Hawkeye wrestling looks to extend winning streak against Huskers

No. 3 Iowa will head to Lincoln to take on its sixth ranked opponent of the season.


David Harmantas

Iowa’s #12 ranked Cash Wilcke grapples with Princeton’s Kevin Parker in a 184-lb wrestling match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Wilcke defeated Parker 8-2.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

The No. 3 Iowa wrestling team will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Feb. 3 to take on their sixth ranked opponent of the season, No. 9 Nebraska.

The Hawkeyes are 5-0 against ranked opponents this season and have defeated the Huskers in their last nine matchups, including three in a row on the road.

This weekend’s dual meet could feature seven ranked matches, including two top-10 bouts.

At 157, No. 7 Kaleb Young will wrestle No. 2 Tyler Berger. Young is 1-1 against top-10 opponents, with a 7-1 win over No. 9 Steve Bleise of Minnesota and a 6-2 loss to No. 2 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in the Midlands finals.

All-American Alex Marinelli has never lost a match in a Big Ten dual, sporting a record of 13-0. A second top-10 matchup between second-ranked Marinelli and No. 6 Isaiah White is probable at 165.

A third noteworthy match will be at 184 pounds. No. 13 Cash Wilcke will likely take on No. 4 Taylor Venz. Venz recently pinned Illinois’ second-ranked Emery Parker, giving the All-American his first loss of the season. Venz has a record of 15-3 and was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 29.

After facing Parker last week and losing, 4-1, Wilcke wants to turn the tides on Venz.

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“[Wilcke’s] our 84-pounder, and it makes our lineup better,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “We’ve just got to keep getting, making progress with all of these guys.”

Wilcke is 13-3 and has yet to beat a ranked opponent this season, but Brands said all Wilcke needs to do is one thing: finish.

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.

“Here’s the thing: He’s more active,” Brands said. “So now we’ve got to finish. You look at those opportunities he’s had in those matches where he’s been against top-ranked guys — finish. If we finish, they’re all different. And I know he is about that. We’ve got to keep getting better when we get to the leg.”

At 197, No. 5 Jacob Warner will likely get a shot at friend and old teammate in No. 11 Eric Schultz this weekend.

“It’s just another match,” Warner said. “I’m just kind of focusing on getting ready myself ready for what I’m going to do. I’m not really looking at what he’s ranked, how good he is. I know what kind of wrestler I am, and I know what happens when I go out and wrestle my match.”

But whether a matchup is considered a headlining match or not, it is equally as important as every other bout in the dual, and Iowa plans to put on a show at each weight class.

“We have a challenge,” Brands said. “You know, [Nebraska’s] 197 — that’s a stingy guy. You look at 84, that’s a big match for us right there. We’re going to look forward to that 157-pound match, but we’ve got to get ready for all 10. We’re going to put 10 guys on the mat and we’re going to expect to see 10 top-notch performances.”

The first match will begin at noon at the Devaney Sports Center.