Iowa Hawkeyes

Sam Stoll returning to form for Iowa wrestling

Heavyweight expected to wrestle against Nebraska this weekend

Iowa's Sam Stoll scores a takedown against Rutgers' Christian Colucci during the 285-pound bout of a Big Ten dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa's Sam Stoll scores a takedown against Rutgers' Christian Colucci during the 285-pound bout of a Big Ten dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa heavyweight Sam Stoll has champed at the bit to return to the mat.

Even though the reins aren’t removed, they have loosened with a little more than a month left in the season.

Stoll has wrestled in the last three duals, doubling his match total for the season, and dominated each opponent over the last two weeks. Stoll is ranked second nationally by trackwrestling.com and is 6-0 overall.

Iowa Coach Tom Brands remains cautious about the wear and tear on the All-American and two-time NCAA qualifier.

“We have to make sure that he is healthy,” Brands said during the team’s weekly media availability Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “His knee is getting healthier. I think we’ve done a good job of managing that. He’s a fifth-year senior that has had a lot of trauma on that knee and he’s in a good place.”

Stoll has looked impressive in most of his matches, scoring bonus-point victories. He has two pins and a major decision this season. Stoll has allowed just two points in matches that have gone the distance.

The road trip to Illinois and Northwestern last weekend resulted in a second-period fall and a win by injury default after building an 8-0 lead against the Wildcats’ No. 9 Conan Jennings.

“Good weekend,” Stoll told media Sunday. “Two wins (with) two bonus points. Would have liked to actually get the fall in the second one.

“I’m pretty happy with it.”

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Brands added that Stoll was dominant in all three positions, coming off the bottom, dominant on his feet and “Stoll-esque” with very tough rides to work for the pin.

Stoll is expected to have another test this Sunday when third-ranked Iowa (10-0, 5-0 Big Ten) faces No. 9 Nebraska (9-3, 3-2) in Lincoln, Neb. He could wrestle No. 13 David Jensen (11-2).

“We have one dual meet this weekend, so chances are we are going to see him,” Brands said. “We didn’t have any setbacks this past weekend. He went both matches. It was a good step forward for him.”

Stoll had his first two seasons end prematurely to knee injuries. He reached the national podium last year, but an offseason accident caused another injury. Stoll continues to work back to the form that saw him as the top-ranked heavyweight to start the season.

“Just a day at a time, taking everything day-by-day,” Stoll said. “Just focusing on what I need to do each day to get better.”

Speaking of Iowa’s lineup, both Kaleb Young and Spencer Lee are expected to return for the Nebraska dual. Lee is set to face former NCAA finalist and 16th-ranked Zeke Moisey. Young has No. 2 Tyler Berger.

“He’s a good athlete,” seventh-ranked Young said. “He’s a good competitor. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to go out and show what I’m capable of and it’s the next match on the schedule so it’s the most important one, right now. I’m getting ready for it.”

UNI unbeaten in Big 12

Northern Iowa remained unbeaten in Big 12 duals, posting home victories over Northern Colorado on Friday and Oklahoma on Sunday. The Panthers improved to 5-4 overall but they are an impressive 5-0 in the conference.

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The task increases drastically as 16th-ranked UNI heads to Stillwater, Okla., for a dual against No. 2 Oklahoma State on Friday. The Cowboys defeated Iowa State 22-15 on Sunday, moving to 10-0 overall.

“I want to see us raise our level,” UNI Coach Doug Schwab said Monday during his weekly news conference. It’s time to do that.”

Coe hosts Cornell

Coe will host Cornell at Kohawk Arena in the latest installment of the Bremner Cup Series on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m.

The 10th-ranked Kohawks won 32-6 a year ago and have won 18 of the last 21 in the series.

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

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