Marinelli finds redemption at Big Ten Championships

Last year, Alex Marinelli fell short in the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed at 165 pounds, but this time around, he's one match away from a Big Ten title.

Iowa%27s+165-lb+Alex+Marinelli+wrestles+Wisconsin%27s+Evan+Wick+during+the+second+session+of+the+2019+Big+Ten+Wrestling+Championships+in+Minneapolis%2C+MN+on+Saturday%2C+March+9%2C+2019.+Marinelli+won+by+decision%2C+2-1.
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Marinelli finds redemption at Big Ten Championships

Iowa's 165-lb Alex Marinelli wrestles Wisconsin's Evan Wick during the second session of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won by decision, 2-1.

Iowa's 165-lb Alex Marinelli wrestles Wisconsin's Evan Wick during the second session of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won by decision, 2-1.

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's 165-lb Alex Marinelli wrestles Wisconsin's Evan Wick during the second session of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won by decision, 2-1.

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's 165-lb Alex Marinelli wrestles Wisconsin's Evan Wick during the second session of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won by decision, 2-1.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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Last season, Alex Marinelli was the No. 2 seed at 165 pounds, but his journey to a Big Ten title was cut short when he faced Michigan’s Logan Massa in the quarterfinals, his first match of the tournament.

The bout went into sudden victory where Marinelli took a shot that turned into a scramble with Massa coming out on top.

Marinelli went on to place sixth after a defeat at the hands of Rutgers’ Richie Lewis and a second loss to Massa.

Last season, the All-American wasn’t aware of how big the tournament really was.

“Big Tens, it’s like people show up because it’s one tournament and then nationals – that’s it,” Marinelli said. “And that’s where, in my mind last year I was like, ‘This is just another match,’ but it’s more than that. It’s the Big Ten Tournament. It’s everyone is good. Every match is good – semis, quarters, everything’s good. You cannot take anything for granted, so that’s what I learned.”

Marinelli again earned the second seed at 165 this year, but his performance has been different. The 165-pounder took what he learned last year and has clearly applied it to this tournament as he secured a spot in the finals.

“Big day for Marinelli,” head coach Tom Brands said. “I mean he had a winner of a match and he had a bye first round. They switched the bracket on him at the coach’s meeting yesterday. That’s probably a testament to wanting to get away from him. He got ready to go this morning like he learned and he learned from it.”

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa’s 165-lb Alex Marinelli wrestle’s Ohio State’s Te’Shan Campbell during the first session of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Marinelli won by decision, 6-3.

The 165-pounder had to work through some nerves in his first match against Ohio State’s Te’Shawn Campbell due to last year’s mistakes.

“The first match I had a lot of nerves,” Marinelli said. “The atmosphere out there is awesome; the fans are right on top of you. You don’t really have much room to warm up if you’re on deck and the nerves got to me a little bit because I lost that first match last year and it’s always important to get that out of the way. Luckily, I had a good warm-up partner to give me a good blow and get that first match going.”

Marinelli proceeded to defeat Campbell by decision, 6-3.

In the quarterfinals, the Hawkeye wrestled Wisconsin’s Evan Wick for the third time this season. Marinelli scored a takedown in the first period, and that would be enough to carry him past the Badger.

“I think I need to get to my attacks more,” Marinelli said after the match. “Even if I score in the first period doesn’t mean I can’t score in the second and third. I think [assistant coach Ryan] Morningstar told me after that match, ‘Good job, but you can do a lot more.’ I think the whole crowd knows that. My teammates know that. My coaches know that I can do a lot more in that match, which is a good thing.”

Tomorrow, Marinelli will face Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph for the gold. The last time the two met was on Feb. 10 of last season at the Iowa-Penn State dual. The Hawkeye came out victorious, winning, 9-6.

In this tournament, the undefeated top-seeded Joseph has tallied a technical fall over Illinois’ Joey Gunther and a pin in the third period over Massa in the semifinals.

In order to come away with a Big Ten title, Marinelli plans to wrestle his match his style.

“Don’t let [Joseph] wrestle his match,” Marinelli said. “I know it’s very easy to say, it’s cliche, but it’s true. Don’t let him get distance and do his thing. I’ve just got to stay stalking him, keep my hands low. Here’s the thing: you know exactly how he wrestles, you know how I wrestle. It’s pretty obvious what our game plan is going to be get to our attacks.”