#2 Iowa 29, #9 Wisconsin 6: Badger Beatdown

By RossWB on February 5, 2022 at 11:36 pm
go hawks go
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa entered Saturday's dual meet with Wisconsin with two objectives: rebound from last week's disappointing defeat to Penn State and send a very special senior class out on a high note on Senior Day. Mission accomplished -- with flying colors. Iowa dominated this dual, from almost-start (Wisconsin did win the first match of the dual, at 125, but Iowa immediately responded with a technical fall win at 133) to finish (Cassioppi put a bow on things with a smothering 10-0 major decision victory). 

Iowa and Wisconsin split the first four matches of the dual, with the Badgers winning at 125 and 149 and Iowa picking up victories at 133 and 141. Iowa still led 9-6 at that point, though, thanks to bonus points from Austin DeSanto (a technical fall) and Jaydin Eierman (a major decision). It was all Iowa after Austin Gomez's win at 149, though, Iowa won the final six matches of the meet, with half of those wins coming by lopsided margins (157, 174, 285). Iowa won closer matches at the other weights, including an action-packed win from Alex Marinelli over Dean Hamiti at 165 in the signature match of the dual.

Overall, Iowa won eight of ten matches and scored bonus points in four of those wins (three major decisions and a technical fall). They showed good energy and a strong attacking mindset throughout the dual (for the most part) and were rewarded for that approach with several strong wins. This was a a very nice way for a very good group of seniors to wrap up the Carver-Hawkeye Arena portion of their Iowa careers. (Their Iowa careers are far from over just yet, of course -- they have a pair of away/neutral-site dual meets to go, plus Big Tens and the NCAA Tournament.) 

#2 Iowa 29, #9 Wisconsin 6

125 #9 Eric Barnett DEC (3-0) Jesse Ybarra WISCONSIN 3-0
133 #3 Austin DeSanto TECH FALL (26-11) Kyle Burwick IOWA 5-3
141 #2 Jaydin Eierman MAJ DEC (13-5) Joseph Zargo IOWA 9-3
149 #7 Austin Gomez DEC (3-2) Vince Turk IOWA 9-6
157 #12 Kaleb Young DEC (8-3) Garrett Model IOWA 12-6
165 #5 Alex Marinelli DEC (8-5) #6 Dean Hamiti IOWA 15-6
174 #2 Michael Kemerer MAJ DEC (11-2) #23 Andrew McNally IOWA 19-6
184 #17 Abe Assad DEC (4-2) #27 Chris Weiler IOWA 22-6
197 #4 Jacob Warner DEC (4-1) #22 Braxton Amos IOWA 25-6
285 #4 Tony Cassioppi MAJ DEC (10-0) #11 Trent Hillger IOWA 29-6

A few additional thoughts: 

  • Jesse Ybarra got the start again in place of the injured Drake Ayala and while he kept the margin of defeat close against Barnett, he was not particularly close to scoring many points himself in this match. Iowa's hopes of scoring points at this weight at Big Tens or NCAAs really rest on Ayala getting healthy again soon. 
  • Austin DeSanto winning a 26-11 technical fall in his final match at CHA was about as fitting as it gets. This was absolutely vintage DeSanto, with him using a relentless offensive pace to break his opponent and set up a series of rapid-fire takedowns (this match turned into a go-behind clinic for a while). This match felt like a possible technical fall from the outset and DeSanto made no doubt of that with his performance here. This was absolutely the good stuff from ADS. 
  • Eierman's bonus point win wasn't quite as emphatic as DeSanto's, but he got there in the end -- literally, the end, as his final takedown came a split-second before the final whistle of the third period. After a somewhat quiet first period, Eierman went to work in the second and third periods with a bit more action, and while he also got sloppy for a moment and got caught for a takedown, he responded with an immediate takedown of his own. Not Eierman's finest-ever performance, but better than many he's had this year and seeing him push for bonus points at the end of the match was good -- hopefully his performances will continue to trend up as tournament season nears. 
  • Max Murin got a break at 149, giving senior Vince Turk one final opportunity to wrestle in front of the Iowa faithful at CHA. And Turk nearly took full advantage of that chance by springing an upset on 7th-ranked Austin Gomez, but alas, it wasn't quite meant to be. Turk got in deep on a handful of attacks on Gomez, but wasn't able to finish those attacks with takedowns; Gomez, meanwhile, got the only takedown of the match in the second period. Good fight from Turk in this match, even if the result wasn't quite what anyone was hoping to see. 
  • Did it take Senior Day to light a fire under Kaleb Young? Maybe! Young has never been the most attack-happy wrestler in the Iowa lineup, often content to try and grind out low-scoring wins with a single takedown or a just an escape and a riding time point. So It came as a bit of a shock when he came firing out of the game in this match with a quick takedown in the first and then added two more (!) takedowns in the second period. Model is not the highest-ranked guy at 157, but he's a tricky opponent who notched a win over Minnesota's Brayton Lee earlier in the season -- and Young controlled him from start to finish here. Let's see this Kaleb Young a bit more over the final six weeks of the season, yeah? 
  • 165 was the match of the dual on paper, a showdown between #5 (Marinelli) and #6 (Hamiti) in the rankings, as well as a potential passing of the torch bout in the Big Ten, with the sixth-year senior (Marinelli) trying to hold off the hard-charging true freshman (Hamiti). This also probably ended up being the match of the dual in reality, an exciting bout that showed off Marinelli's crisp offensive attacks and stout defense, as well as Hamiti's impressive scrambling skills. There's no doubt that Hamiti is going to be a nuisance (at the very least) at this weight for years to come, but today was not the day for him to get by The Bull. Marinelli scored off a pair of takedowns and a reversal in the third period and was definitely up to the challenge posed by Hamiti here. It seemed fitting that Marinelli delivered for Iowa yet again in a big moment in CHA; he's done that a lot over the past five years. 
  • The last departing senior to take the mat for Iowa was the longest-serving of the bunch -- and arguably the most beloved as well, Michael Kemerer, Iowa's seventh-year senior leader, took the mat at CHA one final time... and he did not disappoint. He blew the match open with a cradle in the third period (that was achingly close to a pin) and eased to an 11-2 major decision win after that, earning a loud (and well-deserved) standing ovation from the Iowa crowd at the conclusion of the match. 
  • Abe Assad added another win for Iowa at 184, although after a strong start, he spent a lot of the final two periods simply hanging on and trying to avoid disaster. He showed good defense in some wild scrambles in the second period, but got ridden hard for the entire third period. (Weiler obviously felt better about his chances of turning Assad for back points than scoring from neutral, but that was a gamble that did not pay off for him.) Wins are always good, but it never feels good to win after getting ridden out for an entire period. Certainly a few things for Abe to try and work on heading into the most important part of the season. 
  • Here's something you've never seen before: a Jacob Warner match came down to a single takedown in the third period. I know, I know -- truly stunning. Of course, as he has so many times in the past, Warner was on the right side of that narrow margin here, notching a solid takedown with under a minute to go in the third period and riding Amos out for the victory. It's not the most aesthetically pleasing style, but it's been pretty effective over the years. 
  • Finally, Tony Cassioppi ended the dual on a truly dominant note, earning a 10-0 major decision and riding Hillger into the mat. He locked up the riding time point in this match... in the second period. He finished with over 5 minutes of riding time, in addition to a handful of stall calls and a pair of takedowns. Cass completely dominated Hillger from beginning to end in this match. Cassioppi's first big win at Iowa was a 3-2 win over Hillger at the dual in 2019-20; he's beaten Hillger four more times since then and the margins of victory have only grown each time, with the last three wins all being major decisions. Way to go, Tony. 

And way to go, Hawkeyes. Iowa's had plenty of fairly sluggish or frustrating performances this season, even in victory -- this was not really one of them. Up and down the lineup, these Hawkeyes looked fired up and ready to compete in this dual; they came out eager to score points in most cases -- and then did just that. Well done, fellas. 

NEXT: Iowa takes on #10 Oklahoma State (11-2, 5-2 Big 12) at the Bout at the Ballpark at Globe Field Field in Arlington, TX on Saturday, February 12 (6:30 PM CT, Flowrestling). 

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