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Penn State Reigns Supreme Again: Big Ten Wrestling Recap

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Minnesota and Indiana fall short in upset bids

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Superlatives are gonna be a little lacking this week. I think only one true freshman won this week (correct me if I’m wrong), and that was Dean Hamiti again, and again by pin, so that’s gonna be our Freshman of the Week.

There were a couple notable upsets. Nick South of Indiana knocked off Gerrit Nijenhuis of Purdue, which Wrestlestat (who ranks out every D1 wrestler) had as a 100-spot upset (111 vs 11). #15 Jake Bergeland upset #4 Stevan Micic at 141. If either of those matches had affected their duals, they probably would’ve gotten the nod (and they were both pretty close!). Instead, our Upset of the Week was Maryland’s #32 Jaron Smith’s come-from-behind, sudden victory 11-9 decision over #6 Pat Brucki.

And finally, for Outstanding Wrestler of the Week, we’re gonna go with Gable Steveson using a 12-4 third period to major Mason Parris 18-8. There were obviously a ton of impressive performances at the big dual this week, but nobody actually improved upon their last result (RBY went from a 1-point win to a 1-point win, Lee went from 2 in SV to 2 in SV, Starocci went from 2 in SV to 1 after tiebreaks, and Cassioppi went from a 9-0 major to a 7-3 decision). Cassioppi was the only one we really talked about, and ultimately that’s a credit to how Kerkvliet has looked this year, but we still ended up going with Steveson. That was his fourth career victory over Parris, and his second by major decision, and with Kerkvliet losing, Parris probably is the second-best guy in the Big Ten again. Or it’s Cass. We can have that argument in a few weeks.

We also took another look at the power rankings, as promised.

  1. Penn State (3 first place votes) +1 from last ranking
  2. Iowa (3 second) -1
  3. Michigan (3 third) +0
  4. Ohio State (4 fourth) +1
  5. Nebraska (2 fifth, 1 sixth) -1
  6. Minnesota (1 fifth, 1 sixth, 1 seventh) +1
  7. Wisconsin (1 sixth, 2 seventh) -1
  8. T-Rutgers (2 eighth, 1 eleventh) -0.5
  9. T-Purdue (1 eighth, 1 ninth, 1 tenth) +2.5
  10. Northwestern (1 ninth, 2 tenth) -1
  11. Michigan State (1 ninth, 1 eleventh, 1 twelfth) +1
  12. Illinois (1 eleventh, 2 twelfth) -2
  13. Indiana (3 thirteenth) +0
  14. Maryland (sucks) +0

#1 Penn State Nittany Lions 19, #2 Iowa Hawkeyes 13

Atinat: Well. At least I predicted it pretty well. Only matches that didn’t go according to plan were 125 (no Drake Ayala) and 174 (controversial finish). Also, I said it’d be objectively fun but I could get hurt. Let’s, uhh, get into it.

So at 125, Ayala didn’t go for the Hawkeyes, and Hildebrandt used a late tilt to win by major decision. Now, at 133. Austin DeSanto showed his gas tank here, working shots to the opposite-side single leg for seven minutes.

Unfortunately, he didn’t finish a single one of twenty, and RBY finished his lone shot of the day for the match’s only takedown. I’m exaggerating, but yeah, Austin was the only one working this match. RBY was hit with two stall calls, but that was about three too few according to the Carver crowd. Tell you what though, for the first time in a few years, I’m favoring ADS in the rematch. He’s winning at least one of the two postseason matches. Hopefully it’s the big one.

Jaydin Eierman and Nick Lee wrestled a great match, with Lee up 4-2 on two takedowns before a takedown and rideout by Eierman took riding time below a minute and forced sudden victory. A sloppy shot by Eierman set up an easy go-behind for Lee to take the match. These two are very close, but it’s definitely advantage Lee until proven otherwise. Murin beat Bartlett 4-1, and Young won a no-takedown match with Barraclough 2-0.

Alex Marinelli threw a match onto the oily rag that is Carver-Hawkeye with his 10-2 major decision over Brady Berge, tying the team score at 10 going into the back four matches. Then came Kemerer-Starocci. Starocci impressed me with his offense, in that it existed. He out-shot Kemerer in the match, and even drew a stall warning on the Hawkeye. Still, neither got a takedown in regulation, and we went to sudden victory. Twice Kemerer nearly scored a takedown, including on at the very end of sudden victory that was initially called but determined to be after the whistle. While the takedown wasn’t awarded in time live, it’s pretty clear (to me and Ben Askren) on review that they get to that position with two seconds left.

I rest my case.

Starocci quickly got out in tiebreaks, then put a ride on Kemerer. Kemerer was turned around with Starocci still on his legs, and Starocci was hit with stalling after a mandatory count, then another five seconds later, the action was stopped for a restart. Initially, the ref signaled one point, which lead everyone in the building to believe that he had called a second stalling, because it was a second five-second hold on that leg. Instead, he just did not stop action immediately after the stalling call, costing Kemerer precious seconds.

The Hawkeye could not escape after the restart, and Starocci held on for the 2-1 tiebreaks win. Obviously the roadmap to beating Starocci does not involve going to tiebreaks.

Brooks shot out to a quick lead against Abe Assad, but Assad was able to stay in the match and give up just one takedown in the final two periods, limiting the national champ to an 8-3 regular decision. Jacob Warner got a first-period takedown and rideout, plus an escape in the second to go into the third up 3-0, but Dean was able to score a last minute takedown and bow-and-arrow tilt to win the match 8-3. Credit to both guys, I didn’t expect Warner to look that good, and Dean certainly showed no quit.

Kerkvliet scored a fast takedown at 285, but Cassioppi was able to get out and then get a body lock off a Kerk double-leg attack, throwing Kerkvliet and scoring two then riding out the Nittany Lion for the final minute of the first. Kerkvliet chose neutral to start the second, where nobody scored, then Cassioppi got an escape in the third and another body lock takedown that Kerkvliet did well to not give up backpoints on. Cassioppi won the match 7-2, but it was too little, too late for the Hawkeyes, who fell 19-13.

Unfortunately, bad officiating seemed to play a major role in a big dual. Still, credit to nine Penn State guys for going out and wrestling to win. As an Iowa fan, while obviously I’m upset about the loss, I feel pretty good about March and the rematches. Wanna look at my predictions now?

125: didn’t happen

133: DeSanto will shoot opposite-side single legs and come up short, check

141: Eierman needs to get to his offense, but will struggle to do that and lose. Check

149: Murin wins a comfortable but close one. Check

157: Young will win, won’t score bonus points. Check

165: Marinelli will win, but it could be kind of close. Nope

174: Kermerer can take Starocci down, inverse not true. Umm, well, not according to the ref, I guess

184: Brooks won the last one 7-3, probably repeated, no bonus points. Check

197: Cautious, defensive match that favors Dean. Not really, Warner had offense but still lost.

285: Cass gets up for the match, Kerk doesn’t. Check.

#4 Michigan Wolverines 20, #11 Minnesota Gophers 14

Atinat: A huge upset by Jake Bergeland over #4 Stevan Micic plus a major decision from Steveson over Mason Parris helped Minnesota get the moral dual victory, keeping things respectable with the third-best team in the Big Ten/country.

But, yeah, Michigan was still the better team. The Wolverines got major decisions at 125 and 184, and won four in a row from 165 to 197 to clinch the dual. They probably want more bonus points, but everyone but Micic won the matches they were supposed to.

#13 Wisconsin Badgers 39, Maryland No-pins 4

Kind of...: I said 35-6 UW and called for plenty of bonus points, and I was still short. Maryland’s win was a MD at 149 as Austin Gomez didn’t go for UW. I was pleasantly surprised by Kyle Burwick’s clean 5-0 win at 133, and, especially, by Chris Weiler (184) not just winning, but recording a MD over #11 Kyle Cochran.

Eric Barnett (125) and Dean Hamiti (165) recording pins was not surprising, but Andrew McNally (174) joining the parade was. Joey Zargo (141) got pushed by Danny Bertoni, but won 6-4, and Braxton Amos (197) gave up an early TD to Jaron Smith before rallying for a 6-2 win the featured plenty of Amos riding time. Garrett Model (157) and Trent Hillger (HWT) chipped in MDs for a fun and relaxing dual meet blowout.

Maryland probably isn’t going to go scoreless at the B1G tournament, but they are definitely trending in the wrong direction.

Purdue Boilermakers 17, Indiana Hoosiers 16

HWAHSQB: Purdue managed to win their 12th straight against Indiana, but it was no cakewalk. (Of course, only the HWTs ever get to eat cake, so probably not the best phrasing) A knee injury by DJ Washington cost Indiana the chance for the win.

Jacob Moran kept this match scoreless through 1, but Schroder got on top in the second and got a couple tilts to notch an 11-0 major. #11 Hudkins scored a 7-1 victory, but Indinia really needed him to bonus like Schroder before him and Parker Filius in the following match. Graham Rooks scored a 12-2 major for the Hoosiers and the dual was 8-7. Purdue scored a pair of 2 point wins and looked in complete control with #19 Gerrit Nijenhuis coming up as a HUGE favorite against Nick South, but South was game and Nijenhuis continued his inconsistent ways as South stunned Purdue with a 3-2 win.

At 184, DJ Washington was in control and heading toward bonus points when he hurt his knee, which not only wiped a takedown off the board, but he limped his way to a 7-3 victory. To add insult to injury, Max Lyon threw a chickenshit elbow to Washington’s face in the closing moments of the third. I had always respected Lyon as a tough competitor, but that was a poor move.

At 197, Penola won comfortably 10-4 for Purdue and Indiana scored another major upset with Jacob Bullock taking the match in sudden victory over 27yo Navy veteran Michael Woulfe.

#25 Northwestern Wildcats 26, Illinois Aligning Illini 13

HWAHSQB: In some ways, this went better than expected and other ways worse for the Illini. The Wildcats won 6/10 matches, but doubled up the Illini by loading up on bonus with two falls and one tech. All four wins for Illinois were dominant performances, but only one got to a major decision as the Northwestern underdogs outperformed the Illinois underdogs.

The match started with the marquis matchup at 133 where #6 Lucas Byrd defeated #9 Chris Cannon 8-2. Both are second year wrestlers who could wrestle three more year with the COVID year so these guys could square off another dozen or more times. While they are close in the rankings, on the mat, the gap is significant. In three losses now, Cannon has yet to score an offensive point, losing 7-1 and 4-1 in previous meetings. At 141, Duncan returned for his first match of the year and won 9-2, looking a little gassed, which probably cost him bonus points.

Next up, Yahya Thomas wasted no time putting Kanzler’s knee to his forehead for the first period pin. Ryan Deakin got a second period tech, but give true freshman Joe Roberts here a ton of credit for a heroic performance in a 15-0 tech loss. Deakin had him in a bow and arrow and torqued his shoulder to a grotesque angle twice and came up inches shy of the pin.

Danny Braunagel stormed back for the Illini getting the major against David Ferrante in what was technically an upset as Ferrante was ranked #30 and Braunagel had dropped from the rankings after a poor performance last week. At 174, DJ Shannon had a takedown wiped off upon review and Fisher scored with :03 left in the match to win 3-1. At 184, Zac Braunagel was poised for a major, but a late takedown by Halvorsen against a gassed Brauny cut the margin to 14-8. At 197, Illinois sent out our 174# Russian who got stuck on his back by the little Davison bro.

Things looked good for the upset against the larger Davison when Luke Luffman got a takedown right off the whistle at the start of the match and chose down for the start of the third with the score 2-2. Lucas Davison put a saddle on Luffman and rode out the third for a 3-2 win.

The finale was the entirely predictable 1-0 loss by Cardani who put a nice ride on Deaugustino, but came up 7 seconds shy of the riding time point. Cardani took four single leg shots while Deaugustino was on his knees. I know the single leg shots are Cardani’s thing, but WTF was he hoping to accomplish in that position?

Add it all up and you get the Wildcats first win in Champaign since 1989 and their 2nd in the last 11 duals.

#4 Michigan 40, Maryland 2

Atinat: Boy was I wrong! I said 41-0, and Maryland took that personally, winning one match and then getting a team point deducted for celebrating. Michigan got a fall from Jack Medley, filling in at 125, and a forfeit at 174, plus tech falls from Ragusin and Parris and major decisions from Micic, Lewan, and Cam Amine.

So they only got regular decisions from Pat Nolan over Michael North and Myles Amine over Kyle Cochran. Jaron Smith got the huge upset over Pat Brucki to put the Terrapins on the board. Michigan is good, Maryland has room to improve.

Poll

Best BTN dual this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Iowa-Penn State
    (40 votes)
  • 4%
    Michigan-Minnesota
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Purdue-Indiana
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Northwestern-Illinois
    (2 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now

Let’s also take a second to laugh at Okie State, because we hate them. They lost twice this weekend. First back-to-back home losses in 29 years. Ha-ha!