MINNEAPOLIS — The third-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team won its 21st straight Big Ten road dual Sunday, defeating 13th-ranked Minnesota, 27-11, at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.
Iowa won seven-of-10 matches and held a 23-9 edge in takedowns to win its third straight meeting with Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes ran out to a 19-0 lead before intermission behind four major decisions and an upset at 165. Joey Gunther won for the first time in four meetings against a ranked opponent, scoring takedowns in the first and third periods to defeat No. 15 Nick Wanzek, 5-2.
“We need to keep bringing him along,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “Gunther has been doing a good job, but he can open it up a little bit more and build leads. He can be more aggressive because he does have good shots.”
“It was a nice win to get moving forward, getting those ranked wins under my belt,” Gunther said. “I still want to be the best and beat the best, so it feels good.”
The dual started at 149 pounds, where fourth-ranked Brandon Sorensen used five takedowns and 2:39 of riding time to register his team-high ninth major decision, 13-2. Second-ranked Michael Kemerer extended Iowa’s lead to 8-0 with a 13-5 major decision against No. 9 Jake Short, earning his fourth win over a top 10 opponent at 157.
Following Gunther’s decision at 165, No. 11 Alex Meyer and No. 5 Sammy Brooks sent Iowa to the locker room with consecutive major decisions. Meyer’s 174-pound match was scoreless after one period, but he took a 3-0 lead into the third and turned a double-leg into four nearfall points to build a 9-1 lead. Two minutes of riding time made the finals score 10-1. Brooks used three takedowns, two nearfall points, and 3:08 of riding time to win 10-2 at 184.
“Four out of the first five matches scored bonus points and that was big,” Brands said.
The Gophers chipped into Iowa’s lead after the break, winning by technical fall and decision at 197 and 285, respectively. Trailing in team points 19-8 and winners of two straight, Minnesota looked like it might make it three in a row when No. 6 Ethan Lizak finished a takedown and racked up six nearfall points against Thomas Gilman in the opening period at 125.
Lizak opened the second period on top and continued to build riding time when Gilman scored a reversal to make the score 8-2. The third period started with both wresters on their feet, and ended 58 seconds later with Lizak on his back. Gilman used two takedowns and two intentional releases to pull within four points, 10-6, and put Lizak’s shoulders on the mat following a third takedown. He finished the pin in 5:58.
“I listed to a podcast the other day,” Gilman said after improving to 21-0 with seven wins against ranked opponents, including three in the top 10. “It was military oriented and the first thing it talked about was when you’re in a firefight and casualties are occurring, the casualties don’t matter. The only thing that matters is where the fire is coming from. I wasn’t worried about the casualties, which were the points, I was just worried about where the fire was coming from; that was him sucking me back and getting those points. I knew I had to get to my feet and get out. I wasn’t going to win the match by staying underneath for five minutes and then going to my feet. I knew I had to get some points in that second period.”
The reversal ended Lizak’s 8-0 run, and started an 8-2 stretch that ended in Gilman’s team-high eighth fall.
“I welcome the challenge,” Gilman said. “He came out there to beat me and I really appreciate that. I genuinely mean that too. He came out there to beat me. Not a lot of guys do that. They wrestle to keep it close. It was a good match.”
Gilman’s fall extended Iowa’s lead to 25-8. The Hawkeyes were deducted a team point for failing to control that mat after 125, and the teams split a pair of decisions at 133 and 141 to make the final score, 27-11. Fourth-ranked Cory Clark scored two takedowns and four nearfall in a 9-3 win over No. 17 Mitch McKee at 133, and a third-period escape gave No 12 Tommy Thorn a 3-2 win against No. 17 Topher Carton at 141.
Iowa returns to the mat Friday at Indiana. The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers meet at 7 p.m. (CT) at University Gymnasium in Bloomington, Indiana. Iowa hosts its annual Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. The Hawkeyes will recognize Gilman, Clark, Carton, Meyer, and Brooks following the dual. Visit hawkeyesports.com/tickets for call the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS for ticket information.
NOTES: Attendance was 3,749… Iowa has won 21 straight Big Ten road duals… Iowa has won the last three duals against Minnesota… Sorensen has a team-high nine major decisions… Kemerer has four wins over top 10 opponents… Gunther earned his first win over a ranked opponent (1-3)… Meyer has a career-high eight major decisions… Gilman’s fall was his eighth of the season… three of Carton’s six losses have been by one point, all to ranked opponents.
#3 Iowa 27, #13 Minnesota 11
149 — #4 Brandon Sorensen (IA) major dec. Brandon Kingsley (M), 13-2; 4-0
157 — #2 Michael Kemerer (IA) major dec. #9 Jake Short (M), 13-5; 8-0
165 — Joey Gunther (IA) dec. 15 Nick Wanzek (M), 5-2; 11-0
174 — #11 Alex Meyer (IA) major dec. Chris Pfarr (M), 10-1; 15-0
184 — #5 Sammy Brooks (IA) major dec. Bobby Steveson (M), 10-2; 19-0
197 — #2 Brett Pfarr (M) tech. fall Mitch Bowman (IA), 19-4; 19-5
285 — #8 Michael Kroells (M) dec. Steven Holloway (IA), 7-0; 19-8
125 — #1 Thomas Gilman (IA) pinned #6 Ethan Lizak (M), 5:58; 24-8*
133 — #4 Cory Clark (IA) dec. #17 Mitch McKee (M), 10-3; 27-8
141 — #12 Tommy Thorn (M) dec. #17 Topher Carton, 3-2; 27-11
*Iowa deducted one team point for control of mat
Iowa: 10-2, 6-1
Minnesota: 6-4, 5-3