Hawkeye wrestling topples Michigan

The Hawkeyes clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a dual meet victory over the Wolverines.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s 149-pound Pat Lugo wrestles Penn State’s Jarod Verkleeren during a wrestling dual meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on 2020. No. 1 Lugo defeated Verkleeren by decision, 6-1, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 19-17.

Austin Hanson, Assistant Sports Editor

This season has been full of lopsided victories for Iowa wrestling. With the exception of their matchup against Penn State on Jan. 31, the Hawkeyes have won every dual they’ve wrestled by double digits.

On Feb. 8, it was more of the same for Iowa. The Hawkeyes blew by No. 22 Michigan in Ann Arbor, 27-9. The victory improved Iowa’s record in the Big Ten to 8-0 and clinched the team a share of the conference regular season title.

However, this blowout didn’t feel like others Iowa has produced this season.

“[Michigan] is a team that is coached strategically to be strong at the end of the period, score at the end of the period, keep an eye on the clock,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “We handled most of that well. Heavyweight got away from us. We were trading blows with him and got into a position where we just don’t want to be. We have to get better at our finishes. That match ended up lopsided, but it wasn’t lopsided.”

The majority of Michigan’s team point total came during the heavyweight bout. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi lost to No. 2 Mason Parris by fall in 4:31. Parris is 23-0 on the season, and Cassioppi suffered his first loss of the year to bring his record to 15-1.

The six team points Cassioppi surrendered proved to be inconsequential. Iowa had already claimed a 27-3 lead before the heavyweight bout started.

Prior to the heavyweight match, Michigan earned three team points at 133-pounds. Senior Paul Glynn lost by decision, 7-5. Glynn has been pinch-hitting for the injured Austin DeSanto since Jan. 31.

RELATED: Cassioppi, Hawkeyes hope to slow down Michigan in Ann Arbor

Following Glynn’s loss, the dual was actually tied, 3-3. Another one of Iowa’s substitutes broke the tie. Junior Carter Happel dispatched Cole Mattin by decision, 7-4. Happel has now won two straight matchups in Big Ten duals.

The Lisbon, Iowa, native has almost become a regular in Iowa’s lineup. No. 9 Max Murin has not wrestled since Jan 18.

The appearance of Glynn and Happel came as no surprise. Both were listed in Iowa’s probable lineups earlier in the week.

Cash Wilcke also popped up on the Hawkeyes’ probable lineup sheet on Feb. 5. Wilcke got the nod over true freshman Abe Assad against the Wolverines.

The senior did not disappoint, narrowly defeating No. 20 Jelani Embre by decision, 3-2.

Spencer Lee also won by decision for the first time this season. No. 19 Jack Medley gave the reigning 125-pound national champion his toughest test of the year. Medley forced Lee to wrestle into the third period for just the second time in 2019-20.

Medley is the first opponent to prevent Lee from earning bonus points for his team this season.

While Lee did not find his typical array of bonus points, All-American Alex Marinelli and senior Michael Kemerer picked up the slack.

Marinelli scored a season-high 18 points in an 18-6 major decision over Reece Hughes. Kemerer earned his third technical fall of the season, defeating Max Maylor, 21-6.

A pair of top-10 wins rounded out the Hawkeyes’ victory Feb. 8. No. 2 Pat Lugo defeated No. 9 Kanen Storr by 2-0 decision at 149-pounds, and No. 5 Kaleb Young beat No. 9 Will Lewan, 7-3 at 157-pounds.

“Pat Lugo is a rider,” Brands said. “That guy held points, and Pat Lugo made him pay when he chose down. Kaleb Young was ready to go and hit some shots that were crisp. One more score there, and he can widen that gap.”

Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 8 for the first of its final two duals of the regular season.