Match Notes: Big Ten Championships

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DATE  Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10
LOCATION  Minneapolis | Williams Arena 
RADIO | LISTEN  Hawkeye Radio Network | Hawkeye All-Access

The University of Iowa wrestling team competes at the 2019 Big Ten Championships on Saturday and Sunday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The two-day event begins Saturday at 10 a.m. (CT). Session II starts Saturday at 6 p.m. Session III begins Sunday at 12 p.m., followed by the finals at 3 p.m. The finals will be televised by BTN.

Brackets and team standings will be available throughout the tournament at and

Sophomores Spencer Lee, Austin DeSanto, and Alex Marinelli each earned the No. 2 seed at their respective weight classes when the Big Ten Conference announced its tournament pre-seeds March 4.  
    Marinelli is 20-0 this season with nine falls. He is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Division I Coaches Poll at 165 pounds. 
    Lee and DeSanto both own 16-2 records. Lee is ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll at 125 pounds, and DeSanto is ranked No. 3 at 133 pounds.  
    All 10 Hawkeyes earned a pre-seed. Pat Lugo (149) and Jacob Warner (197) are seeded third at their respective weight classes. Kaleb Young (157) and Cash Wilcke (184) are both seeded fifth. Max Murin is seventh at 141. Sam Stoll is eighth at 285, and Mitch Bowman is 10th at 174.
    The complete tournament brackets will be released Friday afternoon following the Big Ten Conference coaches meeting. 

Since 1989, the year the Big Ten record book first recognizes the award, eight different Hawkeyes have been named Wrestler of the Big Ten Championships. Head coach Tom Brands won the award in 1989 following his 126-pound conference title. Associate head coach Terry Brands won the honor following his 126-pound Big Ten title in 1992. Brent Metcalf was the last Hawkeye to earn the award. He is the only Big Ten athlete to win the award twice (2008, 2009).

The Hawkeyes’ 112 Big Ten champions have won a total of 199 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time, and 30 two-time winners. The Hawkeyes have won 35 team titles, twice as many as the next closest school (Illinois, 17). Iowa won 25 consecutive conference championships from 1974-1998.

The Big Ten Championships is one of eight qualifying tournaments across the country.     The NCAA has awarded the conference 78 of the 286 automatic qualifying bids for the national championship in Pittsburgh on March 21-23.
    The Big Ten was allotted more bids than any other conference. The league will have five automatic qualifiers at 197, six at 149, seven at 285, eight at 133, 174, and 184, and nine at 125, 141, 157, and 165. 
    After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 44 at-large qualifiers. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.
    To be considered eligible for at-large selection, a wrestler must meet two or more of the standards, including .700 overall winning percentage, .700 Division I winning percentage at the weight class, Top 33 RPI (taken after the qualifying tournaments), Top 33 Coaches Ranking (Taken after the qualifying tournament), one win against a wrestler who qualified for the national tournament, qualifying event placement one below AQ.

Four University of Iowa wrestlers are ranked in the top five of the Division I Coaches Poll released by the NCAA on Friday.
    Alex Marinelli is ranked second at 165. Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto are ranked third at 125 and 133, respectively, and Jacob Warner is ranked fifth at 197. Kaleb Young cracked the top 10, coming in at No. 6 at 157. Pat Lugo and Sam Stoll were one spot outside the top 10. Lugo is 11th at 149 and Stoll is 11th at 285. All 10 Hawkeyes competing in the postseason appear in the coaches poll.  
    Lee is Iowa’s highest ranked wrestler in the rating percentage index (RPI). He is ranked second at 125. DeSanto is third at 133 and Marinelli is fourth at 165. To be eligible for an RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight. 

The Hawkeyes enter the Big Ten Championships with five wrestlers making their tournament debut. Redshirt freshmen Max Murin and Jacob Warner, sophomores Austin DeSanto and Kaleb Young, and junior Pat Lugo are competing at the conference tournament for the first time.
    Four Hawkeyes — Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli, and Mitch Bowman — are making their second Big Ten tourament appearances. All three wrestlers competed last season. Lee placed third at 125 (3-1). Marinelli placed sixth at 165 (2-3), and Bowman placed eighth at 184 (1-3). All three earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
    Cash Wilcke and Sam Stoll are competing at the Big Ten Championships for the third time. Wilcke entered the tournament at 197 the last two seasons, placing eighth in 2017 and sixth in 2018. He is 4-5 in two tournament appearances. Stoll placed eighth at the tournament in 2016. He missed the touranment in 2017 with an injury, and returned last season to place fourth. He is 5-4 in two tournament appearances. 

Sophomore Austin DeSanto and junior Pat Lugo have conference tournament experience, but never before with the Big Ten. DeSanto placed third at 133 at the EIWA Championships in 2018, earning an automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA Championships. 
    Lugo won the 149-pound title at the 2017 EWL Championships, and placed third at the 2016 EWL Championships. He qualified for the NCAA Championships both years. 

Sophomore Alex Marinelli enters the Big Ten Championships with an undefeated record.   
     Marinelli is 20-0 overall. He scored a team-high 77 points in 15 dual matches, averaging 5.13 team points per dual, the most by a Hawkeye since Brent Metcalf averaged 5.35 in 2009-10. Marinelli’s winning streak is Iowa’s longest since Michael Kemerer won 22 straight to open the 2017-18 season.
    Marinelli completed an undefeated season for the second time in as many seasons. He was 14-0 in 2018 entering the postseason. He is 34-0 in the regular season with a pair of Midlands titles, 10 falls, and seven wins over top 10 opponents. 
    In the history of Iowa wrestling, 15 wrestlers have finished the season with a perfect record (minimum 20 matches). Four of those wrestlers were able to perform the feat twice. They include Mark Ironside, Lincoln McIlravy, T.J. Williams and Jim Zalesky. Iowa coaches Tom Brands and Terry Brands are among the 15 wrestlers. Tom went 45-0 in 1990-91 and Terry went 35-0 in 1991-92.

Sophomore Alex Marinelli was 9-0 in Big Ten duals, becoming the first Iowa wrestler to win all nine conference duals since Thomas Gilman in 2017. 
    Marinelli was 9-0 in the Big Ten with two major decisions, four falls, and one win by stalling disqualification. He scored 44 of a possible 54 team points in Big Ten dual competition. Marinelli is 17-0 all-time in Big Ten duals. He was 8-0 last year. 
    Since 2007, Tom Brands’ first season as Iowa head coach, a wrestler has navigated a perfect Big Ten regular season 18 times. Since 2014-15, when the conference went to a nine-dual regular season schedule, five Hawkeyes have posted perfect 9-0 records. Marinelli in 2018-19, Gilman did it three times (2015, 2016, 2017), and Alex Meyer, Brandon Sorensen, and Sam Stoll were all 9-0 in 2015-16.

Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto are a combined 32-4 with 25 bonus point victories. Lee, Iowa’s sophomore 125-pounder, is 16-2 with 14 bonus-point wins (2 major decisions, 6 technical falls, 6 pins). DeSanto, Iowa’s sophomore 133-pounder, is 16-2 with 11 bonus-point wins (5 major decisions, 4 technical falls, 2 pins). 

Three of Iowa’s four 2018 All-Americans — Spencer Lee (125), Alex Marinelli (165), and Sam Stoll (285) — are a combined 44-5 with 32 wins by bonus points. (Michael Kemerer, Iowa’s fourth 2018 All-American, is out for the season). 

The Big Ten Championships return to Minnesota for the first time since 2008. Iowa won the conference tournament that season, scoring 127 points. Minnesota placed second with 112.5. The tournament title was the first for head coach Tom Brands. 
    Brent Metcalf won the 149-pound Big Ten title. Mark Perry placed second, and four more Hawkeyes placed third. Iowa assistant coach Ryan Morningstar placed seventh at 157 pounds.