Hawkeye wrestler Alex Marinelli prepped for season with new mindset

Sophomore Alex Marinelli, one of Iowa’s four All-Americans, has a better mindset and is ready to go this season.


Shivansh Ahuja

Alex Marinelli answers questions during Wrestling Media Day at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

The Iowa wrestling team returns seven starters and four All-Americans from last season, and sophomore Alex Marinelli is one of the key returners.

“Fans get excited about those guys returning,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “Let’s talk about Marinelli. He’s a ferocious competitor; we love him. He lives the right lifestyle, and he’s the voice in the locker room.“

The team’s starter at 165 pounds, Marinelli, redshirted his freshman year but recorded a 13-2 overall record competing unattached, losing only to top and second-ranked opponents.

Last season, Marinelli started off strong, going undefeated his first 14 matches. He didn’t lose a single dual competition, starting 10-0 and scoring 40 team points. He finished the season 19-6, placing sixth at both the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournaments.

Along with providing others with the example of how to get it done on the mat, Marinelli plays an important leadership role for the Hawkeyes.

“He’s real, real important to our program from a leadership point of view and how he competes,” Brands said. “He and [Michael] Kemerer are kind of the ones that brought it back. But just how he’s ready to go every day. He’s clapping his hands. He’s ready to go for us. Can’t beat that energy.”

In the past, Marinelli found it hard to let go of situations that didn’t go his way, Brands said.

“Marinelli is a guy that loves to win,” the coach said. “When things are going right, he’s hopping, feels really good about himself. When things don’t go so right, he tends to hang onto it maybe too long. I think that’s probably the biggest thing he’s had to adjust.”

This summer, Marinelli worked with his coaches on handling adversity.

“I would say [I’ve focused on] re-evaluating myself,” Marinelli said. “[I’ve been] getting back to what I do best and feeling good. I know that whatever I do on the mat, I can come out as a winner because if I wrestle my best, there is nothing that I can’t do.”

He believes that having self-confidence while being humble is the attitude that wrestlers must have in order to be successful.

“No one likes to lose, but at the same time, you still got to think that you’re the baddest dude on campus,” Marinelli said. “It’s easy to move on with success, but if you lose, don’t let it knock you off. You got to keep grinding and telling yourself that you’re going to be a national champion, and that’s kind of what my philosophy is.”

In the wrestle-offs, Marinelli defeated freshman Nelson Brands, 6-3, for the 165 spot. The Hawkeyes will head to Kent, Ohio, for their first dual meets of the season on Nov. 9. Marinelli is from Miamisburg, Ohio, and is excited to compete in front of his friends and family.

“[I’m] looking forward to going to Ohio,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of friends and family who are going to be there. I’m looking forward to competing with my brothers. We’re a family. We’ve got a good atmosphere going into this first meet.”