IOWA CITY — Many consider Brandon Sorensen the current face of the Iowa wrestling program.
The three-time All-American has produced success without any drama, bringing his proverbial lunch pail to daily practices and each match.
Sorensen’s face emerged from the Carver-Hawkeye Arena tunnel for the last time, wearing the black-and-gold singlet. Like 34 previous times, Sorensen gave the home crowd a reason to cheer.
Second-ranked Sorensen beat No. 3 Ryan Deakin in sudden victory and helped the seventh-ranked Hawkeyes to a 33-2 dual win over No. 17 Northwestern during Senior Day on Sunday. Iowa improved to 11-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten.
Sorensen owns a 35-3 all-time mark at CHA with only one of those losses coming in the regular season. He wasn’t singing any swan song with more than a month left of the season.
“It’s not like this is the end all, right now,” said Sorensen, who was recognized after the dual with fellow seniors Phil Laux and Logan McQuillen. “We’ve got bigger things coming in March. That’s my goal.
“It’s always fun to come out here and perform in front of these fans, so that was awesome one last time. We’ve got bigger things ahead of us.”
Sorensen’s career has been built on a blue-collar work ethic. Iowa Coach Tom Brands said he’s never had to worry about Sorensen’s behavior or training during breaks and the offseason, calling him a solid individual.
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“He is what we want our guys to be,” Brands said. “He puts his head down and goes to work every day. There has been zero distraction with him.”
Sorensen survived a 5-4 nail-biter against Deakin at 149, receiving a penalty point after Deakin was caught pulling on his headgear in the overtime period.
“I guess that’s what led to the match win,” Sorensen said. “That doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter. You’re in overtime. You’ve got to get a takedown.”
Northwestern (8-4, 3-4) was deducted a team point for failure to control the mat area after contesting the call, giving them negative points until Johnny Sebastian earn its only win at 174.
Brands said Sorensen needs to score more takedowns, widening the gap with opponents. Be aggressive and offensive.
“Go out there and do what you do best and do more of it,” Brands said. “I think we were waiting (and) reacting too much.”
After a scoreless first, Sorensen scored a takedown in the second to offset two Deakin escapes. Sorensen’s third-period escape gave him a one-point edge until Deakin’s takedown gave him a 4-3 lead with 22 seconds left. Blood time caused a restart three ticks later and Sorensen escaped with nine seconds remaining to force overtime.
Sorensen was unfazed, focusing on the next score. It helped that he escaped in nine seconds to start the period
“You’ve got to get out,” Sorensen said. “I knew I could get out, exploding off the bottom.”
Freshman Spencer Lee opened the dual with his fifth straight victory over a top-10 foe and his second in the last three days. The third-ranked 125-pounder topped No. 9 Sebastian Rivera, 7-4, despite only scoring one escape in the final two periods.
“I didn’t focus on scoring,” Lee said. “The coaching staff and I have a lot to work on for Penn State Saturday.”
Lee used a huge first period, scoring an early takedown and four nearfall off his patented tilt for a 6-0 lead at the first break. Rivera notched two takedowns in the third to make things interesting but Lee was in control the entire match.
“He scored enough points in the first period to win the match,” Brands said. “Sometimes that’s how he thinks. I know he’s hard on himself. He doesn’t necessarily like the way he wrestled, but I think he’s got more in the tank than what he shows out there, meaning if he’s got to score I think he can get scores.”
Paul Glynn (133) and 184-pounder Mitch Bowman defeated ranked opponents. Glynn scored the final three points of the match, including a takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining, to beat No. 24 Colin Valdiviez, 3-2.
“He was just kind of clingy there in that over-under,” Glynn said. “I went for that arm spin. I knew it would make something happen and I ended up on his legs, drove forward and got the two. I had to make something happen there.”
Bowman rebounded from a disappointing performance against Minnesota Friday. He led throughout, adding a takedown in the final seconds and a point for riding time, for a 9-1 major decision over No. 23 Mitch Sliga. Brands said he liked Bowman’s calm demeanor.
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“A solid win,” Brands said. “Up 6-0, cut him and won 9-1 on riding time (for) major decision. Good job.”
Michael Kemerer (157) and Alex Marinelli added technical fall victories, while Vince Turk won by major decision at 141 for the Hawkeyes, who head to Happy Valley, Pa., on Saturday for a dual against top-ranked Penn State.
AT IOWA CITY
Iowa 33, Northwestern 2*
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
125 pounds — Spencer Lee (I) dec. Sebastian Rivera, 7-4 (1,2); 133 — Paul Glynn (I) dec. Colin Valdiviez, 3-2 (1,0); 141 — Vince Turk (I) major dec. Alex McKenna, 10-2 (4,0); 149 — Brandon Sorensen (I) dec. Ryan Deakin, 5-4 SV1 (1,1); 157 — Michael Kemerer (I) tech. fall Shane Oster, 17-2 (3,0); 165 — Alex Marinelli (I) tech. fall Michael Sepke, 23-8 (10,0); 174 — Johnny Sebastian (N) dec. Kaleb Young, 9-4 (3,0); 184 — Mitch Bowman (I) major dec. Mitch Sliga, 9-1 (3,0); 197 — Cash Wilcke (I) dec. Zack Chakonis, 8-4 (3,0); Hwt. — Sam Stoll (I) dec. Conan Jennings, 2-0 (1,0).
Takedowns — Iowa 27, Northwester 6. Reversals — Iowa 1, Northwestern 1. Escapes — Iowa 12, Northwestern 19. Nearfall points — Iowa 14, Northwestern 2. Penalty points (awarded) — Iowa 3, Northwestern 1, Riding-time points — Iowa 3, Northwestern 0. Total match points — Iowa 88, Northwestern 36. A — 7,551.
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