Top-ranked Iowa wrestling team dominates No. 6 Nebraska, 31-6, in season-opener

The Hawkeyes won eight of 10 matches on their way to victory.

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Shivansh Ahuja

IowaÕs 125-pound Spencer Lee grapples with NebraskaÕs Liam Cronin during a wrestling dual meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 6 Nebraska at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


For the first time since the 2020 Big Ten Championships, the Iowa wrestling team took the mat on Friday night. And the top-ranked Hawkeyes dominated in their season-opening dual meet.

In front of a nearly-empty Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd, with only family members of athletes in attendance, No. 1 Iowa defeated No. 6 Nebraska, 31-6. The preseason Big Ten and national favorites looked as good as advertised, winning eight of 10 matches.

Iowa head coach Tom Brands improves to 12-0 all-time against Nebraska.

125 — No. 1 Spencer Lee over No. 11 Liam Cronin (pin)

Lee wasted no time putting the Hawkeyes on top. At the 1:39 mark of the first period, Lee, who was already dominating his match with a takedown 10 seconds into the match followed by a four-point near fall, pinned Cronin to put Iowa up 6-0 early.

133 — No. 5 Austin DeSanto over Alex Thomsen (technical fall, 21-6)

DeSanto notched three takedowns in the first period, and followed that up with four more and a four-point near fall in the second. In the empty arena, Iowa associate head coach Terry Brands could be heard yelling “Get your head off the mat” across the mat to the Nebraska corner.

141 — No. 1 Jaydin Eierman over No. 7 Chad Red Jr. (decision, 8-4)

In his Hawkeye and Carver-Hawkeye Arena debuts, Eierman defeated a top-10 opponent. Red Jr. tallied a takedown in the first period, and Eierman trailed 2-1 at the end of the first. An escape by Eierman tied the match at 2-2 at the start of the second period, and Eierman continued to tally points throughout the rest of the momentum-changing second period. At the 54-second mark of the third period, an Eierman takedown sealed the match.

149 — No. 8 Max Murin over No. 20 Brock Hardy (decision, 6-2)

Murin led the match 2-1 heading into the third period. An escape at the 1:45 mark of the third, followed by a takedown with 54 seconds remaining, secured Murin’s first victory of the season. Murin lost a decision to Red Jr. in the Iowa-Nebraska dual at Carver last season.

157 — No. 6 Kaleb Young over Caleb Licking (major decision, 17-5)

Young dominated all seven of his minutes on the mat. A pair of takedowns in the first period put Young on top early. A two-point reversal, followed immediately by a four-point near fall in the second extended his lead, as did a takedown. In the third, Young tallied another reversal and a takedown to win 17-5 and push Iowa’s lead to 21-0 at intermission.

Through five matches, Iowa led Nebraska in takedowns, 17-1.

165 — No. 2 Alex Marinelli over No. 18 Peyton Robb (decision, 9-3)

Marinelli, the two-time defending Big Ten Champion at 165 pounds, scored a takedown in each period, and added points for riding time and stalling. The Bull starts off his hunt for a third consecutive gold medal in the conference with a dominant victory.

174 — No. 4 Mikey Labriola over Patrick Kennedy (decision, 7-4)

Kennedy was in the lineup for Iowa over No. 1 Michael Kemerer. It is not immediately clear why Kemerer, who was watching the meet in street clothes, was not competing Friday night. In Kemerer’s absence, Labriola won the match. Labriola’s takedown in the first had him up 2-1 at the end of the first period. The Cornhusker 174-pounder scored a takedown in all three periods, and Kennedy couldn’t land his shots, only scoring his four points on escapes.

After dropping its first match of the bout, Iowa led Nebraska 24-3 after seven weights.

184 — No. 8 Nelson Brands over No. 7 Taylor Venz (major decision, 13-5)

Brands is in a battle with Abe Assad for the 184-pound spot in Iowa’s lineup, and he dominated in his turn on the turn on the mat on Friday. Two takedowns in the first had Brands on top early. He followed with another one in the second, two more in the third, and added a two-point reversal and riding time to his score on the way to victory. A dominant victory over an All-American isn’t a bad way for Brands to start the 2021 season.

197 — No. 2 Eric Shultz over No. 4 Jacob Warner (decision, 3-2)

The Hawkeyes dropped their second match of the night at 197 pounds. Shultz led the match 1-0 going into the third period. Warner scored an escape point at the 1:50 mark of the third period to tie the score. With 35 seconds remaining, Shultz scored a takedown to go ahead 3-1. Warner managed to escape, but by the time he did with eight seconds remaining, there wasn’t enough time remaining to score again.

Iowa led 28-6 after surrendering its second match of the night.

285 — No. 2 Tony Cassioppi over No. 16 Christian Lance (decision, 4-0)

A takedown in the first period was all Cassioppi needed. The second period was scoreless, and the heavyweight added an escape point in the third, and then was given an additional point for riding time.

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