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Iowa Wins B1G Wrestling Title: Recap, Pick ‘em Results

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The Hawks led the way with four individual champions, Penn State added two, and Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan, and Minnesota all got one

Deja Vu
Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes’ four champions, two runners-up, and two third-place finishers scored 159.5 team points, their most since 1995. The Penn State Nittany Lions came in second at 124 points, and Nebraska rounded the podium at 105.5. Then came Michigan, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, Rutgers, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and finally Maryland. I’m gonna go more into the results, but first, the placements. Bolded are auto-qualifiers. Sorry if the table is bad, they’re really hard to integrate apparently. Little bit of credit to the “writers” here who have figured it out.

2021 B1G Wrestling Finishes

125 133 141 149 157 165 174 184 197 285
125 133 141 149 157 165 174 184 197 285
Spencer Lee, Iowa Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State Jaydin Eierman, Iowa Sammy Sasso, Ohio State Ryan Deakin, Northwestern Alex Marinelli, Iowa Michael Kemerer, Iowa Aaron Brooks, Penn State Myles Amine, Michigan Gable Steveson, Minnesota
Devin Schroder, Purdue Austin DeSanto, Iowa Nick Lee, Penn State Ridge Lovett, Nebraska Kaleb Young, Iowa Ethan Smith, Ohio State Carter Starocci, Penn State Taylor Venz, Nebraska Eric Schultz, Nebraska Mason Parris, Michigan
Rayvon Foley, Michigan State Lucas Byrd, Illinois Sebastian Rivera, Rutgers Mike Van Brill, Rutgers Brayton Lee, Minnesota Cameron Amine, Michigan Mikey Labriola, Nebraska John Poznanski, Rutgers Jacob Warner, Iowa Tony Cassioppi, Iowa
Malik Heinselman, Ohio State Chris Cannon, Northwestern Chad Red, Nebraska Michael Blockhus, Minnesota Chase Saldate, Michigan State Peyton Robb, Nebraska Logan Massa, Michigan Nelson Brands, Iowa Cam Caffey, Michigan State Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State
Michael DeAugustino, Northwestern Kyle Burwick, Wisconsin Parker Filius, Purdue Kanen Storr, Michigan Kendall Coleman, Purdue Gerrit Nijenhuis, Purdue Kaleb Romero, Ohio State Chris Weiler, Wisconsin Lucas Davison, Northwestern Christian Lance, Nebraska
Robert Howard, Penn State Jacob Rundell, Purdue Colin Valdiviez, Northwestern Graham Rooks, Indiana Brady Berge, Penn State Jake Tucker, Michigan State Donnell Washington, Indiana Layne Malczewski, Michigan State Michael Beard, Penn State Tate Orndorff, Ohio State
Dylan Ragusin, Michigan Jordan Hamdan, Michigan State Dylan Duncan, Illinois Griffin Parriott, Purdue Caleb Licking, Nebraska David Ferrante, Northwestern Jake Allar, Minnesota Max Lyon, Purdue Thomas Penola, Purdue Trent Hillger, Wisconsin
Patrick McKee, Minnesota Boo Dryden, Minnesota Drew Mattin, Michigan Yahya Thomas, Northwestern Will Lewan, Michigan Joe Lee, Penn State Drew Hughes, Michigan State Owen Webster, Minnesota Billy Janzer, Rutgers Luke Luffman, Illinois

125: This was always Spencer Lee’s weight, though he did get taken down in his first match against Dylan Ragusin in the quarterfinals, and against Devin Schroder in the final. However, he ended both matches with tech falls, and sandwiched between them he pinned Rayvon Foley (or, as Spencer said, he kinda pinned himself). Liam Cronin of the Nebraska Cornhuskers went 0-2, losing to Schroder and DeAugustino. Schroder and Penn State’s Robert Howard both finished five places above their seed, and Howard did it entirely on the backside. Schroder was thought to be second in the conference before the year, and he eventually finished there after a turbulent season. He got there by defeating Justin Cardani, Liam Cronin, and three-seed Malik Heinselman.

133: Rutgers’ Sammy Alvarez withdrew at the last moment, 12-seed Kyle Luigs knocked off Jack Medley, and Jordan Decatur forfeited out of the tournament after entering, but the rest of the weight was chalk. Bravo-Young defeated four-seed Chris Cannon in the semifinals, then two-seed Austin DeSanto in the finals. Third-seeded Lucas Byrd beat Cannon for third. DeSanto looked better than he has against Bravo-Young in the recent past, but he still wasn’t able to find a takedown and RBY’s quickness overwhelmed him in a 5-2 decision.

141: Jaydin Eierman won his fourth conference title, though it was his first Big Ten title. He outlasted Nick Lee thanks to a first period tilt, though he was inactive in the final frame, and seemingly out-of-gas. Eierman got to the title through Chad Red, who finished fourth, while Nick Lee used sudden victory to knock off two-time conference champion Sebastian Rivera, who finished third. Eierman, Lee, and Rivera could easily be 1-2-3 at NCAAs. Northwestern’s Collin Valdiviez finished sixth out of the thirteen-seed, after losing to Chad Red in the first round (and again in consolation semifinals).

149: Ridge Lovett and Mike Van Brill both outperformed their listed seed by five, with Lovett losing to Sammy Sasso in a 5-2 decision that was more distant than the score indicated, and Van Brill finishing third over Michael Blockhus. Both also defeated two-seed Max Murin, who went 0-2 in the tournament. Sasso didn’t blow the doors off of anybody, only getting one bonus point (from his quarterfinal major decision of Peyton Omania).

157: Ryan Deakin was heads above the field at 157 pounds, defeating Kaleb Young 6-0 in the finals after scoring two major decisions. Young repeated his overtime victory over Minnesota’s Brayton Lee with a tiebreaker rideout in the semifinals after a controlling 4-0 victory over Chase Saldate. Lee later beat Saldate for third place. Neither the 5th nor 7th place matches took place, and Brady Berge and Will Lewan forfeited their respective matches.

165: Like Deakin, Alex Marinelli controlled the field without fireworks en route to a Big Ten Championship. He beat Ohio State’s Ethan Smith 3-2 in the finals, after knocking off Cameron Amine 2-0 in the semifinals. Smith beat Robb in the semifinals, and Amine beat him in the third-place match. Penn State’s Joe Lee finished eighth after losing his opening bout to Jonathan Spadafora (Maryland’s only championship-side win) and getting pinned by Gerrit Nijenhuis, who finished four places above his nine-seed at fifth place. Jake Tucker finished sixth, and David Ferrante took seventh.

174: At the best weight, the best wrestler from the best school* won his first title over Penn State’s Carter Starocci in a 7-2 decision. Michael Kemerer scored the first takedown through some single-leg chain-wrestling, then exposed Starocci’s back in a scramble for two takedown and two near-fall. Kemerer knocked off Logan Massa in the semifinals, who had previously beaten DJ Washington, and Starocci beat Mikey Labriola and Kaleb Romero with one takedown between the two matches. Labriola beat Washington, then Massa for third, and Massa beat Romero, who beat Washington for fifth.

* reflects the view of the author and not necessarily the view of other OTE “writers” or anyone else for that matter

184: Aaron Brooks cruised over a wild field, overcoming injury in the quarterfinals, majoring the eventual third-place finisher Poznanski in the semifinals, and routing Taylor Venz 10-5. Venz himself had an impressive tournament, pinning Kyle Cochran and knocking off three-seed Malczewski and two-seed Chris Weiler in a pair of seven-point victories. Nelson Brands finished five places above his nine-seed, placing fourth after beating Weiler and four-seed Owen Webster in the wrestlebacks.

197: Myles Amine was the only non-one seed to win a title, having only recently come up from 184 pounds (where he was ranked first without wrestling a match). He knocked off Jacob Warner in the semifinals with a sudden victory takedown, and then controlled top-seeded Eric Schultz 7-3 in the finals. Warner finished third over four-seed Cam Caffey 8-3, and five-seed Lucas Davison finished fifth over Michael Beard.

285: Gable Steveson is really good. He majored Mason Parris, who never had a chance. Parris majored Greg Kerkvliet, then pinned Tony Cassioppi in the first minute of their semifinal bout. Steveson was untested by Christian Lance, who opted to take an injury default as soon as he stepped on the mat. He later finished fifth. Cassioppi majored Kerkvliet 9-0 in the third place bout, and Trent Hillger pinned Luke Luffman for seventh.

As a Hawkeye, I’m pretty happy. We finished two spots below projection, with Murin failing to place but Brands finishing fourth. Everyone looked a little slow, though, and that’s to be expected in not having wrestled in nearly five weeks. Penn State had a very swingy performance, putting only four through to the semifinals but then putting those four into the finals and going 12-2 on the backside on Saturday. However, they went 3-7 on Sunday, going 0-5 in placement bouts.

Thoughts courtesy of Kind Of:

  1. Nine one-seeds won and Amine was always the likeliest non-1 to break through, but, there was plenty of parity beyond that. Great tournament overall.
  2. There are six people I would take over the rest of the field at their weight right now: Lee (125), Sasso (149), Deakin (157), Kemerer (174), Brooks (184), Steveson (HWT). RBY is definitely champion-caliber, but so is Daton Fix (ugh); Eierman, Lee, and Rivera still basically look like 1A, 1B, 1C; Marinelli is the favorite but is still not close to 100%; and while Amine earned the #1 seed, Beard and Warner both hung with him, and Schultz isn’t going away. Plus there IS some non-B1G talent.
  3. Because there was no national championships last year, the “best wrestler without a national title” game has far too many nominees (even if the answer is obviously Steveson), but I want to express my love for Michael Kemerer. He has 100 career wins and a 92% winning % and yet 174 was treated like a tossup (or Starocci’s coronation). Here are his seven losses from rsFR season to present (Jason Nolf x3, Mark Hall, Micah Jordan (3-time All-American), Tyler Berger (3-time All-American), and Dylan Palacio (2-time All-American in a SR vs. FR matchup) That’s it. Dude jumps from 157 to 174 after an injury year (Marinelli is entrenched at 165) and doesn’t skip a beat (did I mention he’s the only person not named Zahid Valenica to defeat Mark Hall over Hall’s last three years?). Michael fucking Kemerer deserves some respect!
  4. Props to Michigan State and Purdue for turning in excellent performances that drew mostly on depth and good work on the consolation side. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana really don’t get to make excuses.
  5. 141 lived up to billing and went according to seed, but there’s a little voice in the back of my head that is telling me not to sleep on Sebastian Rivera at nationals. I probably won’t listen to that voice, but Rivera deserves some run, too. Helluva career.
  6. Gable Steveson was dominant. Spencer Lee is Spencer Lee. Ryan Deakin looked as “in control” as anybody this weekend.

OWW!:

Outstanding wrestler of the tournament goes, unfortunately, to Gable Steveson. He wrestled the top guys in the country and smoked em. Only Spencer Lee had more bonus points, and his opponents were ranked lower nationally. Honorable mention to Michael Kemerer, who some people over at a certain premium wrestling website doubted coming into a clustered weight but who never looked in doubt (or trailed, to my knowledge).

Biggest upset:

Rather than pick an individual match, we wanted to pick the wrestler who was the biggest Cinderella story of the tournament. The only problem with that is that like five guys finished exactly five places above their seed. The lowest seed, to my knowledge, as Garret Nijenhuis, who finished sixth; and the highest finisher was a tie between Devin Schroder and Ridge Lovett, who each finished second to a no-doubt champ as a seven seed. Congrats to all! We’ll break down how this all affects seeds and at-large bids in a later article.

Pick ‘em winner:

We had three perfect entries. Big congrats to regular Chitownhawkeye, writer Kind of…, and new guy Mkoz for being smarter than the rest of us. Chitown wins the tiebreaker, guessing 145 points for the champs. Kind of… had 139, and Mkoz had 126. Gloat in the comments. Like you need to be asked.

Out of 118 entries, 118 correctly picked Spencer Lee to repeat as 125 pound champ. About 75% got Roman Bravo-Young at 133. The least correct pick came at 141 pounds, where about a third picked Jaydin Eierman. About 70% picked Sammy Sasso over the field, and only two fewer people got Ryan Deakin right at 157 pounds. 84% had Alex Marinelli, while only 56% got teammate Michael Kemerer. 80% had Aaron Brooks at 184, and just over 50% had Myles Amine as the only non-1 seed to win. About three-quarters picked Gable Steveson to end the night on top.