116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Iowa Hawkeyes flexed their muscles with a strong start.
The Hawkeyes were perched atop the rest of the field thanks in part to an early 14-match win streak.
Iowa's Max Murin capped the opening stretch by avenging a previous loss to Nebraska's fifth-seeded Ridge Lovett and helped the top-ranked Hawkeyes to the team lead after Day 1 at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Thursday night at Enterprise Center. Iowa advanced eight into the quarterfinals with all 10 still competing.
Iowa had 33.5 points and Penn State was second with 28. Missouri was in third at 23.5.
'We've got to get ready for eight quarterfinals,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. 'We've got to get two guys on the backside. It's Day 2 and we've got to roll.”
The Hawkeyes finished with an 18-2 mark and opened with 14 straight victories. Many of the victories were expected on paper, but the Hawkeyes took care of business for much of the day.
'We had a good day,” Iowa 197-pounder Jacob Warner said. 'As a team, we're just looking forward to competing, showing we're the team to beat and we can do what we do.”
Murin rebounded from a lackluster 0-2 Big Ten tournament with a bright start to the national meet. The 12th-seed recorded two wins, including revenge against Lovett with a 5-3 decision at 149 pounds.
Unlike the last meeting when Lovett converted on a six-point throw for an early lead, Murin struck first with a first-period takedown and rideout. Murin extended his lead with an escape in the second only for Lovett to tie it with a takedown later in the period and an escape in the third.
Murin (6-3) converted a late shot and finished with 23 seconds left to move a victory away from All-America status.
The day started with a nail-biter for Murin. A riding-time point was the difference in his 8-7 triumph over Indiana's Graham Rooks.
'Two real gutsy wins and that's what it takes,” Brands said of Murin. 'You find a way to get your hand raised, get on a roll here and let's score points early and often.
'Maybe you don't have to have it so close, but we'll take them how we can get them. A little bit of redemption for him.”
Warner also posted a couple of tough victories. After his comeback victory in the first round, Warner controlled his second-round bout with Northwestern's Lucas Davison. He scored the only takedown for a 3-0 decision.
'Two close ones but if you look at it, besides the headlock in that first match, they're really not that close,” Warner said. 'On them the whole time, making them feel my pressure. That last match he didn't sniff a score the whole time. He had a game plan, and I went with mine, which is just score some points.”
Much of the first day included dominant performances. The Hawkeyes posted 12 bonus-point victories - six majors, five technical falls and a pin - that resulted in 15.5 extra points. Austin DeSanto (133) had a pin and a technical fall. Top-seeded Michael Kemerer had two technical falls. Two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee had a technical fall and a major decision, while No. 1 Alex Marinelli added two major decisions.
Brands said some Hawkeyes have distanced themselves from opponents better than at the conference tournament.
'Bonus points are important,” said Brands. 'Those guys are starting to open things up. Our horsepower is starting to come out.”
Iowa State suffered a disappointing day. The Cyclones didn't really recover after a rough start that included a 2-6 first round. Third-seeded David Carr and heavyweight Gannon Gremmel were bright spots, reaching Friday morning's quarterfinals.
Carr was dominant in his two major decision victories, outscoring foes 26-2. He closed the day with a three-takedown showing in a 10-2 win over Michigan's No. 14 Will Lewan. Gremmel topped Missouri's Zach Elam, 3-1, to reach the quarterfinals.
UNI also finished with two in the quarterfinals. Fourth-seeded Parker Keckeisen (184) and No. 5 Brody Teske each went 2-0. Keckeisen defeated Navy's David Key, 16-5, in the second round. Teske beat Northwestern's Michael DeAugustino, 2-0, to advance.
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