MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Iowa advanced four wrestlers into the semifinals of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships.
The Hawkeyes were led by second-seeded wrestlers Spencer Lee (125), Austin DeSanto (133) and 165-pounder Alex Marinelli and freshman Jacob Warner at 197.
Iowa was sixth with 41 points after the opening session of the conference tournament Saturday afternoon at Minnesota’s Williams Arena, The Hawkeyes went 4-5 in the quarterfinals and have six remaining in consolation action that kicks off the evening session.
All four semifinalists received first-round byes. Lee wasted little time in the quarterfinals, pinning Indiana’s Elijah Oliver in 1:37. DeSanto topped Purdue’s Ben Thornton, 9-3, and Warner beat Wisconsin’s Beau Breske, 10-4. Marinelli had the tightest match, beating Ohio State’s Te’Shan Campbell, 6-3.
“Won some tough matches and maybe left some bonus points out there,” Brands said. “Points are hard to come by and we need to make them easier.”
Five of Iowa’s six first-session losses were by two points or fewer, including four in the quarterfinals. Kaleb Young (157) and Cash Wilcke (184) fell by a single point in the quarterfinals, while Mitch Bowman had a one-point setback in the first round.
“Points are hard to come by,” Brands said. “We have to make them go our way.
“We have to put our holds together and good things will happen.”
The attention immediately turns to getting four finalists and as many automatic NCAA bids as possible. Getting the next best thing is an important mantra that the wrestlers have to embrace, according to Brands.
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“We have good guys there, looking forward to the next step after this as well, but one match at a time from this tournament,” Brands said. “There’s a lot more wrestling to do. These guys aren’t giving up.”
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