#1 Iowa 32, Princeton 12: Opening Acts

By RossWB on November 19, 2021 at 9:41 pm
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@Hawks_Wrestling (Twitter)

#1 Iowa wrestling made their dual meet debut on Friday night, against the visiting Princeton Tigers, and while the end result was never in doubt, it also wasn't exactly an emphatic opening statement to Iowa's national title defense. It was a performance with some clear positives -- as well as a few definite negatives, too.

On the positive side, the Hawkeyes also wrestled tonight without four regular starters (possibly five, if Abe Assad is going to be the guy at 184 this year). And five of Iowa's six competitive wins in the dual featured bonus points (a seventh win came via forfeit), and the lone non-bonus point win was a 12-5 decision win from Alex Marinelli that was inches away from being a major decision. In many matches, Iowa overwhelmed the opposition, which is what you'd want to see against overmatched foes. Austin DeSanto was his usual whirling dervish self at 133, and if Jaydin Eierman and Alex Marinelli didn't dominate from the jump, they still ended up recording comfortable victories. Cobe Siebrecht and Myles Wilson provided strong endorsements for Iowa's depth, blowing away their opponents in impressive fashion.

On the negative side, there were slow starts at more than a few matches (including Marinelli and Eierman, as noted above) and Kaleb Young never looked close to scoring on Quincy Monday in his match. Zach Glazier was ineffective in neutral at 197 and looked even worse on the mat, getting ridden out for the better part of the last three minutes of the match, including the entire third period. Tony Cassioppi losing by pin to an unranked journeyman at 285 was a stunner, though it was also a fluky -- Cassioppi was turning Jack Del Garbino for a fall when Garbino smartly rolled through and managed to put Cassioppi on his back. It was a sloppy move from Tony Pins, but not something we've seen often from him, nor something we should be too worried about in the future. Still, the back-to-back nature of the defeats from Glazier and Cassioppi ensured that the dual ended on a down note, which leaves a bad taste in the mouth. 

#1 Iowa 32, Princeton 12

125 Jesse Ybarra FORFEIT -- IOWA 6-0
133 #3 Austin DeSanto TECH FALL (22-6) Nick Masters IOWA 11-0
141 #2 Jaydin Eierman MAJ DEC (15-7) Jacob Mann IOWA 15-0
149 Cobe Siebrecht TECH FALL (16-1) Josh Breeding IOWA 20-0
157 Quincy Monday DEC (9-5) Kaleb Young IOWA 20-3
165 #2 Alex Marinelli DEC (12-5) Grant Cuomo IOWA 23-3
174 Nelson Brands MAJ DEC (16-8) Mikey Squires IOWA 27-3
184 Myles Wilson TECH FALL (23-8) Forest Belli IOWA 32-3
197 Luke Stout DEC (4-0) Zach Glazier IOWA 32-6
285 Jack Del Garbino FALL (2:07) #3 Tony Cassioppi IOWA 32-12

A few thoughts: 

  • On paper, the highlight match of the dual should have been 125 with #1 Spencer Lee vs #2 Pat Glory. Alas, neither guy wrestled; Lee didn't even dress for this dual and Glory failed to make weight, giving Jesse Ybarra a forfeit victory. We'll have to wait until (probably) NCAAs for a possible showdown between Lee and Glory this season. 
  • Austin DeSanto did Austin DeSanto things in his match with Masters, using his relentless pace and varied offensive attacks to rack up multiple takedowns in a hurry (and seven in total). He also managed to dump Masters to his back on a few occasions, including once off a slick fireman's carry. A very standard DeSanto match, which is no bad thing. 
  • Eierman spent most of his match wither Mann playing with his food, baiting his opponent, and trying to lure Mann into a position where he could lock up a cradle and get a pin. Mann did a good job of evading Eierman's cradles and bailing out whenever he was in potential danger, but Eierman still managed to amass six takedowns, a reversal, and over three minutes of riding time. It's still amazing to watch Eierman give up his leg because he knows he can score more points than you can from that position. 
  • Siebrecht got the start for Iowa at 149 and he did not disappoint; he funked his way into an early takedown and then took Breeding on several trips to tilt town en route to the technical fall victory. Spencer Lee would have been impressed by Siebrecht's top game and tilts here, frankly. This was a very dominant and intriguing performance from Siebrecht; it will be very interesting to see what he can do in other opportunities this season. 
  • Monday entered his match with Young with a strong gameplan (attack from distance, finish crisply, don't spend a lot of time in tie-ups) and executed it very well. Young had no answers for Monday's attacks and never came close to scoring his own offense. Monday is a difficult match-up for Young and, on this showing, things haven't gotten any easier for Kaleb against him. 
  • Marinelli went down 2-0 in the first off a quick takedown from Cuomo, but he methodically retook control of the match from that point and dominated with a string of solid takedowns and strong rides. He wasn't able to put Cuomo on his back, though he was close before the final whistle ended things. It's certainly a bit disappointing to see Marinelli fail to score bonus points and give up a takedown against a guy like Cuomo, but this was a pretty workmanlike win overall for The Bull. 
  • Nelson Brands got the nod at 174, which was a surprise only because I wasn't aware he had certified at 174 this season, and looked very strong in his outing. 174 looks like a much better weight for Brands than 184 (he isn't out-horsed and he still has good quickness for the weight) and he put on a mini-takedown clinic here, recording six takedowns and a reversal late in the bout. A fit Michael Kemerer is still the starter at this weight this year, but Brands looks like he can be a credible fill-in when needed -- and he's putting a marker down to claim this weight next year, after Kemerer has departed. 
  • Myles Wilson (and his truly unruly mullet) got the start at 184 and he cruised to a 23-8 technical fall win with a non-stop parade of takedowns, including five in the first period alone. He got the start here over Abe Assad, who wrestled in a bonus match before the dual meet. In a strange quirk, both Assad and Wilson ended up wrestling the same opponent (Forrest Belli) and both posted lopsided wins. Wilson had the 23-8 tech fall, while Assad was headed for a tech fall of his own before pinning Belli in the second period. I'd expect both guys to get opportunities in the early season and it will be very interesting to see how they perform. 
  • As noted above, the dual took a turn for the worse after 184. Zach Glazier started in place of Jacob Warner at 197, but he was unable to get anything going, either in neutral or on the mat. He didn't have any particularly strong attacks from his feet and he wasn't able to get an escape on the mat, either; he got ridden for almost a minute to end the second period (after getting taken down) and then got ridden for the entire third period as well. This was not a good showing for Glazier at all, frankly. 
  • The dual wrapped up with the most shocking result of the night, as Tony Cassioppi suffered a stunning loss via fall to unranked Jack Del Garbino. Cassioppi was in control of things early, scored a quick takedown, and was methodically working Del Garbino over for a pin, but just as it looked like he was going to be able to take Del Garbino to his back, Del Garbino was able to roll through and put Cassioppi on his back for the pin. It was a stunning way to end the match (and the dual), but if these two wrestled ten times, I doubt we'd see it replicated. Tony got a little sloppy and he got caught; it's unfortunate that it happened (especially against an unranked, totally unheralded opponent), but it doesn't make me think much less of Cassioppi going forward. He'll probably be a bit more cautious on the mat in the future, though. 

And that's that. For the most part, Iowa did what we'd want them to do in this dual -- dominate lesser opponents. There were bonus points aplenty for the good guys and Iowa controlled most of the matches. Of the three bouts that they lost, one was a toss-up against a likely All-American wrestler, one featured a shock pin out of nowhere, and the other featured a back-up struggling to score points of any sort. Of the three defeats, Glazier's loss is the only one that concerns me and that's only if Warner is dealing with a significant injury and going to miss time as a result. Cassioppi will be fine and Young is Young -- we know what his ceiling is like by this point. It was nice to see some of Iowa's depth, like Siebrecht and Wilson, produce strong results and those guys, plus Brands and Assad, will be fun to watch in the early season as they try to earn starting spots. This wasn't the prettiest opener, but there wasn't too much to be overly concerned about yet, either. Iowa's title defense is officially underway. 

NEXT: Iowa returns to the mat against Oregon State on Saturday, November 27 (2 PM CT, BTN+). 

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