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More from the dual between Iowa and Iowa State. UNI leaves Las Vegas with a couple runners-up. Plus, a rundown of the weekend’s prep action. Here is a look at the Wrestling Weekend That Was.
Cy-Hawk Series lived up to the hype
Iowa’s 18-15 victory over Iowa State met the high expectations that preceded the 86th official meeting in the 110-year history of the rivalry. The teams each won five matches with three bonus-point wins providing the difference for Iowa and an 18th straight win in the series.
The biggest pre-dual questions were the lineups. Even up to 15 minutes before the start, fans wondered if Iowa’s two-time Hodge Trophy winner Spencer Lee and Real Woods would wrestle. Iowa State also had uncertainties at 125 pounds and heavyweight.
Once Iowa emerged from the tunnel, fans were optimistic about Lee’s return. Finally, some signs started to hint of his comeback from ACL surgeries at the start of the calendar year.
The videoboard displayed Lee, who had his mouthpiece in when Iowa came out for introductions. In the moments leading up to the match announcement, Pat Lugo could be seen smiling while looking into the tunnel.
Lee’s entrance song, “We Will Rock You” by Queen, played and the Hawkeyes crowd erupted. It reacted similarly when he finished his major decision, as well for Woods debut and close win at 141.
“Pretty loud reception,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “First time he’s been on the mat in 12 months. Real Woods, first time he’s been on the mat since March.
“We’re putting our best team on the mat. We’re getting closer to our lineup. Not only that, but they’re getting better every day.”
Lee faced Corey Cabanban, who was replacing injured starter Kysen Terukina. Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said Terukina was hurt at the NWCA All-Star Classic. Interestingly, both teams decided to open at 125.
“I thought they might want to draw,” said Dresser, expecting Iowa to want to start elsewhere depending on Lee’s health. “It was a mutual agreement to wrestle at 125, which is pretty good because we don’t agree on a lot.”
Two of the highlights were provided by newbies in their respective lineups. Iowa State’s Paniro Johnson and Iowa’s Cobe Siebrecht. Johnson used a sudden-victory takedown to edge No. 6 Max Murin, 3-1, at 149. Siebrecht, who saw limited action last year, wowed the crowd, sending Jason Kraisser airborne for a six-point throw early and almost recording his second straight pin at home. He also closed with a crucial takedown and rideout to end the match to secure one of Iowa’s three major decisions.
Johnson has turned a lot of heads already this season. He defeated Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez, who rebounded by beating Cornell University’s three-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis. Johnson is unbeaten with two top-10 victories.
“He’s beaten Gomez and Max Murin so far in the first month of his college career,” Dresser said. “He’s not too bad.”
Don’t forget Tony Cassioppi as a closer for Iowa. With the dual tied at 15, the dual felt over with Cassioppi facing Schuyler, a capable heavyweight that was outmanned except for a short stretch in the third when he scored a takedown and briefly locked up a cradle before Cassioppi escaped and added one last takedown in a 9-2 decision. It’s not the first time he’s come through with the dual on the line. Nice ace up the sleeve for Iowa.
Happel, Keckeisen second in Vegas
Northern Iowa competed at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Panthers finished fifth as a team, scoring 96 points.
UNI was led by runner-up performances by Cael Happel (141) and 184-pounder Parker Keckeisen. Happel, who won South Dakota State’s Daktronics Open, produced another strong tournament run, placing nine spots ahead of his No. 11 seed.
Happel won his first four matches and knocked off Ohio State’s No. 6 seed Dylan D’Emilio, Virginia Tech’s third-seeded Tom Crook and South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson to reach the finals. It was Happel’s second win over No. 16 Carlson. Happel dropped a decision to Nebraska’s 17th-ranked Brock Hardy in the title match.
Keckeisen won his first four matches, including three by major decision. North Carolina State’s second-seeded and third-ranked Trent Hidlay beat Keckeisen, 8-2, in the final.
UNI’s Kyle Biscoglia (133) placed third, 165-pounder Austin Yant was sixth and Colin Realbuto finished eighth at 149.
Lisbon duo wins at Independence
Lisbon’s Brandon Paez and Wyatt Smith captured individual titles Saturday at the Cliff Keen Independence Invitational.
Paez, a UNI commit, was the Dick Schmidt Outstanding Wrestler of the two-day event. He went 6-0 overall and improved to 8-0 overall. The two-time Class 1A state champion faced Cedar Rapids Prairie’s two-time 3A state finalist Blake Gioimo in the 120-pound final.
Paez tallied three takedowns in a 7-0 decision over Gioimo, going with his two pins, two technical falls and a medical forfeit to reach the championship.
Smith is ranked second in 1A and faced Osage’s Mac Muller, who is No. 4 in 2A. Smith used two takedowns and a reversal, including four points in the third, for a 6-3 win. It was his second straight win over a ranked opponent, topping Independence’s 2A No. 5 Korver Hupke, 1-0 in the semifinals. Smith also had three pins.
Osage won the team race handily with 359 points. Alburnett was second with 293.5 and three finalists. Carson Klostermann claimed the 160-pound title for the Pirates. He opened with four straight pins and closed the tournament with a 10-1 major decision over Tristan Steldt, of Fennimore (Wis.).
Preston Klostermann (126) and Brody Neighbor (138) were runners-up for Alburnett.
Union Community state champion Jace Hedeman won the 113-pound crown.
Prairie’s Rigley Koch earned the Wyatt Schultz Underdog Award, which goes to the wrestler that finishes the highest above their seed. He was the 31st seed and placed 10th at 152.
West Liberty’s Drake Collins received the Wayne McCoy fastest fall award. He notched a pin in nine seconds.
Indianola wins Bob Murphy Invite
Indianola won West Delaware’s Bob Murphy Invitational Saturday in Manchester. Indianola scored 240 points with four champions.
The host Hawks were second with 218 points and received titles from Carson Less (126) and Will Ward at 195.