After steamrolling Northwestern on Friday night, the #2 Iowa wrestling team took their parade on the road and headed south to take on #21 Illinois in Champaign on Sunday afternoon. The result? An even more lopsided win for the Hawkeyes. Iowa took nine of ten matches in the dual meet, with bonus points in four of those nine victories. Iowa looked far better than Illinois on paper leading into this dual meet and they proved to be far better than Illinois on the mat as well.
#2 Iowa 36, #21 Illinois 3
|125||#12 Drake Ayala||DEC (7-4)||#26 Justin Cardani||IOWA 3-0|
|133||#6 Lucas Byrd||DEC (5-0)||Cullan Schriever||TIE 3-3|
|141||Drew Bennett||MAJ DEC (10-1)||Josh Contreras||IOWA 7-3|
|149||#12 Max Murin||DEC (9-3)||Christian Kanzler||IOWA 10-3|
|157||#12 Kaleb Young||TECH FALL (16-1)||Joe Roberts||IOWA 15-3|
|165||#1 Alex Marinelli||DEC (4-1)||#27 Danny Braunagel||IOWA 18-3|
|174||#2 Michael Kemerer||FALL (2:35)||Baan Rachal||IOWA 24-3|
|184||#18 Abe Assad||DEC (5-2)||#19 Zach Braunagel||IOWA 27-3|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner||DEC (6-0)||#29 Matt Wroblewski||IOWA 30-3|
|285||#6 Tony Cassioppi||FALL (6:46)||#17 Luke Luffman||IOWA 36-3|
A few thoughts:
Ayala made it three straight wins and improved to 3-1 since entering the Iowa starting lineup last weekend. Beating Cardani won't turn as many heads as his wins over Top 10 opponents like Devin Schroeder and Michael DeAugustino, but Cardani was a very game opponent and he gave Ayala a good challenge. Cardani was extremely active from his feet and took a lot of shots; for his part, Ayala displayed some very solid defense against those shots and did a nice job of finishing his own attacks. He also put on a mean ride in the third period after completing the match-winning takedown.
Illinois' only win of the dual meet came at 133 lbs, where #6 Lucas Byrd controlled the match. Cullan Schriever made his second start of the weekend and he certainly got thrown into the fire, facing Top 10-ranked wrestlers in each bout. Byrd was too much Shriever here; he got a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the third and rode the snot out of Schriever in the second and third periods as well. He absolutely smothered Schriever for most of this match.
Like Schriever, Bennett got another start on Sunday after a loss on Friday. Unlike Schriever, his match went a bit better -- though it helped that he wasn't facing a returning All-American... Bennett got takedowns on Contreras in the first and third periods and added a strong ride in the second period that included a four-point near fall tilt to score most of his points. This was a nice showing for Bennett, albeit against overmatched opposition.
Max Murin finally won a match by more than a single takedown -- though it still didn't come easy. He led just 1-0 after the first period, scoring on a stalling penalty against Kanzler. The match was tied 1-1 for much of the second period after Kanzler got an escape as well. But Murin was finally able to convert his attacks into actual takedowns and racked up a trio of takedowns in the late second period and in the third period. It would have been nice to get one more takedown and get the major decision, but it was good to see Murin continuing to push for more points and (eventually) succeeding at scoring more takedowns.
It's rare to see Kaleb Young completely overwhelm an opponent, but he did just that against Roberts. He pancaked Roberts to the mat early in the first period and took him straight to his back, scoring four near-fall points on top of the takedown points. In the second period he added another tilt for four more near-fall points while riding him out for the entire period. He added an escape, and a pair of takedowns (plus a riding time point) to secure the technical fall. Just an excellent, completely dominant performance from Young.
Marinelli got Iowa a win to start the post-intermission portion of the dual meet, though it was a strange match. He scored a takedown early in the first period, but didn't attempt to ride Braunagel at all. He didn't come close to scoring another takedown the remainder of the match, though Braunagel did stymie his hand-fighting pretty well. In the third period, Marinelli simply rode Braunagel for the entire period. Working on top wrestling and riding opponents seemed to be a clear priority for Iowa wrestlers in this dual and it was very apparent in this match.
Michael Kemerer got a first period pin on Friday and he followed that up with... another first period pin. Rachal managed to stymie his attacks briefly, but eventually Kemerer converted a takedown near the edge of the mat, turned that into a tilt for four near-fall points, and then re-adjusted to secure the fall. No fuss, no muss for Kemdawg. The competition wasn't very notable at 174 this weekend, but it was still exciting to see Kemerer just mow through them and look very good. His ability to flow into near-fall opportunities from takedowns is remarkable.
Assad kept his recent winning streak with a solid win over Braunagel. After a scrappy, but non-scoring first period, Braunagel took a 1-0 lead on an escape in the second period and looked to be taking that lead into the third period -- until Assad was able to finish a takedown in the final five seconds of the period. Those were huge points. He added a reversal in the third period to extend his margin of victory. Not the most dominant showing, but Assad did a nice job of grinding out a win all the same.
At 197, Warner completely dominated Wroblewski. The score was only 6-0, but the outcome here was never in doubt. Warner got a takedown early in the first and rode him out for the remainder of the period. Warner added an escape in the second and then another takedown and ride-out in the third. I wouldn't have minded a few more attacks from neutral and a possible major decision, but this was still a thoroughly controlled win for Warner.
- Tony Pins lived up to his nickname in the final match of the dual. He overwhelmed Luffman from the jump, getting a takedown early in the first and riding him out. He got an escape, a takedown, and another ride-out in the second, then added a stall point and another takedown in the third, before finally turning Luffman for a fall with just 15 seconds to go in the match. Total domination from Tony.
Hawkeye highlights from Champaign. pic.twitter.com/YfF1u6tSgZ— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) January 17, 2022
Business is about to pick up for Iowa wrestling -- their next three dual meets are against #7 Ohio State, #1 Penn State, and #10 Wisconsin. This weekend's duals were largely tune-up meets but Iowa did almost exactly what we'd want to see in that situation: a lot of dominant wins and work on some skills. The big matches are coming, but you've got to win the little ones too and Iowa did that just fine here.
NEXT: Iowa faces #7 Ohio State in Columbus, OH on Friday, January 21 (7 PM CT, BTN).