Few things have slowed Iowa wrestling down this season. A weekend road trip that featured two Big Ten foes didn’t seem to faze the Hawkeyes either.
As winter weather rolled through Iowa City, the Hawkeyes took the Hoosier State by storm, handily defeating both Indiana and No. 18 Purdue.
A 41-0 win over the Hoosiers and the dual meet debut of true freshman Abe Assad highlighted the Hawkeyes’ time in Bloomington on Friday.
Iowa nearly duplicated that showing on Sunday, defeating the Boilermakers by the same score of 41-0 in West Lafayette.
All-American Alex Marinelli’s fall total increased to seven on the season. The junior pinned Indiana’s Davey Tunon in five minutes and 54 seconds on Friday. He then topped that performance against Purdue, pinning Tanner Webster in one minute and 51 seconds on Sunday.
Redshirt freshman Tony Cassioppi has followed Marinelli’s suit all season long. The heavyweight increased his pin count to five after wrestling for a total of two minutes and 20 seconds over the weekend. The Illinois native pinned Indiana’s Rudy Streck in 20 seconds and Purdue’s Thomas Penola in two minutes.
Iowa’s lightweights also did some heavy lifting in Indiana. Reigning national champion Spencer Lee earned two technical falls, defeating both Liam Cronin and David Schroder by 15-0 scores.
Austin DeSanto produced some fireworks for the Hawkeyes as well. The All-American pinned Indiana’s Johnathan Moran, and earned a tech fall against Purdue’s Travis Ford-Melton.
Perhaps the most impressive part of DeSanto’s weekend performance was his ability to keep his cool after his match against Ford-Melton. Ford-Melton tried to engage DeSanto in some post-bout unsportsmanlike chatter.
As Ford-Melton barked and stepped toward him, DeSanto remained calm, patiently waiting for the referee to raise his arm and declare him victorious.
A couple of hotly contested ranked matchups followed DeSanto’s explosive 133-pound match on Sunday.
Iowa’s No. 6 Kaleb Young’s rematch with No. 8 Kendall Coleman nearly proved to be as exciting as the first match. Young defeated Coleman 4-3, warding off all of Coleman’s attacks late in the third period.
Young had previously defeated Coleman in the 157-pound semifinal match at the Midlands Championship. The All-American won via fall in overtime.
“I’d rather get technical falls or pin guys, but we have to win close matches too,” Young said. “Our coaches preach to us that the most dominant wrestlers win the close matches. I want to dominate guys, but I have to win the close ones too.”
Second-ranked Michael Kemerer beat No. 4 Dylan Lydy 8-4. Kemerer went 2-0 against ranked foes on the weekend, defeating No. 27 Jacob Covaciu on Friday. Kemerer is now 3-0 against ranked opponents this season.
“This is when it gets fun,” Kemerer said. “Down the stretch we’re going to need to win highly-ranked matchups. We got the shutout here. They had a lot of guys and thought maybe they could beat us, make it 5-5 or 6-4; we took 10 matches. We just have to stay in there and stay tough.”
Despite stumbling against his last two ranked adversaries, sophomore Jacob Warner found his footing in Indiana. The All-American dispatched Nick Willham, 8-3, on Friday.
On Sunday, No. 5 Warner upset No. 2 Christian Brunner 8-2. Warner is now 10-2 on the season, and believes greater things are on tap for the Hawkeyes.
“Purdue has a good team this year,” Warner said. “They are up-and-coming, but what we showed today shows what kind of team we are. We are the No. 1 team in the country and we’re here to shut everybody out.”
The top-ranked Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 18 for a matchup against Nebraska.