Iowa Hawkeyes

No. 1 Iowa wrestling caps first unbeaten season since 2011 by mauling No. 9 Oklahoma State

Fans reward Hawkeyes (13-0) with new NCAA wrestling attendance record

IOWA CITY — For the No. 1-ranked Iowa wrestling team, the postseason is officially here.

And the Hawkeyes are bringing the clout that comes with an unbeaten record and a heaping dose of confidence with them.

“Big statement,” Iowa senior Pat Lugo said after the Hawkeyes blitzed No. 9 Oklahoma State, 34-6, in a non-conference college wrestling dual meet in front of 13,109 fans Sunday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We are all going into this Big Ten (Championships) and (NCAA Championships) very confident. Showing the world that this is meant. (Iowa Associate Head Coach) Terry (Brands) tells us, ‘This is meant. We’re meant.’ Read between the lines there. But we’re not done yet.”

Lugo — ranked second at 149 pounds — celebrated Senior Night in style with a pin of sixth-ranked Boo Lewallen of Oklahoma State in 2:22.

For Lugo (18-1), the pin was his first at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I just let it fly,” Lugo said. “I just went out there and knew it was my last match in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Nothing changed. My routine stays the same. My thoughts and prayers stay the same. I felt it and I went for it and I got the six points.”

Two-time Iowa NCAA champion Spencer Lee got the night started at 125 with a 12-3 major decision over fourth-ranked Nick Piccininni. Piccininni was the highest-ranked opponent for Lee (15-0) this season, and the win was Lee’s second consecutive over Piccininni since being pinned by him at Oklahoma State last year.

“I wish I wrestled a highly-ranked guy every match,” Lee said. “Go out there and do my thing and wrestle hard. He is a good competitor. Last year, he beat me one time so we know we have got to get ready to go even though you have got to get ready to go for every match, no matter what. Because it is the next one. That is the biggest match you have ever seen, right? Because it is the next one.”

Like Lee, No. 1 174-pounder Michael Kemerer will arrive at the Big Ten Championships with an undefeated record at 13-0 after a 12-2 major decision over 13th-ranked Joe Smith.

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Austin DeSanto (pin at 133), Max Murin (major decision at 141) and heavyweight Tony Cassioppi (major decision) all recorded bonus points for the Hawkeyes.

In other ranked-versus-ranked matchups, second-ranked Alex Marinelli improved to 17-1 this season with a 3-2 decision over No. 6 Travis Wittlake at 165, while Jacob Warner (15-3) — ranked sixth at 197 — won by decision over No. 16 Dakota Geer, 8-3.

The margin of victory was the largest against Oklahoma State since 1995 and it gave Iowa (13-0) an unbeaten dual record after the regular season for the first time since the 2010-11 team ended 15-0-1. The crowd of 13,109 fans pushed the average home attendance this season to 12,568 fans per home meet, a new NCAA record.

“Great schedule, they showed up,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “They showed up from the get-go. I think there were 10,000-plus for Chattanooga and we have got to continue that next year and we have got to get ready to give our fans something to be excited about going into this postseason and then put some exclamation marks on these next two tournaments. Go Hawks.”

The Big Ten Championships are March 7-8 at Piscataway, N.J.

“Individual,” Tom Brands said of the focus between now and then. “Tune these guys in. Put a razor edge on them.”

College wrestling

AT CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA

No. 1 Iowa 34, No. 9 Oklahoma State 6

Individual results

125 — No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 4 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 12-3

133 — No. 3 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) pinned Reece Witcraft (Oklahoma State), 2:38

141 — No. 5 Max Murin (Iowa) maj. dec. Dusty Hone (Oklahoma State), 15-4

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149 — No. 2 Pat Lugo (Iowa) pinned No. 6 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), 2:22

157 — Wyatt Sheets (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 5 Kaleb Young (Iowa), 9-4

165 — No. 2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. No. 6 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State), 3-2

174 — No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 13 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State), 12-2

184 — No. 14 Anthony Montalvo (Oklahoma State) dec. Nelson Brands (Iowa), 8-2

197 — No. 6 Jacob Warner (Iowa) dec. No. 16 Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State), 8-3

285 — No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) maj. dec. Austin Harris, 11-1

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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