Marinelli’s Hawkeye wrestling career highlighted by conference championships

The 165-pound Hawkeye has won three consecutive Big Ten individual championships.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s 165-pound Alex Marinelli grapples with Nebraska’s Peyton Robb during a wrestling dual meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 6 Nebraska at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. No. 2 Marinelli defeated No. 18 Robb by decision, 9-3, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 31-6.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Since 2016, University of Iowa senior Alex Marinelli has been a mainstay in Iowa wrestling’s lineup.

The 165-pounder — nicknamed “the Bull” — redshirted in 2016-17 and competed in his first full season in 2017-18. Since his Hawkeye debut, Marinelli has become a three-time All-American and won three individual Big Ten Championships.

During the 2021 NCAA Championship Quarterfinals, Marinelli suffered an injury, causing him to medically withdraw from the tournament.

Marinelli is using his extra year of eligibility that is provided to all 2020-21 NCAA athletes because of COVID-19 to compete collegiately in the 2021-22 season.

Before Marinelli suits up in black and gold for one final collegiate season in 2021-22, The Daily Iowan looks back at his career at Iowa.

Winning three consecutive Midlands Championships

In 2017-18, Marinelli started his redshirt freshman campaign by winning his first 14 matches. Marinelli’s hot streak continued through the 2017 Midlands Championships, held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Marinelli pinned his first opponent in the 2017 Midlands and fought through two close matches to reach the final round.

In the championship round, Marinelli defeated Princeton University’s Jon Schleifer, 3-1, in sudden victory and was named the 2017 Midlands’ Champion of Champions.

The win kickstarted a streak of three consecutive Midlands individual titles for Marinelli, as he was named Champion of Champions every year from 2017 to 2019.

Finishing sixth at the 2018 NCAA championships

Marinelli cooled down after the 2017 Midlands win.

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The Hawkeye lost three of his five matches at the Big Ten Championships, amounting to a sixth-place finish. For the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, Marinelli clocked in as the No. 5 seed.

Marinelli started his NCAA Championship strong, pinning his first two opponents and taking down No. 4 Chad Walsh of Rider via 7-6 decision. But Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez – the 2018 No. 1 seed at 165 pounds — proved to be too much for Marinelli, and he lost via 5-2 decision.

In the consolation bracket, Marinelli lost his next two matches to finish sixth, garnering All-American honors.

An undefeated 2018-19 regular season

Marinelli went undefeated in his sophomore regular season campaign, posting a 15-0 record.

The Hawkeye’s undefeated streak stretched into the Big Ten Tournament as he won his first-ever individual Big Ten title and was named the 2019 Co-Outstanding Wrestler.

Marinelli claimed the top seed in the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and won his first two matches at the national tournament to improve to a career-best of 25-0.

2021 Big Ten individual title

The Hawkeyes had to wrestle in a shortened season in 2020-21, as the pandemic caused the Big Ten to move to a conference-only schedule.

As the Hawkeye wrestling team worked through COVID-19 issues in the program, Marinelli only competed in two regular season matches in 2020-21, as he was sidelined by the Big Ten’s rigorous COVID-19 health and safety protocols before Iowa’s third dual of the season on Jan. 31.

At the 2021 Big Ten Championships on March 6-8, Marinelli, the top seed, worked through a 43-day break in competition. But the long layoff did not faze him as he won all three matches by decision, claiming his third consecutive Big Ten title.

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