IOWA CITY, Iowa — The third-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team fell to second-ranked Penn State, 26-11, on Friday night in front of 14,311 fans inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The loss was Iowa’s first of the season in conference action and ended the Hawkeyes’ 24-dual Big Ten winning streak.
“We have a long way to go,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “This season is moving fast and we need to move forward with urgency.”
Iowa opened the dual with a pair of wins at 125 and 133 pounds. Thomas Gilman’s first-period takedown was the difference in his 3-2 win over No. 3 Nick Suriano. Gilman, the nation’s top-ranked 125-pounder finished a single leg with 1:16 left in the opening frame and allowed just a pair of escapes to improve to 18-0 with five wins over ranked opponents.
“I danced with him,” Gilman said. “When he was running around the mat I was chasing him a little bit and I don’t think there’s a corner of that mat that we didn’t touch. I need to assert my authority more than go out there dancing.”
Clark used six takedowns, four nearfall, and 4:33 or riding time to earn a 19-4 technical fall at 133. The nation’s third-ranked 133-pounder missed the month of December, was handed his first loss of the season five days ago, but responded against Penn State and now moves into next week’s match against top-ranked Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) with another seven minutes of mat time under his belt.
“A lot of it is getting to that sweet spot to where right when that first whistle blows you’re rock solid,” Clark said when asked about regaining his All-America form. “That’s where you want to be and you have to figure out how to get there. I’ve wrestled my whole life and it is still something I have to re- teach myself every season. I think I’m getting close to that point.”
Iowa led 8-0 before Penn State strung together four straight wins.
Eighteenth-ranked Topher Carton saw a 3-0 lead disappear in the third period, allowing four takedowns in the final frame and falling to No. 12 Jimmy Gulibon, 8-6, at 141. Third-ranked Brandon Sorensen fell in the second tiebreak for the second time in as many matches, this time losing to top-ranked Zain Retherford, 9-8, at 149 pounds.
The battle between No. 1 and No. 2 at 157 went to Penn State’s Jason Nolf. After a scoreless first period, Nolf scored two takedowns in the second and three more in the third to had Michael Kemerer his first loss in 20 matches this season. At 165 pounds, Joey Gunther fell behind 6-2 in the opening two minutes and ultimately lost to No. 4 Vincenzo Joseph, 7-4.
Iowa’s third win of the night came at 174. Alex Meyer scored a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the second period to tie his 174-pound match, 3-3, and struck again late in the third, securing a takedown with 15 seconds on the clock to break a 5-5 tie and defeat Mark Hall, 7-5.
Penn State finished the dual with three straight wins. No. 2 Bo Nickal turned Sammy Brooks’ offense into a first-period fall at 184. Cash Wilcke went 11 minutes with No. 10 Matt McCutcheon before 14 seconds of riding time favored McCutcheon in an 8-7 decision at 197, and No. 5 Nick Nevills earned a technical fall, 21-6, over Steven Holloway at 285.
“We had a great crowd,” added Brands. “We had Penn State coming to town and you never know when you get beat down at Oklahoma State — maybe you worry you won’t have fans at home. But the fans showed up. We have the best fans, the best head table, and we’ll see if we can get the best wrestling. It’s on me.”
The Hawkeyes return to the mat Jan. 27 hosting fourth-ranked Ohio State at 7 p.m. (CT) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available at the UI Athletics Ticket Office, over the phone a 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or online at hawkeyesports.com. The dual is televised live on BTN.
NOTES: Attendance was 14,311, the ninth largest crowd in Carver-Hawkeye Arena history.
#2 PENN STATE 26, #3 IOWA 11
125 — #1 Thomas Gilman (IA) dec. #3 Nick Suriano (PSU), 3-2; 3-0
133 — #3 Cory Clark (IA) tech. fall George Carpenter (PSU), 19-4; 8-0
141 — #12 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) dec. #18 Topher Carton (IA), 8-6; 8-3
149 — #1 Zain Retherford (PSU) dec. #3 Brandon Sorensen (IA), 9-8 TB2; 8-6
157 — #1 Jason Nolf (PSU) dec. #2 Michael Kemerer (IA), 9-4; 8-9
165 — #4 Vicenzo Joseph (PSU) dec. Joey Gunther (IA), 7-4; 8-12
174 — #13 Alex Meyer (IA) dec. Mark Hall (PSU), 7-5; 11-12
184 — #2 Bo Nickal (PSU) pinned #5 Sammy Brooks (IA), 0:38; 11-18
197 — #10 Matt McCutcheon (PSU) dec. Cash Wilcke (IA), 8-7; 11-21; TB2
285 — #5 Nick Nevills (PSU) tech. fall, Steven Holloway (IA), 21-6; 11-26
#3 Iowa: 7-2, 3-1
#2 Penn State: 8-0, 4-0