Pat Lugo is the only senior starter on this year's loaded Iowa wrestling team -- but he's not one of its biggest stars. He doesn't score bonus points in bunches the way Spencer Lee, Austin DeSanto, Alex Marinelli, or Michael Kemerer often do. Although did you know that among Iowa's regular starters, only those four wrestlers (plus Anthony Cassioppi) have a higher bonus point rate this season than Lugo does? It's true.
What Lugo has done, though, is win -- with quiet, efficient relentlessness. He's 18-1 this season, with the lone loss coming by the skin of his teeth (a 2-1 loss in the overtime tiebreakers) to current #1 Sammy Sasso of Ohio State. Among those 18 victories this season are wins over the wrestlers currently ranked #3, #6, #7, #8, #9, #11, #15, #16, #18, and #19 by Trackwrestling. None of those wins was more thrilling than Lugo's win last Sunday night over Oklahoma State's Boo Lewallen. That big victory deservedly earned Lugo Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors:
Beating Lewallen (who was ranked #3 entering that match) alone might have been enough to earn Lugo Wrestler of the Week honors... but he left no doubt by winning the match with style. Lugo isn't a big pinner -- he had just one pin this season before Sunday's dual and just 14 of his career 104 victories have been via fall -- but when the opportunity presented itself against Lewallen, Lugo pounced. He got Lewallen in double underhooks, took him down to his knees, and then drove through to put him on his back for the pin. BOOM!
Did you really think Pat Lugo was gonna end his career at Carver any other way?— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) February 24, 2020
The senior soaked it all in following a fall against No. 6 Boo Lewallen. @Hawks_Wrestling | @FloWrestling pic.twitter.com/236dX2TN3c
The pin is great, but it was especially to see how excited Lugo was after that victory. He's always seemed like one of the coolest customers on this Iowa team; unlike some of the other guys on the team, Lugo doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve -- he rarely gets too excited after a victory or too despondent after a loss. (Not that there's anything wrong with either approach -- whatever works for a given wrestler is fine by me.) But to get a pin over a Top 5 opponent, on Senior Night, in his final match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena... yeah, that was damn cool and it sure looked like Lugo felt the same way.
Pat Lugo went out of Carver in style on Senior Night with a pin. Here's some of what he told the media after the dual. pic.twitter.com/4LXbYrBbPb— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 24, 2020
"Pressure makes diamonds. I want to shine bright like a diamond."
Shine on, Pat. Shine on.
Congratulations to Lugo on being named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week.