoll.
UP NEXT IN ROUND TWO:
|125||#3 Spencer Lee||vs||#14 Sean Fausz (NC State)|
|133||#7 Austin DeSanto||vs||#10 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)|
|141||#22 Max Murin||vs||#6 Mike Carr (Illinois)|
|149||#10 Pat Lugo||vs||#26 Ryan Blees (Virginia Tech)|
|157||#6 Kaleb Young||vs||#11 Ke-Shawn Hayes (Ohio State)|
|165||#1 Alex Marinelli||vs||#16 Thomas Bullard (NC State)|
|184||#12 Cash Wilcke||vs||#5 Max Dean (Cornell)|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner||vs||#21 Thomas Lane (Cal Poly)|
|285||#28 Sam Stoll||vs||#12 Conan Jennings (Northwestern)|
There are several rematches here, particularly from the Big Ten Tournament a few weeks ago. The good news: DeSanto, Murin, and Young won all those matches then; hopefully they can do the same tonight. Stoll has a rematch with Jennings, an opponent he's faced multiple times during his career (usually with positive results). Lugo and Warner could benefit from upsets that felled their projected R2 opponents -- although they'll need to be on their toes as well, because if their current R2 opponents (Blees, Lane) could get upsets in R1, they could also do the same in R2.