Iowa wrestling to tackle two Illinois schools

Hawkeye wrestling will fit two duals into three days, as Iowa heads to Illinois and Northwestern.

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Iowa wrestling to tackle two Illinois schools

Iowa's #5 Kaleb Young wrestles Rutgers' #14 John Van Brill during the Iowa/Rutgers wrestling meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, January 18, 2019. Young defeated, 3-0. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-6. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's #5 Kaleb Young wrestles Rutgers' #14 John Van Brill during the Iowa/Rutgers wrestling meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, January 18, 2019. Young defeated, 3-0. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-6. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Lily Smith

Iowa's #5 Kaleb Young wrestles Rutgers' #14 John Van Brill during the Iowa/Rutgers wrestling meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, January 18, 2019. Young defeated, 3-0. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-6. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Lily Smith

Lily Smith

Iowa's #5 Kaleb Young wrestles Rutgers' #14 John Van Brill during the Iowa/Rutgers wrestling meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, January 18, 2019. Young defeated, 3-0. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-6. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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The No. 4 Iowa Hawkeye wrestling team will head to Illinois this weekend for its first Friday-Sunday dual combination of the season. Iowa will take on No. 20 Illinois tonight before traveling to face Northwestern on Jan. 27.

“We might prepare a little different this week when you’re looking at video and stuff, but the more the competition, the better,” head coach Tom Brands said. “If you’re going to go into Illinois, you might as well hit two schools instead of one.”

RELATED: Lee ready for rematch with Rivera

With double the competition, there will be plenty of noteworthy matches this weekend. Tonight, half of the matches will take place with two ranked wrestlers on the mat. Additionally, there will be a bout in which a current Hawkeye wrestles a Hawkeye transfer.

No. 2 Spencer Lee will take on No. 15 Travis Piotrowski and No. 4 Austin DeSanto will battle No. 17 Dylan Duncan — his third top-20 opponent in a row. At 157, No. 5 Kaleb Young will wrestle No. 14 Eric Barone.

Two Hawkeyes — No. 15 Max Murin and No. 13 Cash Wilcke — will try to follow DeSanto’s lead and snare some upsets. Murin will pair up with No. 4 Mike Carr at 141, and Wilcke and No. 2 Emery Parker will go at it at 184.

In addition, No. 2 Alex Marinelli will step on the mat with an old training partner — former Hawkeye Joey Gunther.

Once you’re out on that mat, it’s about what you know how to do, and you’ve got to keep your hand raised. It doesn’t matter who they put out on the mat.”

— Alex Marinelli

“There is no bad blood with me and him,” Marinelli said. “It’s just another opponent. Joey Gunther was a good training partner for me last year. He knows how I wrestle, and I know how he wrestles.”

Marinelli plans to go into this match just like any other.

“It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me,” Marinelli said. “I could wrestle Kaleb Young or I could wrestle Pat Lugo out on the mat. It shouldn’t matter. Once you’re out on that mat, it’s about what you know how to do, and you’ve got to keep your hand raised. It doesn’t matter who they put out on the mat.”

After tonight’s meet, the Hawkeyes will turn around and get ready for the Jan. 27 dual.

Lee and Young will both face their second-ranked opponent of the weekend, and both will face the same opponents they did in the Midlands finals matches. Lee will get his second shot at Northwestern’s top-seeded Sebastian Rivera, and Young has a rematch with Ryan Deakin.

“I’ve been wrestling big matches my whole life, and I see every match as the biggest match in the world, so there’s no difference,” Lee said.

Being the first Friday-Sunday dual weekend of the season, the Hawkeyes will have the opportunity to learn and grow.  

“We can learn how to control our weight, how to face adversity if it comes,” Marinelli said. “We’ve got to stay disciplined. Get there, get what we need, get the job done, and then get our weight back down for Sunday, and then get the job done there. There’s no room to do anything wrong. We’ve got to stay on course.”

The first matchup of the weekend will begin Friday at Huff Hall in Champaign at 8 p.m.

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