Three

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Three

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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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.