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Top 3 Roll, but who’s #4 in Big Ten Wrestling? A weekend recap

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The most talented lineup is probably Nebraska, but Wisconsin is undefeated, and does Ohio State have a case?

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Peter Ackerman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nevermind who the best team is, who’s the fourth-best team in the Big Ten? Before the conference schedule, we kinda thought it was Nebraska, and while they’ve been dinged up, they are now 0-2 in conference with a 3-point loss to Purdue and a 6-point loss to Minnesota. You could’ve made an argument for Minnesota, who was 2-1 with a “close” loss to Iowa, but then they went and lost to Wisconsin by six. Wisconsin is 3-0 with a 4-point win over Northwestern, a 5-point win over Rutgers, and a 6-point win over Minnesota. Since beating Nebraska, Purdue has lost their last two, a 32-point loss to Iowa and a criteria loss to Michigan State. The only other team with a case, I think, is Ohio State, who is 1-1 with a win over Michigan State and a 21-point loss to Michigan. You be the judge.

Poll

Who’s the fourth-best team in the Big Ten

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Wisconsin
    (79 votes)
  • 9%
    Ohio State
    (12 votes)
  • 13%
    Nebraska, somehow
    (18 votes)
  • 17%
    Someone else?
    (23 votes)
132 votes total Vote Now

#3 Michigan Wolverines 29, #7 Ohio State 8

Atinat: Well, Michigan is for real. The Wolverines had probably the most impressive team performance of the weekend, winning 8 of 10 matches and finding bonus points in three. Michigan took the first two matches by major decision, with Suriano beating Heinselman 11-3 and Ragusin beating Will Betancourt 14-5. Micic got a 12-7 decision over D’Emilio before Ohio State got their first of two victories with Sasso beating Cole Mattin 9-4 in a match that was surprisingly fun for a Sasso bout. Will Lewan handled Jashon Hubbard 6-3 before Ohio State got their second victory as Carson Kharchla tech’d the Wolverines’ 165-pound backup.

#6 Logan Massa beat #7 Ethan Smith 10-4, winning the final frame 8-1. #2 Myles Amine beat #7 Kaleb Romero in sudden victory, winning a 3-1 match that wasn’t much fun until sudden victory. Brucki beat Hoffman 5-2, and Mason Parris pinned Tate Orndorff in the first period to put away the tree nuts. Y’all, Michigan is good. I don’t know if they’re as good as Iowa and Penn State, but I’d bet they’re better than Oklahoma State.

#14 Minnesota Gophers 19, #10 Nebraska Cornhuskers 13

Atinat: Well, I can tell you who the real winner was here: the Big Ten Network! That’s exactly what you want out of your primetime dual. Action started at 165 pounds (meaning it would end with a top-five matchup at 157 pounds), and that was already a must-win for Minnesota against a Nebraska team that had two top wrestlers back in the lineup. Minnesota did get the win, with Cael Carlson beating Bubba Wilson 6-3 thanks to a 3-0 final frame. #5 Mikey Labriola got a scare from #23 Bailee O’Reilly, with the Gopher getting a takedown in the last 15 seconds to tie the match, but Labriola struck back with a reversal for the win. Minnesota won a comfortable one at 184 to retake the team lead, and then another top-5 Husker was tested, with #4 Eric Schultz beating #30 Michael Foy just 2-1 on a stall point. Steveson got Minnesota a very important bonus point with his major decision victory, and the Gophers lead 10-6 at the break.

Nebraska backup Jeremiah Reno did a good job at limiting #8 Pat McKee, surrendering just a 7-2 decision, but #24 Gliva ground out an 8-3 decision over Alex Thomsen to put Minnesota up 16-6 and put Nebraska’s backs against the wall with three matches to go. #9 Chad Red saw the need for bonus points and answered the call, majoring backup (WSR note: true freshman 125 making his dual meet debut at 141) Jager Eisch (now that’s a name) 9-0. It’s worth noting that if this dual tied, the “total match points” tiebreaker would’ve been necessary, and Minnesota had that locked up, so Nebraska did still need bonus points. So, while #24 Michael Blockhus lost to #4 Ridge Lovett, the former UNI Panther did well in limiting his loss to a regular decision. Lovett, for his part, kept Nebraska alive with the 7-2 victory.

So it all came down to that top-five matchup at 157 pounds. After no scoring in the first, #4 Brayton Lee rode the entire second period to take a huge riding time advantage. He chose neutral to start the third, but took down #5 Peyton Robb down immediately. Robb was hurt during the exchange, and so Lee got another choice on the restart, this time choosing down and getting cut to go up 3-0. Robb threw the kitchen sink, but was unsuccessful, and Lee and the Gophers took the huge victories. Awesome dual.

WSR: Fun night at the pav. Some of the matches were more tactical than I was hoping (**cough** 197), and the ref was a bit inconsistent in his use of politely asking people to fucking wrestle. But the good guys won, Gable Steveson put on a clinic, Jager Eisch did an amazing job of not getting pinned in the 1st, taking a couple really good shots at Red in the 2nd and 3rd that he couldn’t finish, and working off the riding time point he should have given up, and Robb-Lee was a great way to end the night. It was also great to see J Robinson and the 2002 team honored.

#17 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 21, #15 Illinois Fighting Illini 13

HWAHSQB: I called this one 23-12 for the ‘gers, which was pretty close because every match but two went to the favorite. Illinois won at 174 against a backup who was still favored and Rutgers got a slight upset at 125 were the only matches that didn’t go pretty much as expected. Dylan Shawver lost to two guys Justin Cardani beat at the Illinois Matmen Open, but one takedown in the 1st was enough scoring to win the matchup. Lucas Byrd solidified his All-American bona fides with a dominant 13-2 major over a three-time high school state champ in Joey Olivieri. At 184, Poznanski gave Braunagel no quarter and rode him like Braunagel had a saddle on in the second and third periods for a 6-2 win. At 197, Wroblewski had better chances in the first and was the aggressor, but was unable to score. Bulsak got a late takedown and rideout, added a takedown and escape in the second and takedown and riding time point for the major. Both Bulsak and Poznanski threw both legs in on their rides and both Illini were completely helpless to escape. They’re going to need to figure that out if they want to improve on last year’s results.

#2 Iowa Hawkeyes 33, #19 Northwestern 6

Atinat: Drake Ayala gave up two takedowns, but used a cradle in the second period to beat #7 Michael DeAugustino 6-5. Both Austin DeSanto and Jaydin Eierman took the dual off, with Cullan Schriever’s redshirt coming off at 133 and Drew Bennett making his varsity debut at 141. Both fell short, though, with Schriever falling to #9 Chris Cannon 4-3 and Bennett falling to #32 Frankie Tal Shahar 10-6. Max fucking Murin got the momentum going again for the Hawks, though, knocking off #5 Yahya Thomas 4-3 with a third period takedown and rideout. Kaleb Young would survive a scare by freshman Trevor Chumbley, who stepped up for the absent Ryan Deakin, and then things really got rolling for the Hawkeyes.

Northwestern forfeited at 165 pounds, then Michael Kemerer pinned Jack Jessen in the first period at 174. Abe Assad got a tech fall to keep the bonus points going, then Jacob Warner majored #28 Andrew Davison 11-2. #14 Lucas Davison actually had Cassioppi in a spladle in the first period, but the Wildcat was unable to get Cassioppi to his back before the action was stopped for potentially dangerous. Cassioppi would go on to win 7-3 to finish the dual. Obviously neither team was at full health, but the Hawks have to walk away pretty happy with this one, only losing two matches and getting big showings from Ayala, Warner, and I would say Schreiver as well, who could make some more appearances before this year is done. For Northwestern, the takeaway has to be where is Ryan Deakin? The All-American wrestled against Wisconsin before sitting against Minnesota last week, and was on the probables for this week. There’s also got to be some concern for Yahya Thomas, who has lost two of his last three matches now.

Maryland goes 2-2 at Virginia Duals

Atinat: Maryland swept their first day at the Duals, beating Kent State 25-12 and Chattanooga 24-14, but got swept their second day, losing to SDSU 28-6 and OU 41-6. King Sandoval went 3-1 with three pins and a loss to SDSU’s Gabriel Tagg, and Kyle Cochran went 3-0, not wrestling against Oklahoma’s Keegan Moore. Gaven Bell got a win over #29 Tanner Cook, though he went 1-3 overall on the weekend.

Maryland beat two teams they should have, and lost to two teams they should have. There isn’t much to take away from this, other than that Maryland is still a step away from competing with even the bottom of the Big Ten. Still, Sandoval and Cochran are bright spots for this Maryland Terrapins team. Rank King Sandoval, you cowards!

Michigan State 17, #16 Purdue Boilermakers 16 (On criteria)

Atinat: Michigan State won this on criteria after tying dual score and winning the match point tiebreaker 50-49. Upset of the day was probably Tristan Lujan only losing to Devin Schroder by a score of 3-0. Rayvon Foley put Michigan State ahead with a major decision, and Parker Filius needed sudden victory to put Purdue back ahead 6-4. Omania defeated Alec White by decision, then Kendall Coleman beat Chase Saldate 10-3, falling just one point shy of a major decision. Caleb Fish beat Hayden Lohrey to make it 10-9 Sparty, but then Gerrit Nijenhuis got the Boilermakers their first bonus point with an 11-3 major decision over Nathan Jimenez. Sparty got two huge victories in the next two, with #29 Layne Malczewski beating #23 Max Lyon 4-2 at 184 and #18 Cam Caffey nearly got bonus points in an 8-1 victory over #15 Thomas Penola. Michael Woulfe did get a victory to end the dual for Purdue, but his 10-4 decision over Brad Wilton fell a single point shy of tying total match points, and two points shy of a dual-deciding bonus point. If the total match points had been tied, the next criterion was total near fall point, and I have no idea who that favored.

#9 Wisconsin Badgers 21, #14 Minnesota Gophers 15

Atinat: Despite Wisconsin being the higher ranked team, this should be viewed as somewhat of an upset. The Badgers scored minor upsets at 125 and 133 pounds, before Garrett Model scored a huge upset over #4 Brayton Lee 10-5 at 157 pounds. Kind of said it looked like Lee’s conditioning is off and he’s maybe dealing with illness, but I would like to point out that his two matches before this were road wins over #12 and #5, the latter being two days earlier, so it’s not like he was in bad form. Dean Hamiti recorded a first period pin that Kind of called the “best 70 seconds [he’d] seen in a while” at 165 pounds, and while Minnesota took three of the last four by major decision, it wasn’t enough to take down the mighty, mighty power badgers. Braxton Amos sealed the dual at 197 pounds with a 6-4 decision over Michael Foy.

#2 Iowa 36, Illinois 3

HWAHSQB: Lucas Byrd was dominant. Everything else sucked. No Duncan. No Carr. Iowa accumulated about 12 an hour of riding time. The match ended with three straight Illinois prep kids wrestling for the angry parrot team dominating their Illini counterparts. Hello, darkness my old friend....

Trying to find something positive not related to Lucas Byrd. I like Baan Rachal’s attitude even though he ended up getting pinned, he came out swinging (metaphorically). Little Braunagel was mostly able to hold serve on his feet against Bull. Last year, I thought the team peaked too early and was worn down by March and they definitely aren’t peaking in January, so there’s that.

Atinat: That went pretty well. Cardani definitely brought the fight to Ayala, scoring an early takedown and continuing to shoot the first two periods, but Ayala wore him down en route to a 7-4 decision victory. No DeSanto or Eierman meant Iowa split the next two weights, before the Iowa starters cut through the Illinois lineup. Iowa won out, collecting pins from Kemerer and Cassioppi, a tech fall from Kaleb Young, and a major decision from 141-pound substitute Drew Bennett, tallying 36 points total.

There isn’t a ton to talk about. Still waiting on DeSanto, still excited about Ayala. Murin had a good weekend. Kemerer got two pins in his second weekend back, though both were unranked foes. Young and Warner both look good right now, hopefully that momentum can keep going into the Penn State dual in two weeks. Iowa gets to travel to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes next Friday. Illinois is going to West Lafayette the same day.

#1 Penn State Nittany Lions 28, #17 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 11

Atinat: Just as I start thinking about how Penn State can be the #1 dual team if they always seem to trail at the midway point, the Nittany Lions turned the hurt on. Drew Hildebrant needed all seven minutes to beat #31 Dylan Shawver, and #20 Joseph Olivieri held RBY to a regular decision before Rutgers rallied three straight wins to go up 11-9 at the break. No Nick Lee meant a technical fall for SeaBass over Brandon Meredith, and #18 Michael Van Brill and Robert Kanniard both took extra time to knock off #19 Beau Bartlett and Tony Negron, respectively. Brady Berge made his Nittany Lion return at 165 pounds, wearing down Andrew Clark in a 5-1 decision, and then the bonus points started for Penn State. Starocci tech’d Connor O’Neill, and Aaron Brooks had a dominate 10-2 major decision victory over #5 John Poznanski. #2 Max Dean overcame a 6-3 second period deficit to beat #7 Greg Bulsak 9-6, and Kerkvliet made quick work of heavyweight backup Alex Espositio, pinning him in just 1:45.

I still think there are weak points in the Penn State lineup, but those heavyweights sure are dangerous. Penn State wrestles at Michigan on Friday and at Michigan State on Sunday, while Rutgers does the inverse, seeing the Spartans on Friday and the Wolverines on Sunday.

Michigan State 17, Indiana Hoosiers 15

Atinat: Indiana gave this one all they could, ultimately getting a 5/5 match split thanks to big wins at 133, 149, and 184, but it was Michigan State who won the day thanks to bonus points from Tristan Lujan and Chase Saldate. This was a fun dual, with team score coming down to a 2-1 heavyweight final and an average margin of victory of 4 points. There were only two matches that I would say were between likely NCAA qualifiers, with Brock Hudkins upsetting Rayvon Foley at 133 and DJ Washington beating Layne Malczewski at 184, but almost everyone is capable of making at run at the end of the season and finding themselves in Detroit.