Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Iowa Hawkeyes

NCAA wrestling brackets: Iowa's Alex Marinelli earns top seed at 165

Tough draws and entire first-round pairings for Iowa, ISU, UNI and former state preps

Iowa's Alex Marinelli pounds to the stands as he his declared the winner of his 165 lbs. semi-final match against Wisconsin's Evan Wick at the Big Ten Conference Wrestling Tournament in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa's Alex Marinelli pounds to the stands as he his declared the winner of his 165 lbs. semi-final match against Wisconsin's Evan Wick at the Big Ten Conference Wrestling Tournament in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The NCAA released the brackets for the Division I Wrestling Championships on Wednesday.

Iowa’s Alex Marinelli was the only wrestler from state schools and former Iowa preps to earn a top seed at the national tournament March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Hawkeyes and Iowa State each qualified nine and Northern Iowa advanced six.

Iowa learned its draw and a few matchups are interesting.

Brackets: 2019 NCAA wrestling championships

Marinelli earned the No. 1 spot at 165 pounds, following his Big Ten Championships title Sunday. He improved to 23-0 and claimed Iowa’s 200th individual conference crown, beating Penn State’s two-time NCAA champion and now second-seeded Vicenzo Joseph, 9-3, in the final. Marinelli will face one of the toughest roads in the entire 10-bracket, 330-wrestler field. He awaits the winner of Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith (18-6) and Northwestern’s Tyler Morland (6-9).

Smith, the son of legendary Cowboys wrestler and coach John Smith, is a two-time All-American, who competed at 174 most of the season and dropped down a weight for the postseason. A victory could set up a match with Brown’s No. 17 Jonathan Viruet, who Marinelli beat 8-6 in sudden victory at the Midlands Championships.

The path to the final could go through former Junior World team member and Virginia Tech’s No. 8 seed Mekhi Lewis (23-2) and Wisconsin’s No. 4 Evan Wick, who has lost three hard-fought matches to Marinelli by a total of four points this season, including one in overtime.

NCAA champion Spencer Lee received the No. 3 seed for the second straight year. He was unfazed a year ago, winning the 125-pound title. Like last year, he has a chance to avenge a loss in the semifinal. Lee seems to be on a collision course with Oklahoma State’s second-seeded Nick Piccininni in the semifinals. Lee handled him twice last season, including a fall in the national quarterfinals. Piccininni won by fall in the regular-season finale.

Iowa’s seventh-seeded Austin DeSanto has a gauntlet similar to Marinelli. As Andy Hamilton of trackwrestling.com highlighted, DeSanto’s half of the bracket includes NCAA finalists Stevan Micic, the second seed from Michigan, Rutgers’ No. 3 seed Nick Suriano and Minnesota’s No. 6 seed Ethan Lizak and North Carolina State All-American Tariq Wilson, who was third last season. If DeSanto and Micic win their first two, it sets up a national quarterfinal rematch between them from a year ago.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Also, freshman Jacob Warner grabbed the fifth seed at 197 and could advance to face Army’s Rocco Caywood in the second round. Caywood clipped Warner by two at Midlands.

Kaleb Young (157) earned the sixth seed and 149-pounder Pat Lugo is 10th, rounding out Iowa’s top-10 seeds.

Iowa State is led by sixth-seeded 197-pounder Willie Miklus. He knows how to perform well in the postseason, earning All-American honors three times. Miklus was a Big 12 finalist and suffered a 10-0 loss to Oklahoma State’s No. 3 Preston Weigel in the semifinals.

Jarrett Degen is the eighth seed at 149, while Sam Colbray is 10th at 184 for the Cyclones.

UNI’s Josh Alber experienced a tough start to the postseason, losing his first conference tournament match as the top seed. He stormed back for third and salvaged the fourth seed at 141 at nationals. Drew Foster’s second Big 12 title earned the sixth seed in what could be a wide-open bottom half of the 184 bracket.

Taylor Lujan received the eighth seed at 174. The exciting Big 12 finalist has a strong shot at a rematch of last-year’s quarterfinals with Penn State’s top-seeded Mark Hall.

Former Union Community prep and UNI All-American Max Thomsen’s up-and-down season has landed him in the No. 15 seed at 149. A deep run and a strong of upsets isn’t out of the question. He could face Ohio State’s No. 2 Micah Jordan in the second round.

NCAA first-round matchups

IOWA

125 — #3 Spencer Lee (18-3) vs. #30 Christian Moody (Oklahoma, 13-9)

133 — #7 Austin DeSanto (18-4) vs. #26 Codi Russell (Appalachian State, 20-10)

141 — #22 Max Murin (15-8) vs. #11 Tristan Moran (Wisconsin, 23-9)

149 — #10 Pat Lugo (20-7) vs. #23 Josh Maruca (Arizona State, 16-12)

157 — #6 Kaleb Young (20-5) vs. #27 Dan Reed (Columbia, 27-8)

165 — #1 Alex Marinelli (23-0) vs. #32 Tyler Morland (Northwestern, 6-9)/#33 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State, 18-6) winner

184 — #12 Cash Wilcke (21-6) vs. #21 Nick Gravina (Rutgers, 6-3)

197 — #5 Jacob Warner (17-4) vs. #28 Drew Phipps (Bucknell, 24-10)

Hwt. — #29 Sam Stoll (9-5) vs. #4 Jordan Wood (Lehigh, 21-3)

IOWA STATE

125 — #20 Alex Mackall (25-10) vs. #13 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan, 19-8)

133 — #13 Austin Gomez (21-5) vs. #20 Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh, 15-11)

141 — #17 Ian Parker (23-7) vs. #16 Chad Red (Nebraska, 18-11)

149 — #8 Jarrett Degen (25-6) vs. #25 Russell Rohlfling (CSU-Bakersfield, 16-11)

157 — #23 Chase Straw (21-10) vs. #10 Steve Bleise (Minnesota, 18-7)

174 — #21 Marcus Coleman (27-12) vs. #12 Matt Finesilver (Duke, 24-7)

184 — #10 Sam Colbray (26-6) vs. #23 Jackson Hemauer (Fresno State, 23-11)

197 — #6 Willie Miklus (22-3) vs. #27 Josh Roetman (Navy, 25-10)

Hwt. — #26 Gannon Gremmel (25-13) vs. #7 Trent Hilger (Wisconsin, 22-6)

NORTHERN IOWA

125 — #22 Jay Schwarm (14-10) vs. #11 Travis Piotrwoski (Illinois, 20-10)

141 — #4 Josh Alber (31-5) vs. #29 Corey Shie (Army, 27-14)

149 — #15 Max Thomsen (21-8) vs. #18 Jared Prince (Navy, 19-9)

165 — #11 Bryce Steiert (23-7) vs. #22 Bryce Martin (Indiana, 21-9)

174 — #8 Taylor Lujan (24-5) vs. #25 Hayden Hastings (Wyoming, 25-13)

184 — #6 Drew Foster (23-5) vs. #27 Christian LaFragola (Brown, 24-9)

FORMER IOWA PREPS

125 — #31 Bryce West (Northern Illinois/Highland/Solon, 15-14) vs. #2 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State, 30-0)

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

149 — #22 Heny Pohlmeyer (South Dakota State/Johnston, 21-13) vs. #11 Josh Heil (Campbell, 23-6)

185 — #25 Max Lyon (Purdue/Western Dubuque, 23-12) vs.#8 Ryan Preisch (Lehigh, 20-3)

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.