Iowa wrestling focuses on closing out matches

After four matches were decided in the final 10 seconds against Iowa State, Iowa has to focus on finishing.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Iowa’s Max Murin wrestles Iowa State’s Ian Parker during Iowa’s dual meet against Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Parker defeated Murin 5-4. Iowa defeated the Cyclones 19-18.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming off a narrow victory over Iowa State, a strong focus for Iowa wrestling has to be on finishing matches and wrestling for a full seven minutes.

Against Iowa State, Iowa had four matches decided in the final 10 seconds of the third period, and only one was to the Hawkeyes’ side of the ledger.

At 141 to start the meet, No. 16 Max Murin had a 4-1 lead going into the third period. An escape and an unsportsmanlike call on Murin cut the lead to 4-3. With seven seconds left in the match, a takedown by his opponent, Ian Parker, sealed Murin’s loss.

Murin left the mat visibly upset, but that was only the beginning for Iowa.

RELATED: Hawkeye wrestling’s No. 11 Warner comes up clutch with upset of three-time All-American in début

Next up, at 149 with No. 11 Pat Lugo on the mat, the match was decided during a tiebreaker. Iowa’s Lugo scored an escape with 35 seconds left in the third period to tie the match at 4 but lost, 7-4, after a takedown with seven seconds left put the match out of reach.

“[Murin] and Lugo, we’ve got to wrestle the whole match,” 165-pounder Alex Marinelli said. “That’s for [head coach] Tom [Brands] to tell them, but they know that. They know we’ve got to wrestle seven minutes.”

Four matches later, at 184, much of the same happened.

No. 11 Cash Wilcke’s match against Sam Colbray was close for all seven minutes. Wilcke took a 6-4 lead with 1:19 left in the third, but Colbray was able to score an escape with 49 seconds left and a takedown with 5 seconds on the clock to win the match.

It was Iowa’s third loss by upset in the match.

“We’ve got good teammates in the room that are family,” Marinelli said. “I love them, I love them the same even if they lose, but you know, we’ve got a lot of potential. Tom will tell you that we’ve got to wrestle seven minutes; we’ve got to wrestle the whole match.”

The script was flipped with No. 11 Jacob Warner on the mat for his first college match.

He was down 4-3 with one minute left in the third against No. 5 Willie Miklus. Instead of being scored on late, Warner reversed Miklus for 2 points with five seconds left.

“I’ve had a lot of heartbreak losses in the last year in the last seconds, so when Marinelli says wrestle seven minutes, I can relate to that,” Warner said. “When I found myself down by 1, I needed to get a score, and I did it. Now, it’s time to move on.”

No. 1 125-pounder Spencer Lee also factors into the narrative of wrestling seven minutes. Even though he won his match, he almost gave away a major decision with under 35 seconds left that would have potentially cost Iowa the dual.

Lee ultimately won his match, 13-4, the last 2 points needed for the 8-point margin scored in the final 20 seconds.

“[Warner] scored in the last five seconds instead of getting scored on in the last five seconds,” Brands said and laughed. “And I’m not laughing, believe me, I’m not laughing. We’ve got to get better in the third period. We’re moving forward.”

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