To say 2018 has had an interesting, if not downright memorable, start is an understatement. We’ve seen debuts with the possibility of more to come, extended title runs, a notable victory and some upsets, even though we haven’t even reached Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Dresser gets first victory at ISU
Iowa State has been an enigma this season. The Cyclones had hit rock bottom at the end of last season, but have never been devoid of talent. They have severely underachieved. The rebuilding process certainly wasn’t going to be an overnight accomplishment, even for a staff that included such successful competitors as head coach Kevin Dresser, Mike Zadick, Derek St. John and Brent Metcalf. A loss to Northern Colorado was a surprise Friday, adding to their losses to Rider, Drexel and Wyoming.
The Cyclones broke through for their first dual victory under Dresser, who helped Virginia Tech become a top-10 team and place in the top five. Iowa State dropped Oregon State, 24-16, taking six of 10 bouts Sunday at Hilton. The Cyclones have something to build on before heading to the Virginia Duals on Friday. The victory is an important one in ISU’s resurrection.
“Overall, we made some progress and it is nice to win,” Dresser said. “We need to enjoy this a little bit and then we have a chance to go compete in four or five dual meets on Friday and Saturday, which is what is what we need right now. We need matches. We had two matches this weekend that overall were C- or D+ for a grade. We need to get to some B and B+s and see if we can keep progressing. We progressed today.”
Some of the young talent came through, including light and middle weights. Markus Simmons (133), Kanen Storr (141) and 149-pounder Jarrett Degen rolled off victories before former Independence prep Chase Straw (157) gave ISU the lead for good. Storr and Degen are redshirt freshmen, while Simmons and Straw are redshirt sophomores. There is promise, but they have to learn to be consistent, if ISU is to ever reclaim its past status as a college wrestling power.
Sometimes the first one is the hardest and learning how to win can get teams over the hump.
“The taste of victory, it’s the first little bit that we’ve gotten this season and even the last two seasons. I think guys are going to take this feeling and run with it in the room and push harder and push themselves a little bit further every day to get that feeling again.”
It used to be all about Alex
For the better part of 18 months, the hottest topic that surrounded Iowa wrestling was Alex Marinelli. Last year, he was the subject of continuous questions about wrestling in his first year and shedding a redshirt.
This year started with when he would join the lineup after injuries delayed his debut. Spencer Lee came along and made Marinelli somewhat of a second thought, but the 165-pound redshirt freshman’s accomplishments can’t be overlooked. He’s only gone 7-0, winning a Midlands title. Marinelli has beaten U23 World champ Richie Lewis, of Rutgers, not once, but twice already. Marinelli, who seems to have received the nickname “The Bull,” was downright monstrous in his dominant technical fall of Michigan State’s Austin Hiles. Marinelli is a huge part of Iowa’s present and future. He has been as impressive as anyone in his first month.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Marinelli said. “It’s my Carver debut and I’ve been here on campus probably two years, but that’s the thing. We’re expected to do great things and when I don’t pin my guy I get frustrated. This guy (Lee) does too. I know how he feels. You guys know exactly how we feel when we don’t pin our guys.”
Talk will likely shift from Marinelli and the great starts from Michael Kemerer, heavyweight Sam Stoll and Cash Wilcke, if Pat Downey III dons a Hawkeye singlet.
Grand View's grand performance
I’m waiting for the moment Grand View becomes a wrestling verb or adjective. “They Grand Viewed the field” or “They gave a Grand View performance.” The Vikings rolled to their seventh straight title at the National Wrestling Coaches Association Multi-Divisional National Duals on Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Grand View went 4-0 and beat Williams Baptist, 33-9, in the NAIA finals. The Vikings outscored opponents, 154-28, and won 33 of 40 matches in the tournament. Among the undefeated Vikings were former Cedar Rapids Prairie prep Josh Wenger (141), former Alburnett prep Grant Henderson at 165 and heavyweight Dean Broghammer, who wrestled at West Delaware.
Iowa isn’t the only one who revealed a shredded redshirt. Nebraska’s Jason Renteria, a former Iowa commit, stepped into the Huskers’ lineup Sunday, opening with a first-period fall against Maryland’s Danny Bertoni.
Penn State may face its own “Free the Lee” dilemma. Jered Cortez suffered his second serious injury in two years. Lee, who may have been the better of the two any way, was a runner-up at the Southern Scuffle last week. With an expected dogfight with Ohio State for a national title, Lee may be called on to fill the void.
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Rutgers’ Eleazar Deluca upset Ohio State’s fifth-ranked Ke-Shawn Hayes, 12-7, in a home dual Sunday. The manner of the victory was just as impressive. Deluca hit two six-point throws in the final period to overcome a 5-0 deficit.
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