CLEVELAND — A Spencer Lee pin and Alex Marinelli comeback sent two University of Iowa wrestlers to the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Championships at Quicken Loans Arena.
Lee, a true freshman seeded third at 125, and Marinelli, a redshirt freshman seeded sixth at 165, won their quarterfinal matches Friday to secure All-America honors and move one step closer to Saturday night’s finals.
Lee led 11-1 against No. 6 Nick Piccininni before securing a fall in 3:58. He has outscored three tournament opponents 47-1, earning two technical falls and a pin. He faces No. 2 Nathan Tomasello in the semifinals. Lee and Tomasello split decisions earlier this year. Lee was a 2-1 winner in a dual at Ohio State. Tomasello won 3-2 in the Big Ten semifinals.
“Everybody knows it’s going to be a good match,” Lee said. “We both have a lot of respect for each other, and in our minds the winner of that match is going to be the guy to beat in the finals.”
Marinelli, a winner by fall in his previous two outings, erased a 4-1 deficit in his win over No. 4 Chad Walsh. He escaped by the end of the first, pulled within 5-4 with a takedown in the second, and rallied past Walsh with an escape to start the third and a takedown with 1:13 left on the clock. He advances to face top-seeded Isaiah Martinez in the semifinals.
“It doesn’t matter (who is on the mat). This whole bracket is stacked. This whole tournament is stacked,” Marinelli said. “I want to see everyone. You have to beat the best to be the best.”
“We’ve got a two-time champ at 165 and we’ve got a champ at 125, so we have to get ready for those matches,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “The way our guys compete, I know that they are excited for tonight, and we are too.”
Iowa’s third quarterfinalist, sixth-seeded Michael Kemerer, dropped a 6-2 decision to third-seeded Jason Nolf. Kemerer was bounced to the consolation round at 157. He needs one win to reach the All-American stand.
The Hawkeyes were 8-2 on the backside of the bracket Friday afternoon. Brandon Sorensen, Cash Wilcke, and Sam Stoll each won a pair of matches to advance to the Round of 12 and are one win from All-America honors.
“The biggest thing is that we’ve got to come back strong tonight,” Brands said. “If you win the match, you’re an All-American.”
Vince Turk and Mitch Bowman went 1-1 in the consolation round and saw their respective seasons come to an end Friday. Both wrestlers were competing at their first NCAA Championships.
The Hawkeyes are in fourth place with 53.5 points heading into the semifinals. Ohio State leads the team race with 80.5 points.
The championships continue Friday at 7 p.m. (CT). The semifinals and consolation rounds will begin simultaneously on six mats. ESPN and WatchESPN are providing television and online coverage of Session IV.
125 – #3 Spencer Lee (Iowa) pinned #6 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 3:58
157 – #3 Jason Nolf (Penn State) dec. #6 Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 6-2
165 – #5 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. #4 Chad Walsh (Rider), 7-6
141 – Vince Turk (Iowa) dec. #15 Nate Limmex (Purdue), 3-2
141 – Chad Red (Nebraska) dec. Vince Turk (Iowa), 3-2
149 – #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) major dec. Eleazar Deluca (Rutgers), 13-0
149 – #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. #7 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), 4-2
184 – Mitch Bowman (Iowa) tech. fall Kayne MacCallum (Eastern Michigan), 19-2
184 – #7 Taylor Venz (Nebraska) major dec. Mitch Bowman (Iowa), 16-4
197 – #14 Cash Wilcke (Iowa) pinned Thomas Lane (Poly), 4:51
197 – #14 Cash Wilcke (Iowa) dec. Nathan Traxler (Stanford), 5-2 TB2
285 – #5 Sam Stoll (Iowa) dec. Andrew Done (Virginia Tech), 7-0
285 – #5 Sam Stoll (Iowa) pinned Shawn Streck (Purdue), 4:28
125 – #3 Spencer Lee vs. #2 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State)
165 – #5 Alex Marinelli vs. #1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois)
ROUND OF 12 MATCHUPS
149 – #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) vs. #5 Ke-Shawn Hayes (Ohio State)
157 – #6 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. #2 Joey Lavallee (Missouri)
197 – #14 Cash Wilcke (Iowa) vs. #1 Kollin Moore (Ohio State)
285 – #5 Sam Stoll (Iowa) vs. #7 Nathan Butler (Stanford)
- Ohio State 80.5
- Penn State 67.0
- Michigan 59.5
- IOWA 53.5
- NC State 44.0
- Missouri 41.0
- Virginia Tech 35.5
- Cornell 30.0
- Rutgers 28.5
- Arizona State 23.0