Iowa wrestling preps for Princeton in home-opener

Two top-ranked opponents will wrestle in Carver-Hawkeye at 7 p.m. Friday.

Iowa+wrestler+Spencer+Lee+grapples+with+Michigan+wrestler+Drew+Martin+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+27%2C+2018.+The+Wolverines+defeated+the+Hawkeyes+19-17.+
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Iowa wrestling preps for Princeton in home-opener

Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee grapples with Michigan wrestler Drew Martin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 19-17.

Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee grapples with Michigan wrestler Drew Martin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 19-17.

David Harmantas

Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee grapples with Michigan wrestler Drew Martin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 19-17.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee grapples with Michigan wrestler Drew Martin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. The Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes 19-17.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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The Iowa wrestling team will take on Princeton in its home-opener today in the teams’ second time in history to meet. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers, 36-7, in 2001.

“I think that anytime you have teams coming into Carver-Hawkeye Arena, they want to prove something, and we got to be ready for it,” head coach Tom Brands said. “There is definitely a surge in the positive direction for Princeton wrestling. We got to be ready to go.”

Six Hawkeyes are likely to wrestle their first match in front of a Carver-Hawkeye crowd. The six include four redshirt freshmen: Max Murin (141), Myles Wilson (174), Connor Corbin (197), and Aaron Costello (285). Two transfers, Austin DeSanto (133) and Pat Lugo (149), will also début. 

RELATED: Austin DeSanto switches to Black and Gold

“[I’ve been envisioning this] for like the last 10 years,” Murin said. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, so I’m excited. I need to focus on staying relaxed and having fun.”

Sophomore Spencer Lee, who has experience in the spotlight, has some advice for his teammates as they prepare to make their Carver-Hawkeye appearances.

“Just relax; take it in, but don’t get too pumped,” Lee said. “It’s easy to get excited with all the fans and kind of go nuts, but then you’re using up energy that you need to use to put on a show for them.”

Lee is one of two top-ranked wrestlers who will take the mat tonight. Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik is No. 1 at 149. Lee and Kolodzik won’t have easy matches, though, because they both will take on top-15 opponents.

Lee will wrestle No. 14 Patrick Glory; the two have never wrestled before. Lugo, ranked No. 12, will match up with Kolodzik. He pinned Kolodzik in the 2017 Midlands in 4:38 the last time the pair met.

However, last weekend, Lugo fell to unranked Russell Rohlfing of Cal State-Bakersfield. Brands doesn’t seem too worried about Lugo turning his game around, though.

“I’m not uptight,” Brands said. “I’m not browbeating him. I know that he’s better than that. It’s not necessarily getting your hand raised, it’s how you get your hand raised. It’s not about winning and losing, it’s about the pace and how you compete. I know and Pat Lugo knows that he’s better than he showed in the Cal State-Bakersfield dual.”

Lugo’s loss was the only one on Nov. 9 in Kent, Ohio. Murin, Wilson, Corbin, Costello, and DeSanto all made their Hawkeye débuts, and the five new Hawkeyes came away with two wins each. Brands liked the pace, but each wrestler must focus on continuing his success.

“I’ll say this about [Kaleb] Young, about Murin, about guys that looked pretty solid: continue,” Brands said. “When the competition goes up, continue that. There’s no reason you can’t wrestle that way against the best competition in the country or in the world.”

Cash Wilcke (184) and Young (157) are the other anticipated wrestlers in the Hawkeye lineup.

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