David Harmantas

The referee slaps the mat and signals the pin for Iowa Wrestler #2 Spencer Lee in the 125lb weight match Brandon Clay during a wrestling dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Lee won via pin at 00:30 and the Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins 48-0.

Point/Counterpoint: How many Big Ten champions will Hawkeye wrestling crown?

Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli, Austin DeSanto, and Pat Lugo have all proven worthy of potential Big Ten titles this season.

March 5, 2019



It’s that time of the year. Postseason basketball and wrestling are in the air, and we’re heading right toward Big Ten postseason for both sports.

At this point in the year, it’s weird to see Hawkeye wrestling without any individual grapplers ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, but here we are.

That doesn’t mean one won’t win a Big Ten title, though. In fact, two will.

I think Spencer Lee is almost a lock for a conference championship at 125 pounds. There’s no way he loses to Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera twice in the same season, especially with a Big Ten title on the line.

After getting stuck for the first time this season against Nick Piccininni of Oklahoma State in Iowa’s last dual meet, Lee’s going to be hungry to bounce back. He’s going to get back on track in Minneapolis.

For the second Big Ten champion from Iowa, there are two toss-ups: Austin DeSanto at 133 pounds and Alex Marinelli at 165.

If I had to guess, I would say Marinelli finds a way to topple Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State. He has done it before, so what’s one more time? With the season Marinelli is having, doubting him at this point would not be the best decision, as he finally finds what he has been looking for since last season.

DeSanto also has a chance to win it all and make it three, but with Rutgers’ Nick Suriano and Michigan’s Stevan Micic in the same bracket, his path to gold won’t be easy.

So I’m officially predicting a Big Ten title for Lee and another one for Marinelli or DeSanto (but probably Marinelli).



Last year, Iowa had no Big Ten champions and placed fourth. Brandon Sorensen led the Hawkeyes, placing second at 149, Spencer Lee placed third at 125, and Sam Stoll placed fourth at 285.

I predict this year will be different, and the Hawkeyes will come away with three individual champions: Lee, Pat Lugo, and Alex Marinelli.

Lee lost 7-3 to Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera at Midlands, but that’s in the past now. And who knows? Maybe Lee was feeling under the weather at Midlands.

Rivera went up a weight class against Michigan to get a shot at No. 1 Stevan Micic and fell by decision, 10-4. Although Micic is clearly talented, it proved Rivera is definitely beatable.

Lugo will have a difficult path to claim a Big Ten title as No. 1 Anthony Ashnault and No. 2 Micah Jordan are both possible roadblocks.

In my opinion, the 149 title could go to any of these three as the matches have all been tight, but Lugo is definitely on the right track to an upset Big Ten title, as he rides a seven-match winning streak into the postseason.

Marinelli went 19-6 and placed sixth at the Big Ten Tournament his freshman season. The 165-pounder has looked different this year, though, shifting a 16-3 major decision loss at NCAAs to No. 3 Evan Wick last year into two decisions this season.

Marinelli has not lost a match during his sophomore season, but the 165-pound weight class will include five of the top-seven wrestlers, including undefeated Vincenzo Joseph.

The last Hawkeye I could see possibly stepping onto the top of the podium would be Austin DeSanto, but I didn’t include him as one of my predicted champions because I’m not quite sure his post-match antics are completely under control yet.

Additionally, the 133-pounder would have to snag a second win over Rutgers’ Nick Suriano before getting a chance at Micic, who ended his season last year with a 12-1 win.

The Daily Iowan • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in