IOWA CITY — Mitch Bowman wants to be more than a reserve.
But, the returning NCAA qualifier finds himself as an upper-weight utility for Iowa Coach Tom Brands. He reluctantly embraces his job, doing whatever is needed to help the Hawkeyes.
“Right now, I’m in support and that’s my role,” Bowman said. “I don’t like the role but that’s the role I’m in right now, so if he asks me to go 197, I’ll go 197. If he says go heavyweight, I’ll wrestle heavyweight.
“It doesn’t matter because he’s doing what’s best for the team and what’s best for me. I truly believe that.”
Bowman demonstrated his worth, knocking off Purdue’s 12th-ranked Christian Brunner and kicking off third-ranked Iowa’s 26-9 victory over the No. 14 Boilermakers in the Big Ten Conference dual opener Saturday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes (4-0, 1-0) won seven bouts, despite missing half of their lineup.
Iowa has been with All-Americans Michael Kemerer (174) and heavyweight Sam Stoll and freshman 197-pounder Jacob Warner. The Hawkeyes didn’t have NCAA champion Spencer Lee or two-time national qualifier Pat Lugo at 125 and 149 against the Boilermakers (2-1, 0-1).
In addition to Bowman bumping from 184 to 197, former Lisbon prep Carter Happel moved up a weight and posted a decision at 149.
“Versatility is a byproduct of toughness,” Brands said. “They’re tough. You give them an assignment and they take it on and that’s what we need.
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“You never know what’s going on in that wrestling room. We’re going to rely on these guys for the near term. That’s the lineup you’re going to see. We’ve got to be making hay with that lineup.”
Bowman (3-0) was listed at 184 with Wilcke. He received word in the tunnel that he would be the 197 starter.
The short notice didn’t faze him. Bowman jumped to an early lead, scoring a pair of first-period takedowns. He added a penalty point and reversal in the second period. Brunner’s second-period takedown and rideout in the third wasn’t enough.
“I think I wrestled pretty well,” Bowman said. “I definitely need to keep scoring points toward the end of the match. I started slowing down and not widening the gap.”
Happel knew for a couple days that he would be stepping in for a “kind of banged up” Lugo. Happel used a second-period escape and 1:52 of riding time for a 2-0 victory over Parker Filius.
He could feel Filius break in the third.
“I knew he was tired,” Happel said. “I could feel him every time I mat returned him I was taking a little bit more out of him.”
Happel’s performance came during a stretch of 18:32 of actual match time that Purdue didn’t score a single match point, spanning the final three seconds of Austin DeSanto’s decision at 133 to a first-period escape in Alex Marinelli’s 14-3 major decision at 165. Max Murin added a 5-0 victory at 141, while Iowa’s 12th-ranked Kaleb Young decked No. 14 Griffin Parriott at 157.
Murin, Happel, Marinelli and Cash Wilcke (184) scored riding-time points for the Hawkeyes.
“Tough rides,” Brands said. “You talk about toughness and that ingredient. It’s in their wrestling as well.”
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Young helped Iowa pull away, clinging to a 9-6 lead at the midway point. Young, who was a role player before dropping down to take over the starting spot at 157, was in a scoreless bout. Young was able to counter escape attempts and when Parriott tried a more unorthodox approach, Young squashed him for a fall in 3:37.
“I feel like it was definitely important,” Young said. “When I was running off the mat, Terry said, ‘We need that!’ so it felt good. I knew that if I went out and wrestled my style, just loose and let things go, that I would be able to get bonus points. It felt good to make it happen and get things rolling a little bit more our way.”
Both Lee and Lugo competed in Iowa’s first three duals. Lee had been his dominant self, while Lugo opened 1-2. Brands said “absolutely” that they were fine, but did not elaborate on what sidelined them.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Brands said about why they didn’t wrestle. “They’re on the bench and they’re supporting their teammates. Those guys are going to factor into our future.”
Western Dubuque had two former state champions wrestle. Iowa heavyweight Aaron Costello lost by decision, while Purdue 184-pounder Max Lyon fell by major to Wilcke.
AT IOWA CITY
Iowa 26, Purdue 9
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
197 pounds — Mitch Bowman (I) dec. Christian Brunner, 7-5 (2-1); Hwt. — Jacob Aven (P) dec. Aaron Costello, 3-1 SV1 (1,0); 125 — Devin Shroder (P) dec. Perez Perez, 4-2 (1,1); 133 — Austin De Santo (I) dec. Ben Thornton, 5-2 (2,0); 141 — Max Murin (I) dec. Nate Limmex, 5-0 (1,0); 149 — Carter Happel (I) dec. Parker Filius, 2-0 (0,0); 157 — Kaleb Young (I) pinned Griffin Parriott, 3:37 (0,0); 165 — Alex Marinelli (I) major dec. Cole Wysocki, 14-3 (4,0); 174 — Dylan Lydy (P) dec. Myles Wilson, 7-3 (3,0); 184 — Cash Wilcke (I) major dec. Max Lyon, 12-4 (5,0)
Takedowns — Iowa 15, Purdue 6. Reversals — Iowa 1, Purdue 0. Escapes — Iowa 8, Purdue 15. Nearfall points — Iowa 4, Purdue 0. Penalty points (awarded) — Iowa 3, Purdue 1. Riding-time points — Iowa 4, Purdue 0. Total match points — Iowa 51, Purdue 28. Attendance — 8, 122. Referees — Jason Wedgbury and Curt Frost.
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