The Iowa Hawkeyes sit in the lead for the team race at the of Day one in Piscataway, New Jersey in front of Nebraska and Ohio State. The squad punched four through to tomorrow afternoon’s finals session, and nine of their wrestlers will contend for a medal on Sunday. The Hawkeyes have a 20 point lead over the Corn Huskers, but the margin of victory still remains tight.

The lone wrestler to not reach the podium was Kaleb Young, who fell to Illinois Eric Barone 3-1 in the bloodround to end his tournament. The 2019 All-American finished the weekend 0-2, and will now need to rely on a wildcard in order to qualify for the NCAA championships in Minnesota.

Advancing through to the finals was Spencer Lee, who will face off with Purdue’s Devin Schroder for the opportunity to win his first conference crown. Lee reached the finals by pinning Rutgers wrestler Nic Aguilar in the quarterfinals followed by a second period technical fall against Jack Medley of Michigan. Earlier this season Medley was the only wrestler to hold Lee to a regular decision. When Lee and Schroder met during the dual season Lee was victorious by technical fall.

The second Iowa finalist came at 149 pounds where Pat Lugo punched through with a major decision against Collin Purinton of Nebraska followed by a strong 4-1 decision over Minnesota’s Brayton Lee, which was a one-point win for Lugo just a few weeks ago. His finals rematch will be against top ranked Sammy Sasso who gave Lugo his only loss on the season in overtime.

Returning Big Ten champion Alex Marinelli is headed back to the finals at 165 pounds where he will square off with a very familiar face. The All-American blitzed through his quarterfinals and semifinals opponent, first by major decision over Danny Braunagel of Illinois and then by fall against Shayne Oster of Northwestern. In the finals, it will be a 2019 rematch with Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph, who gave Marinelli his only loss on the season.

The final Hawkeye finalist was Michael Kemerer at 174 pounds..The two-time All-American opened with a fall over Layne Malczewski of Michigan State and he followed that with a major decision against Minnesota’s Devin Skatzka. In the finals, Kemerer will face off against Mark Hall, who is a three-time NCAA finalist. Earlier this season Kemerer upset Hall to claim the top spot in the rankings.

On the backside, the Hawkeyes still have five wrestlers including several of their returning All-Americans.

After opening with a major decision against Jordan Decatur of Ohio State, Austin DeSanto’s offense was noticeably cooled off as his second win was a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Nebraska’s Ridge Lovett. In the semifinals, DeSanto was defeated by Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young by a score of 3-2.

Punching his return ticket to the NCAA’s at 141 was Max Murin who was upset in the quarterfinals, but managed to rebound to put himself in the consolation semifinals. Murin opened with a fall in the first round but lost his rematch with All-American Mitch McKee in the quarterfinals which sent him to the backside. In the bloodround he rebounded with a win over Michigan State’s Matt Santos and followed that with a win over Dylan Duncan of Illinois. Tomorrow he will face Chad Red, who handed Murin his only regular season loss.

Likewise, Abe Assad opened his tournament with a major decision against Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski, and followed that up with a win over Ohio State’s Rocky Jordan. His quarterfinal win was a markable improvement from the regular season meeting where Assad needed a last-second takedown to defeat Jordan, but in the rematch, he was able to win by major decision. In the semifinals, Assad fell to Michigan State’s Cam Caffey to fall to the consolation bracket. Tomorrow he will face Iowa native Max Lyon of Purdue.

After falling to upset in the quarterfinals, Jacob Warner not only battled back to reach the podium, but his guaranteed top six finish also qualified him for the national tournament. Warner opened with a major decision against Indiana’s Nick Willham. After that, he was upended by Penn State’s Shakur Rasheed in the quarterfinals. In the bloodround Warner earned his second career fall against Nick May of Michigan State and then added a win against Minnesota’s Hunter Ritter to reach the top six and qualify for nationals.

The final Hawkeye on the backside is freshman Tony Cassioppi who opened his tournament with a first period fall and followed that up with a decision over Ohio State’s Gary Traub. In the semifinals, Cassioppi once again fell to Gable Steveson of Minnesota, which sent him to the consolation bracket. Tomorrow he will take on David Jensen on Nebraska.

First Round: #1 Spencer Lee BYE
Quarterfinal: #1 Spencer Lee fall #8 Nic Aguilar (Rutgers), 2:53
Semifinal: #1 Spencer Lee tech fall #5 Jack Medley (Michigan), 3:23
Finals: #1 Spencer Lee vs #2 Devin Schroder (Purdue)

First Round: #3 Austin DeSanto major decision #14 Jordan Decatur (Ohio State), 17-3
Quarterfinal: #3 Austin DeSanto decision #6 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska), 1-0
Semifinal: #2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) decision #3 Austin DeSanto, 3-2
Consolation Semifinal: #3 Austin DeSanto vs #4 Travis Piotrowski (Illinois)

First Round: #3 Max Murin fall #14 Hunter Baxter (Maryland), 5:57
Quarterfinal: #6 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) decision #3 Max Murin, 3-1
Bloodround: #3 Max Murin decision #12 Matt Santos (Michigan State), 16-5
Consolation quarterfinals: #3 Max Murin decision #7 Dylan Duncan (Illinois), 9-6
Consolation semifinals: #3 Max Murin vs #4 Chad Red (Nebraska)

First Round: #2 Pat Lugo BYE
Quarterfinal: #2 Pat Lugo major decision #7 Collin Purinton (Nebraska), 11-3
Semifinal: #2 Pat Lugo decision #3 Brayton Lee (Minnesota), 4-1
Finals: #2 Pat Lugo vs #1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State)

First Round: #2 Kaleb Young BYE
Quarterfinal:  #7 Peyton Robb (Nebraska) decision #2 Kaleb Young, 3-2
Bloodround: #8 Eric Barone (Illinois) decision #3 Kaleb Young, 3-1

First Round: #2 Alex Marinelli BYE
Quarterfinal: #2 Alex Marinelli major decision #7 Danny Braunagel (Illinois), 14-2
Semifinal: #2 Alex Marinelli fall #6 Shayne Oster (Northwestern), 2:41
Finals: #2 Alex Marinelli vs #1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

First Round: #1 Michael Kemerer BYE
Quarterfinal: #1 Michael Kemerer fall #9 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State), 1:43
Semifinal: #1 Michael Kemerer major decision #4 Devin Skatzka (Minnesota), 22-9
Finals: #1 Michael Kemerer vs #2 Mark Hall (Penn State)

First Round: #3 Abe Assad major decision #14 Kyle Jasenski (Maryland), 12-4
Quarterfinal: #3 Abe Assad major decision #6 Rocky Jordan (Ohio State), 8-0
Semifinal: #2 Cam Caffey (Michigan State) decision #3 Abe Assad, 5-3
Consolation semifinals: #3 Abe Assad vs #11 Max Lyon (Purdue)

First Round: #3 Jacob Warner major decision #14 Nick Willham (Indiana), 14-4
Quarterfinal: #6 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State) decision #3 Jacob Warner, 3-1
Bloodround: #3 Jacob Warner fall #12 Nick May (Michigan State), 2:10
Consolation quarterfinals: #3 Jacob Warner decision #10 Hunter Ritter (Minnesota), 6-1
Consolation semifinals: #3 Jacob Warner vs #5 Lucas Davison (Northwestern)

First Round: #3 Tony Cassioppi fall #14 Parker Robinson (Maryland), 1:16
Quarterfinal: #3 Tony Cassioppi decision #6 Gary Traub (Ohio State), 4-0
Semifinals: #3 Tony Cassioppi vs #2 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs
Consolation semifinals: #3 Tony Cassioppi vs #5 David Jensen (Nebraska)

Asterisk (“*”) denotes the weight is qualified for the NCAA Championships

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle