The #1-ranked Iowa wrestling team returned to the Mitten State for the second time in less than a week -- and came away with another lopsided win, this time dispatching #22 Michigan 27-9. Iowa won eight of ten matches, including seven in a row from 141 to 197, highlighted by bonus point wins from Alex Marinelli at 165 and Michael Kemerer at 174. The win improved Iowa's record to 11-0 overall and 8-0 in Big Ten action, which also guaranteed them at least a share of the Big Ten regular season (dual meet) championship. Hopefully that's just the first of several trophies Iowa will be bringing back to Iowa City in the next few months.
While the dual was never really in doubt (though it was briefly tied at 3-3 after 133 lbs), it wasn't the most satisfying blowout win. Part of that is due to the semi-shocking results at the beginning and end of the dual -- Spencer Lee got Iowa underway with a victory at 125, but was held without bonus points for the first time all season, while Tony Cassioppi got turned to his back and pinned by Mason Parris at 285 to end the dual. There were also a few wins that simply didn't have much pizzazz -- Pat Lugo won a dull 2-0 decision at 149, while Cash Wilcke and Jacob Warner ground out low-scoring 3-2 and 4-1 wins at 184 and 197, respectively.
Still, Iowa largely dominated a dual they were expected to dominate and came away with a very comfortable win. There's really only so much grousing we can do about a performance like that. Overall, this team is still ripping through the Big Ten and that's a welcome sight to see.
#1 Iowa 27, #22 Michigan 9
|125||#1 Spencer Lee||DEC (8-1)||#16 Jack Medley||IOWA 3-0|
|133||Joey Silva||DEC (7-5)||Paul Glynn||TIE 3-3|
|141||Carter Happel||DEC (7-4)||#29 Cole Mattin||IOWA 6-3|
|149||#4 Pat Lugo||DEC (2-0)||#11 Kanen Storr||IOWA 9-3|
|157||#4 Kaleb Young||DEC (7-3)||#8 Will Lewan||IOWA 12-3|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli||MAJ DEC (18-6)||Reece Hughes||IOWA 16-3|
|174||#1 Michael Kemerer||TECH FALL (21-6)||Max Maylor||IOWA 21-3|
|184||Cash Wilcke||DEC (3-2)||#21 Jelani Embree||IOWA 24-3|
|197||Jacob Warner||DEC (4-1)||#29 Jackson Striggow||IOWA 27-3|
|285||#2 Mason Parris||FALL (4:31)||#3 Tony Cassioppi||IOWA 27-9|
A few thoughts:
For the second time all year, Spencer Lee had to wrestle a full 7-minute match. And for the first time all year, Lee failed to score bonus points. GASP. Let's be honest: this is only shocking (and disappointing) because of the preposterously high bar that Lee has set with his past performances. He still dominated Medley in this match -- he got a takedown in the opening 10 seconds, then rode the hell out of him for the rest of the first period. The difference between this match and Lee's other steamrollings? He wasn't able to take Medley on as many trips to Tilt Town; just one brief visit (for a 2-point near fall). It was a bummer to see Lee look a bit gassed in the third and be unable to finish a takedown and secure a major decision, but oh well. Medley was never particularly close to scoring on Lee, let alone putting him in jeopardy of losing the match. Lee's worst match this year still wound up in an easy 8-1 decision win for him. Every wrestler should wrestle such a disappointing match.
Paul Glynn got his second straight start at 133 lbs and he tried to follow the same formula to victory that he used at MSU last week: falling behind early and then using a furious rally at the end of the match to win. Sadly, it didn't pan out this week, though he came close. Silva was gassed at the end and Glynn was charging hard for takedowns, but he ran out of time. It was certainly a game effort by Glynn, against a talented opponent.
Carter Happel wrestled his fourth straight match in place of Max Murin at 141 -- and picked up a second straight victory. Happel looked solid in all positions against Mattin: he finished shots well, scrambled well, got out from bottom well, and rode well too. Just a solid little win for Happel.
Give him this: Pat Lugo is certainly comfortable wrestling matches like this. And he's pretty successful in them, too. Lugo earned a 2-0 win over Storr with a quick escape in the second period and a 2-minute ride in the third period. A win's a win, but it's usually pretty hard to win a match without a takedown, so it would be more reassuring to see Lugo be more effective from neutral in a match like this.
Meanwhile, Kaleb Young showed some excellent skills from neutral in his match against Lewan, a very game opponent and fringe All America candidate. Young picked up a takedown in each period and showed a good variety in his attacks; the blast double he hit in the second was a textbook-worthy display of quickness and power, while the takedown he recorded in the third was a testament to some very solid scrambling. In a dual where a few too many Iowa wrestlers seemed content to win with one (or even no) takedowns, it was nice to see Young continuing to try and score and boost his lead.
Iowa had a solid 12-3 lead heading into the back half of the dual, but Marinelli and Kemerer broke it wide open and poured on nine points in less than 15 minutes. Marinelli put on a takedown clinic against Hughes, dropping him to the mat with ease again and again (and again). He also put a saddle on Hughes and rode him well, though he wasn't able to turn him for a pin or nearfall points. The only quibble with Marinelli's efforts here is that he spent so much time riding him he wasn't able to get a technical fall, which he probably could have done if he'd gone catch-and-release from neutral a bit more.
Catch-and-release was the name of the game for Kemerer as he also looked unstoppable from neutral and racked up takedowns in bunches against Maylor. He was also able to tack on tilt for a 4-point nearfall during one of his rides on Maylor. Kemerer scored a takedown off the opening whistle and the only real question was whether he would finish the job with a pin or a technical fall -- it turned out to be the latter.
Cash Wilcke got a somewhat surprising start at 184 and came away a 3-2 winner over Michigan's Jelani Embree. This was a pretty classic Wilcke performance: scoreless first period, followed by a quick escape in the second and a lone takedown (off some lovely action from neutral), and finished off with a lot of blocking off to preserve the win. The 10-second sequence in the second period where Wilcke got a quick escape off a restart and immediately went on the attack and finished a slick takedown was what makes him so frustrating to watch overall; there are glimpses of a more offensively potent and confident wrestler in there, but they emerge so rarely. The win was good, but it's hard to see this overall performance doing much to get Wilcke back into contention as the regular starter at this weight.
At 197 Warner got a takedown partway through the first and put on a strong ride to finish out the period. He added an escape and a riding time point, which was enough to earn a 4-1 win, but he never really pushed hard to increase his margin of victory in the final two periods, either. It's one thing to do that in a situation like the Penn State dual last week; Warner needed to win that match to preserve Iowa's chance of winning the dual and he was also facing a dangerous opponent with a knack for scoring off big moves. Here, the dual win was long since secured (Iowa led 24-3 after eight matches) and Striggow isn't nearly the big move threat that Rasheed is; this would have a perfect opportunity for Warner to try and cut loose a bit more.
- The showdown between #2 Parris and #3 Cassioppi was the most-hyped match of the night and it didn't lack for action. Parris got a quick takedown on Cassioppi and went to work trying to turn him -- which resulted in Cassioppi managing to scramble into a reversal and tie the match. Cassioppi went on the attack later in the first, but Parris countered into his own shot and scored another takedown. That sequence repeated in the second period as well, although with an even worse outcome for Cassioppi, as Parris was able to turn and pin him this time, ending the heavyweight clash in just 4:21. That was 4+ minutes with more action than you'll see in a lot of heavyweight matches that go twice as long, though. The good news for Cassioppi is that he's faced Parris now and should have some idea what to expect if they match up again in the postseason next month. The bad news for Cassioppi is that, uh, Parris pretty much schooled him. He scored on his own shots, he scored on Tony's shots, and he was dangerous from the top position on the mat as well, twice putting Cassioppi in jeopardy (and scoring nearfall points and a pin the second time). Parris looked like the complete package in this match and Cassioppi is going to need to go back to the drawing board to figure out a way past him when they meet again; based on tonight's match, that won't be an easy task.
NEXT: Iowa finishes off Big Ten competition with a home dual against #13 Minnesota (9-5, 4-2 Big Ten) on Saturday, February 15 at 8:30 PM CT (BTN).