Scouting Report: Looking at Iowa’s four finals matchups

Two rematches against Penn State opponents highlight Iowa’s championship round.


Nichole Harris

Iowa’s 165-pound Alex Marinelli celebrates after defeating Northwestern’s Shayne Oster during session two of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament in Piscataway, NJ on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Marinelli won by fall in 2:41.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Iowa only had one wrestler win gold at the 2019 Big Ten Championships. Four are in position to do so this time around.

Here’s a look at the four championship matchups and how Iowa stacks up in all of them.

125 – No. 1 Spencer Lee vs. No. 2 Devin Schroder (Purdue)

Lee had no trouble when he faced off against Schroder in a dual earlier this season. The junior won by technical fall over his Purdue opponent, 17-0. That was the only meeting between these two wrestlers.

Schroder qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and will head back to NCAAs in a couple weeks.

Now that Schroder is the only thing that stands between Lee and his first Big Ten Championship, a conference title seems probable for the two-time national champion. According to Iowa head coach Tom Brands, all Lee has to do to win gold on Sunday is be himself.

“Spencer Lee, go out and be Spencer Lee,” Brands said.

149 – No. 2 Pat Lugo vs. No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State)

Lugo holds an 0-2 career record against Sasso heading into the finals.

At the 2018 Midlands Championships, Sasso defeated Lugo by decision, 6-4 via sudden victory. In the dual between Iowa and Ohio State earlier this season, Sasso again won by decision.

This year already marks the farthest Lugo, a senior, has ever made it in the Big Ten Tournament. A long-awaited win over Sasso would give him the conference crown at 149.

165 – No. 2 Alex Marinelli vs. No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

Here we go again.

Marinelli defeated Joseph in the Big Ten finals last year to become Iowa’s 200th individual Big Ten Champion.

In his career, Marinelli is 2-1 against Joseph, a two-time national champion. As a redshirt freshman in a 2018 dual, Marinelli defeated Joseph by decision. A win in the finals last year pushed his record to 2-0.

Earlier this season, Vincenzo got into the win column against the “Bull”. Vincenzo handed Marinelli the first loss of his Carver-Hawkeye Arena career in the Jan. 31 dual between Penn State and Iowa.

Sunday offers the latest edition of this rivalry.

“It’ll be a good match,” Brands said. “It’ll be a good match for the fans. We like our chances — we like our guy. Always. It’ll be a challenge and we’ve got to be ready.”

174 – No. 1 Michael Kemerer vs. No. 2 Mark Hall (Penn State)

Kemerer defeated Hall in a dual earlier this season, the only matchup between the two. The win by Kemerer gave the Hawkeyes momentum and kept their undefeated season alive. It also gave the Hawkeye senior the No. 1 ranking in the country, which belonged to Hall at the time of their first matchup.

Hall is looking for revenge this time around, while Kemerer is hoping to add another milestone to his comeback season — a Big Ten title.

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