Mixed results come from Iowa wrestling’s seeding and match types

Iowa has tallied multiple upsets, close wins (and losses) and bonus point wins to close out the first day of NCAAs.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s 149-pound Pat Lugo wrestles Virginia Tech’s Ryan Blees during the second session of the 2019 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, March 21, 2019. Lugo won in the second overtime period by sudden victory, 4-2.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

PITTSBURGH – The Hawkeyes saw some mixed results in the second session between overtime wins and losses, tight matches and major decisions.

Redshirt freshman Max Murin battled back from a 2-0 deficit to win by an escape in the third period. Both of his matches on the day were upsets, first against 11-seed Tristian Moran, and then against 6-seed Michael Carr.

“I had two first and second tough rounds, but just taking it one match at a time, one position at a time and just relax and know I have the ability to win,” Murin said.

The focus isn’t on the numbers for Iowa, it’s an internal focus on what the team – and individual wrestlers – need to do to win.

By focusing on themselves instead of the numbers, Iowa has seen success with a 15-2 record and can continue that over Friday and Saturday.

“We get ready for every match and we believe that we’re going to win every match, that’s how you win team titles,” head coach Tom Brands said.

Iowa’s mindset for the entire season has been on wrestling hard for a full seven minutes, something that Murin and every wrestler did all day.

Murin’s not the only Hawkeye wrestler to overcome seeding disadvantages. Sam Stoll as the 28-seed took down both 5-seed and 12-seed opponents.

“His best wrestling can still be ahead of him – it is still ahead of him,” Brands said. “That’s how he’s approached it all year, he’s had a lot of adversity but we’re in the tournament right now. We’re going to session three.”

Murin and Pat Lugo advanced to the quarterfinals after tough matches – Lugo in a second sudden victory – but some did not.

Jacob Warner and Cash Wilcke both dropped their matches by takedown in first sudden victory.

“We’ve got to come back strong,” Brands said. “Close matches, we’ve got to have them go our way and we won’t have that heartache.”

Iowa finished the day with 24.0 team points – 10.0 coming in the second session – thanks to multiple bonus point matches.

Spencer Lee started off the second session with a major decision, and then Kaleb Young and Alex Marinelli went back-to-back with more of the same.

“I just go out loose, ready to go,” Young said. “When I go out and wrestle tight things don’t go my way as much, I don’t get to my attacks, I don’t know if I’d say I trip up but kind of trip up over my own feet. I feel loose and I’m getting the scores in, it’s good.”

The third session begins at 11 a.m. ET, and Iowa is gearing up for more of those bonus points to continue to chase Penn State.

For those in the wrestlebacks, the morning is a chance to work their way back up the bracket to third place. For those in the quarterfinals, the goal is to keep moving forward.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Brands said. “Two guys on the backside will have two matches starting at 11 o’clock, and seven guys will be in the quarters and have one match at 11 o’clock. Then we go from there, that’s where we’re at.”

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