Wrestling Weekend That Was: Perception of Iowa wrestling gets a boost with Oklahoma State win

Observations in wrestling for Jan. 12-14

Iowa's Spencer Lee is introduced before wrestling OSU's Nick Piccininni at 125 pounds during the Hawkeyes regular season meet against Oklahoma State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Iowa City on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Lee won the match 10-5. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)
Iowa's Spencer Lee is introduced before wrestling OSU's Nick Piccininni at 125 pounds during the Hawkeyes regular season meet against Oklahoma State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Iowa City on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Lee won the match 10-5. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

Iowa posted a big win against third-ranked Oklahoma State. The victory is already impacting the perception of the Hawkeyes, who jumped to fourth in the last WIN dual and tournament rankings.

Iowa, considered to be in a rebuilding year, reaffirmed the message from head coach Tom Brands early in the season. He stated Iowa could be a different and stronger team later in the season. The 20-12 victory over the rival Cowboys showed how the lineup has solidified somewhat.

The team feat was made up of a number of impressive individual performances. Spencer Lee and Alex Marinelli, along with Michael Kemerer, are among the “Young Guns” (because they are good underclassmen and wrestled for the club of the same name).

Spencer Lee showed to be the lightweight spark again, beating sixth-ranked Nick Puccininni at 125. Marinelli, who is 2-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, also beat a ranked foe, scoring two takedowns against Chandler Rogers at 165.

The redshirt freshman and four-time Ohio state champ made his home debut the previous week, but had family on hand for his big win. He celebrated briefly in the center of the mat. Marinelli was impressive scoring two takedowns, including a late one to seal a 5-2 win that ignited the crowd.

Apparently, Iowa assistant Ryan Morningstar played a key role bringing Marinelli to Iowa City.

“I love Marinelli,” Brands said. “Every time I watch Marinelli wrestle I thank Ryan Morningstar for going out and getting that recruit. That’s Morningstar’s baby. Like a shiny red Ferrari, but he’s a workhorse, work truck or a lunch pail guy or whatever you want to call it.”

Heavyweight Sam Stoll’s performance may not attract as much attention as the freshmen victories or Brandon Sorensen’s scoring barrage that gained what could have been critical bonus points had Stoll not won or Mitch Bowman’s solid decision at 184.

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Stoll is returning from two straight seasons that ended in knee injury and surgical repair. With the meet all but in hand for Iowa, Stoll battled to a second sudden victory period, dropping No. 10 Derek White, 6-4, after wrestling for nearly 10 minutes. White is a smaller and quicker heavyweight, but a lighter and more agile Stoll appeared just as athletic in the win.

“That was a gutsy performance by Stoll and getting the takedown there at the end was huge,” Bowman said. “He had to fight for that.”

UNI third at Virginia Duals

Northern Iowa placed third at the Virginia Duals. The Panthers improved to 5-2 this season. UNI handled Kent State and UT-Chattanooga in pool play, advancing to the gold bracket.

UNI fell to No. 10 Arizona State, 24-16, in a dual that came down to the final bout at heavyweight. The Panthers rebounded, throttling Oklahoma, 25-9.

UNI All-American and former Union four-time state champion Max Thomsen had a successful weekend. He avenged a pair of previous losses, beating former NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis, of Arizona State, and the Sooners’ Davion Jefferies.

Drew Foster, a returning All-American at 184, recorded major decisions in three of his four bouts. He beat Arizona State’s Kordell Norfleet, 9-1, and Oklahoma’s Matt Waddell, 14-4.

ISU reaches .500 mark

Iowa State followed its first win under Kevin Dresser with a couple wins at the Virginia Duals. The Cyclones are now 5-5, which seems like a feat in itself.

Iowa State beat Virginia before falling to Arizona State the first day. On day two, the Cyclones topped Old Dominion (25-12) and Fresno State (25-16), receiving a forfeit victory over Lock Haven. Iowa State has a legit shot at another win, hosting West Virginia on Sunday.

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Nate handles Lizak

Former Ohio State NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello has missed much of the season but has recently returned to the Buckeyes lineup. He has dropped back down to 125 pounds this season after a season at 133.

Tomasello dominated Minnesota’s No. 4 Ethan Lizak, 18-3. An impressive victory, showing that Tomasello will be a force to reckoned with at the weight he won a national title as a freshman. Tomasello will face Iowa’s Lee on Sunday.

Teske-Thompson II

Cedar Rapids was the host of a marquee matchup Saturday at the Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawk Invitational. Fort Dodge’s Brody Teske and Underwood’s Alex Thomsen faced off for the second time this season, battling in the 126-pound finals. Both three-time state champions began the season unbeaten, but eliminated each other from joining an elite club of undefeated Iowa preps.

Teske topped Thomsen, 11-9, at the Council Bluffs Wrestling Classic on Dec. 9. Thomsen returned the favor with a 10-8 decision in sudden victory Saturday. They handed each other their only loss as an Iowa prep. Kudos to both for putting it on the line and opening up for another entertaining match.

“We’re both out to find the best competition possible,” said Thomsen, a Nebraska signee. “Give the fans what they want to see.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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