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Iowa, Michigan pass tests with flying colors; recapping the last weekend of Big Ten wrestling

Nebraska and Northwestern surprise the wrestling world, in different ways

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

#16 Nebraska 21, #12 Minnesota 9

Kind of…: Basically I suck at predicting. Sure, I had Hardy, Robb, and Labriola winning, but so would anybody. Of the other seven matches, I went 1-6. But enough about me. Liam Cronin looked really good in upsetting Patrick McKee at 125, and Nebraska won most of the tossups (149, 197, 275). Minnesota’s silver linings were limited to 165 (Andrew Sparks defeating Bubba Wilson) and 184 (Isaiah Salazar with the mild upset over Lenny Pinto). Aaron Nagao also won for the Gophers at 133, but against Husker backup Kyle Burwick, so that was expected. Nebraska looks like they’re getting the machine cranked up a bit. Five potential All-Americans makes you a competitor for a top 5 finish. Maybe ever top 3 is everything breaks right.

#2 Iowa Hawkeyes 27, #6 Northwestern Mildcats 9

Atinat: To paraphrase the White Mamba: we’re way closer to Penn State, than you are to us. Iowa went 7-3 on the day, with two of those losses coming to non-starters. The only tough loss for Iowa was Max Murin, who lost to Yahya Thomas for the first time on a last-second takedown. Murin looked the better wrestler, but never took advantage and paid for that fact in the waning seconds of the 1-1 match. Elsewhere, Real Woods used a dominant first period to tech #10 Frankie Tal-Shahar, Cobe Siebrecht threw water onto the hot season that #9 Trevor Chumbley has had, Cassioppi survived a tight match with #4 Lucas Davison, and Spencer Lee reminded everyone that he is a bad, bad man, pinning #3 Michael DeAugustino with a minute left in the first.

Real Woods really reminded me of vintage Spencer Lee with his dominant top position in the first period, using twice an arm-bar tilt and once a tight-wrist to stack up 14 points in three minutes. Unfortunately, he also reminded me of current Spencer Lee, letting off the gas in the second period and surrendering a takedown. Still, his riding time plus two escapes gave the Hawkeyes five team points. My advice to both Woods and Lee would be to stay out of the second period.

Cobe Siebrecht used a slick slide-by on Trevor Chumbley to humble the sophomore, ending an 8-match win streak (that included a Midlands championship) with a 6-3 defeat. Siebrecht has been so hit or miss this year, but man, when he hits, he’s one of the best in the country. Seriously. If I haven’t said it already, I’ll say it now: dark horse all-American candidate. Also, a quick quote from Cobe Siebrecht. “‘Did Drake (Ayala) teach you that slide-by?’ ‘Yup… Taught me everything I know.’” I really do like this young bunch of wrestlers.

That was Cassioppi’s worst match of the year. The junior showed very little offense in his 3-2 victory, and was nearly taken down at the end after getting to an ankle and then trying to ride out the clock instead of finishing the takedown. Speaking of finishing takedowns, is it weird that I almost like when people get to Cass’s leg, because then I get to see him apply that whizzer and get his weight onto it and just shuck out of deep holds? Because man, it feels like no one ever finishes on the high-crotch on him. Cass himself had a deep single-leg on Davison and released down to the ankle before attempting a finish, aware of how much pressure a heavyweight can put straight down onto that hip. Anyways, Cass is obviously the better wrestler, but he better wrestle better the next time these two meet.

And Spencer Lee. That’s all I have to say about that one.

#4 Michigan Wolverines 25, #29 Michigan State 10

Atinat: For as good of a final score as that is, Michigan is probably not very happy walking away from this one. Dylan Ragusin lost by major decision to Rayvon Foley, and Will Lewan was shocked in sudden victory by Chase Saldate. The Wolverines did get five bonus points, with Mattin and Lamer majoring their foes at 141 and 149 and Parris getting a second period fall against Ryan Vasbinder. The only other match of interest, in my opinion, is 125, where Jack Medley defeated Tristan Lujan 6-3. The senior (crap I’m old) seems to have retaken the starting role for the Wolverines after a strong showing by Kurt McHenry to start the season.

Indiana Hoosiers 24, #19 Rutgers 16

Atinat: Well damn, Indiana! The Hoosiers are on their longest conference winning streak since 2016 after beating ranked Maryland and ranked Rutgers. Rutgers got off to a comfortable start, holding a 10-0 lead after 141, but Indiana won the next four matches with a pin and a major decision to boot. Brian Soldano pinned Clayton Fielden to draw Rutgers back to even at 16 after 184, but Rutgers won the final two matches, including heavyweight by tech fall to seal the match. Indiana does not have the talent to contend with the top or even middle of the Big Ten, but they’re showing grit in the basement. I do not think that will translate to tournament success, however.

As for Rutgers, they’re a young team with a lot of guys showing potential, but nobody capable of running the table in the Big Ten. I’d say they currently have three all-American candidates, with Dean Peterson at 125, Joey Olivieri at 141, and Brian Soldano at 184. None of those are remotely close to a lock. That’s just not going to compete with many Big Ten teams in duals.

#22 Illinois 31, Purdue 9

Atinat: Meh. Illinois went 7-3, with only 184's Dylan Connell failing to secure bonus points in his 9-2 victory. Danny Pucino pinned Parker Filius, which is probably the most notable result. Yes, Illinois is better than we thought, but Purdue is also apparently worse.

#12 Minnesota 21, #29 Michigan State 11

Kind of…: Better outcome for Minnesota than Friday night. Meet went largely to form. Aaron Nagao continues to impress as he notched a 9-4 win over Rayvon Foley at 133. Fresh off knocking off Lenny Pinto, Isaiah Salazar (184) grabbed a 5-3 decision over Layne Malczewski. For the Spartans, Chase Saldate did finish off a really nice weekend with a 3-1 decision over Brayton Lee. Given that McKee is in Spencer Lee’s weight class, there’s no national title contender on either team, and, with Brayton Lee’s struggles, there might not be many All-Americans, either.

#8 Ohio State 27, #19 Rutgers 12

Atinat: Rutgers was gifted 6 points in the form of a forfeit at 174 and still lost by 15. Dean Peterson beat a backup at 125 and Joey Olivieri provided the only quality win for the Scarlet Knights in the form of a 2-1 decision over Dylan D’Emilio. Meanwhile, Heilmann lost to Mendez, Andrew Clark lost to Gallagher, Brian Soldano was pinned by Romero, and Billy Janzer lost to Gavin Hoffman. Anthony White at 149 and John O’Donnell at 285 gave up bonus points in addition to Soldano’s pinfall defeat. I don’t have much to say here. There isn’t enough talent on this Rutgers team to help us gauge where Ohio State is as a program.

#16 Nebraska 22, #6 Northwestern 15

Atinat: Huh. I didn’t think it was impossible, but I certainly didn’t expect Nebraska to come out and grab Northwestern by the huevos like that. It started with Liam Cronin finding a cradle in the second and taking advantage of desperation in the third to major Michael DeAugustino 11-2. Tough weekend for the Northwestern junior. Cannon got the Wildcats on the board, but Brock Hardy answered with a shutout victory over Frankie Tal-Shahar. FTS was outscored 23-2 on the weekend. Yahya Thomas drew Northwestern back to within a team point, but couldn’t find bonus points over the Wrestlestat #167 149-pounder Dayne Morton. Trevor Chumbley did manage to not surrender bonus points in his loss to Peyton Robb, but nevertheless, the top-ranked Husker put his boys up 10-6 at the break.

Maxx Mayfield gave the Wildcats life with a 7-2 win over Bubba Wilson, but the next three Northwestern wrestlers all lost by major decision, including 197-pounder Andrew Davison, whose loss cemented the dual decision. Lucas Davison’s opening-minute fall wasn’t enough for the sixth-ranked Wildcats, who dropped their second dual of the weekend. Northwestern is far from the top tier of this conference. Nebraska, meanwhile, has some fight. Probably not enough for Penn State, Iowa, or Michigan, but they can dance with anyone else in the Big Ten. Oh, and they just added Wisconsin-transfer Kyle Burwick.

#4 Michigan 27, #17 Wisconsin Bad-gers 6

Kind of…: Hard pass. Okay, ugh, let’s do this. I can’t. I mean, Michigan State gave the Wolverines a tougher test. WTF?!?!?! I said 20-12 Michigan, so clearly I missed two matches. Let’s focus on those. At 125, Eric Barnett got beat 12-6 by Jack Medley. In the first, Barnett suffered a reversal while riding Medley pretty high up. Medley worked out from under, and it 2-2 after one. Barnett’s escape was the only scoring in the second, so he leads 3-2 with plenty of RT going into the third. I honestly expected Medley to choose neutral. Instead, he goes down, and when Barnett climbs his back (again!), Medley turns it, not just into a reversal, but into a six point move. Medley then registered two takedowns while seeking the MD. Maybe Barnett was injured. Maybe he was gassed. Maybe he just wrested a dumb match. Regardless, if the meet opened with a thud for UW, and didn’t get any better.

At 165, Cameron Amine grabbed a 5-3 win over Dean Hamiti, so they swapped #5 and #6 in the weekly rankings. Not a crushing loss, but Hamiti was also good a bit foolish at the end. Amine’s late takedown in the first was matched by a late second period takedown by Hamiti, and the each had a beginning of period escape, so it was 3-3 late in the third. Hamiti was the clear aggressor, but his shots got sloppier and sloppier, and a rather desperate attempt in near the end was perfunctorily countered by Amine to create the final score. Depending on Patrick Kennedy’s progression, getting the 1-seed for the B1G tournament and avoiding Carson Kharchla might not be a huge deal. Either way, Amine is in the pole position now.

Austin Gomez had a nice win (17-10), though he lost the MD late. Braxton Amos won 4-0. That was it for the reeling Badgers.

Maryland Terrapinners go 3-1 at Virginia Duals

Atinat: In between victories over Oklahoma and Virginia, Maryland lost their perfect non-conference record to… Campbell? Maryland is very similar to Indiana in that they are built as a dual team. I don’t expect them to do well at Big Tens or NCAAs, but they probably will win a Big Ten dual this year, and that’s more than they’ve been able to say the last couple of years. So here’s your cookie, Maryland. You don’t suck! You just swim in a big, big pond.