The Iowa Wrestling program had another very good week.  The Hawks looked real good throughout the lineup in defeating #14 ranked Rutgers, 30-6.  Iowa won eight of ten matches including three wins with bonus points.

Let’s take a look at the lineup:

125 – Spencer Lee looked like he is getting back to his old ways. It only took :38 for Lee to get a takedown, back points, and then the fall.   That is a lot of action in just 38 seconds. As I mentioned in my blog last week, no doubt in my mind Lee will be more than ready to go at tournament time.

133 – The most anticipated match of the night turned out to be the biggest match of the night.  Austin DeSanto scored a late takedown to defeat #3 Nick Suriano, 6-4. The pressure that DeSanto put on Suriano paid off in the end.  That is Iowa Wrestling. I will keep stating that I have never seen a better conditioned Iowa wrestler than DeSanto. That match was won on pressure, intensity, and conditioning. The Iowa Wrestling way.

141 – A solid win by Max Murin with an 8-4 decision.  Murin has all of the tools to be a lot better wrestler.  I think he just needs more mat time.  This guy is so close to making a really big breakthrough where he opens things up on his feet with quick finishes on his takedowns.  I certainly believe Murin is is better than his #15 ranking.

149 – Patricio Lugo dropped a 3-1 OT decision to #2 ranked Anthony Ashnault.  There are some positives to take away when you are ranked #10 like Lugo and lose in overtime to the #2 in the country.  Lugo will continue to get better and as with Murin, I believe he is better than his ranking of #10.

157 – Kaleb Young is racking up the wins in his own style.  Young is fundamentally sound and looked good in defeating #14 ranked John Van Brill, 5-2.  I am hoping to see Young score more points but he is picking up wins over quality ranked opponents in the Big Ten. That is always good news.

165 – Alex Marinelli just continues to impress with a first period fall in 2:17.  Marinelli now has more pins (6) than he had all of last year. I look for him to continue to add to his personal best on his journey chasing a national title this season.  Dang, that guy is strong.

174 – Mitch Bowman dropped a hard fought 7-3 decision.  I still do not believe Bowman is 100% at his new weight class and I look for him to continue to improve and to be a much better wrestler at Big Tens on March 9-10.

184 – Another solid win for Cash Wilcke with a 6-1 decision.  I still believe Wilcke can win the low scoring matches and go very deep at the NCAA National Championships.  As with Young, Wilcke has his own unique style. He does not blow people out of the water, but he keeps getting his hand raised.  I ‘ll take it and keep saying that 184 is an open weight class that Wilcke can do some damage in at the NCAA’s.

197 – Jacob Warner took it to the mat for a 6-0 decision.  After a scoreless first period, Warner chose down and got the escape.  In the third, his opponent chose down and Warner not only rode him out the entire third period, but picked up four back points.  That was great to see. That will give Warner’s opponents something to think about when they see that he can not only ride, but turn.  I just see Warner continuing to improve and eventually really open it up for takedowns to take his wrestling to a whole new level. The sky’s the limit here and he is making steady progress.  Keep putting the pieces together in time for the NCAA’s.

Hwt – It was great to see Sam Stoll back in action.  Stoll is a fan favorite and for good reason. What a tough guy to fight through the injuries that he has had to deal with.  Stoll won a 10-0 decision and looked good. Seeing Stoll in action was a great step. Now we can only hope that he can string together 3-4 weeks of competition and build himself up like only competition can do for a wrestler.  If heart and toughness have anything to do with it, Stoll will be ready to go on March 9 for Big Tens and March 21 for the NCAA Championships.

I really like what I am seeing from Iowa Wrestling for team unity.  That is two weeks in a row that DeSanto has had a huge match. Having one wrestler that is new to the lineup step up and provide a spark in the form of a roaring blaze and inferno like DeSanto has is huge to the program.  The entire program can rally around DeSanto the way they did last year with Spencer Lee being new to the lineup. I just have to think that helps with team unity.

I have been saying it since DeSanto committed to transfer to Iowa last spring.  Give me a dual meet and/or Big Tens and the NCAA’s starting with Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto and Iowa fans will be very entertained.  I have sure liked it so far. I can’t wait until Lee and DeSanto are both at the top of their game. When that happens, look out.

Marinelli continues to take his game up a notch with every match.  What I am seeing out of Marinelli sure looks like a national championship season to me.  He is just crushing his opponents. Now we will see if he scores more points against the higher ranked opponents.  

The Hawks hit the road for their only two meet road trip of the season this weekend.  The Hawks will be at #13 Illinois on Friday night and at #11 Northwestern on Sunday afternoon.  The Illinois meet is on BTN at 8 PM CST. FloWrestling will cover the Northwestern meet at 2PM CST on Sunday.

Iowa had to depend on Sam Stoll getting a pin to defeat Illinois at home last year. A Jim Heffernan coached team will always wrestle Iowa tough.  There will be two huge matches against Northwestern. Spencer Lee will have a huge rematch against #1 ranked Sebastian Rivera and Kaleb Young will have a rematch with #3 Ryan Deakin. Lee and Yong both lost to their Northwestern opponent in the Midlands finals. Wrestling fans across the country will be watching Lee-Rivera as the biggest match of the weekend.

For the second week in a row I am going to point the finger at the Iowa wrestling coaching staff.  The performance against Minnesota and now Rutgers was just flat out real good coaching. The Iowa wrestlers have been prepared and ready for battle.  Every one of the ten weights are showing improvement the last two weeks.

The game plan is to have the Iowa wrestling team at a peaked level in Pittsburgh on March 21, 22, and 23.  I would say that Iowa Wrestling is right on course.

As a fan if you are not excited about Iowa Wrestling, you should be.

I really like what I am seeing from Iowa Wrestling.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!