Recap from State College: Session 1 of the 2021 Big Ten Wrestling Championships

Follow along for updates on Iowa’s performance on the mat at this year’s conference meet.


Ryan Adams for the Daily Iowan

Teams participate in warmups before the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The start of the Iowa wrestling team’s two-day quest to repeat as Big Ten Champions is underway.

The first session of the 2021 Big Ten Wrestling Championships has started. Seven Hawkeyes have byes in the first round. Nine-seed Nelson Brands (184 pounds) and three-seeds Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285) will be the only Iowa wrestlers competing in the first round.

The remaining seven Iowa wrestlers are either one-seeds (Spencer Lee, Jaydin Eierman, Alex Marinelli, and Michael Kemerer) or two-seeds (Austin DeSanto, Max Murin, and Kaleb Young) and will first take the mat for the quarterfinals.

Iowa won its 36th conference wrestling title last season. The Big Ten meet was the last time the Hawkeyes took the mat last season before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the season’s cancellation.

The Daily Iowan sent a reporter, photographer, and a member of DITV to State College this weekend. Follow along at and on Twitter @TheDailyIowan for coverage of the tournament. The first session is also airing on the Big Ten Network.

Here are Iowa’s results from the first session:

Championship Bracket Round 1

125 pounds — No. 1 Spencer Lee, Bye

Lee will face Michigan’s No. 9 Dylan Ragusin in the quarterfinals.

133 — No. 2 Austin DeSanto, Bye

DeSanto will face Nebraska’s No. 10 Tucker Sjomeling in the quarterfinals.

141 — No. 1 Jaydin Eierman, Bye

Eierman will face Purdue’s No. 9 Parker Filius in the quarterfinals.

149 — No. 2 Max Murin, Bye

Murin will face Nebraska’s No. 7 Ridge Lovett in the quarterfinals.

157 — No. 2 Kaleb Young, Bye

Young will face Michigan State’s No. 7 Chase Saldate in the quarterfinals.

165 — No. 1 Alex Marinelli, Bye

Marinelli will face Purdue’s No. 9 Gerrit Nijenhuis in the quarterfinals.

174 — No. 1 Michael Kemerer, Bye

Kemerer will face Wisconsin’s No. 8 Jared Krattiger in the quarterfinals.

184 — No. 9 Nelson Brands defeats No. 8 Zach Braunagel (Illinois), 7-6 decision

The match was tied 4-4 at the end of the first period, and Braunagel led 5-4 heading into the third period after an escape point in the second. But Brands used an escape point to tie the match and followed that up by rolling Braunagel for the takedown with under a minute to win and advance to the quarterfinals.

Brands had previously been 0-2 in his career against Braunagel and lost via 3-1 decision earlier this season.

Brands will face Penn State’s No. 1 Aaron Brooks in the quarters.

197 — No. 3 Jacob Warner defeats No. 14 Andrew Salemme (Wisconsin), Pin

Well, that was quick.

Warner advanced to the quarterfinals with a victory over Salemme by fall in 59 seconds. Warner notched a takedown 17 seconds into the match and dominated from there on his way to the fall and the win.

285 — No. 3 Tony Cassioppi defeats No. 14 Garrett Kappes (Maryland), Pin

If you thought Warner’s match was quick, he’s got nothing on Cassioppi.

Twenty-three seconds into the match, Cassioppi body locked Kappes on his back, securing his positioning and the pin. Cassioppi tied the fastest fall for a Hawkeye ever in the Big Ten Championships. Iowa went 3-0 in its first round matches. All 10 Hawkeye wrestlers are onto the quarterfinals.

Championship Bracket Round 2

All 10 Hawkeyes advanced to the quarterfinals. Here are Iowa’s results from the second round of the championships:

125 — No. 1 Spencer Lee defeats No. 9 Dylan Ragusin (Michigan), 19-4 technical fall

In his first appearance at this year’s championships, Lee led by 10-2 after the first period and 13-2 after the second. Lee took Ragusin to his back in the third period for six points and the technical fall.

Lee advances to the semifinals.

133 — No. 2 Austin DeSanto defeats No. 10 Tucker Sjomeling (Nebraska), 4-1 decision

Sjomeling countered DeSanto’s moves well, but the Hawkeye 133-pounder still managed to score a takedown in the second period and used riding time to secure his victory and advance to the semifinals.

141 — No. 1 Jaydin Eierman defeats No. 9 Parker Filius (Purdue), fall

Eierman notched four first-period takedowns and led 14-3 before catching Filius out of a scramble to secure the pin. In his first-ever match at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, Eierman advances to the semifinals.

149 — No. 7 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska) defeats No. 2 Max Murin, 11-6 decision

Murin was put to his back and trailed 6-0 early in the first period. He used a pair of takedowns in the second period to cut his deficit to 7-4. But Lovett added another takedown in the third period to close out the match and win.

This is Iowa’s first loss of the tournament. Murin heads to wrestlebacks.

157 — No. 2 Kaleb Young defeats No. 7 Chase Saldate (Michigan State), 4-0 decision

Young scored a takedown late in the first period, then followed that up with an escape in the second and closed out the match with a riding time point in the third. He advances to the semifinals.

165 — No. 1 Alex Marinelli defeats No. 9 Gerrit Nijenhuis (Purdue), 8-2 decision

Two first-period takedowns propelled Marinelli out to an early lead. Marinelli scored another takedown in the second period and nearly scored a fourth one at the end of the match. The two-time defending Big Ten 165-pound champion is back in the semifinals.

174 — No. 1 Michael Kemerer defeats No. 8 Jared Krattiger (Wisconsin), pin

Iowa now has four pins on the day. Kemerer pinned Krattiger in 90 seconds to advance to the semifinals.

184 — No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) defeats No. 9 Nelson Brands, 14-8 decision

Brooks fought through an ankle injury that hampered him throughout the match for the victory. Brands led 7-5 heading into the third period, but Brooks scored a reversal and took Brands to his back to ride out the victory.

Brands joins Murin in the wrestlebacks bracket.

197 — No. 3 Jacob Warner defeats No. 6 Thomas Penola (Purdue), 4-0 decision

Warner scored a takedown early in the first period and didn’t give up anything from there. He is the seventh Hawkeye to advance to the semifinals.

285 — No. 3 Tony Cassioppi defeats No. 6 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), 9-1 major decision

Cassioppi scored four takedowns and added a riding time point to dominate his opponent and advance to the semifinals. Iowa went 8-2 in the quarterfinals and 11-2 overall in the first session.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates throughout the day.