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PITTSBURGH — University of Iowa sophomore Spencer Lee defeated Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni, 11-4, on Friday night to advance to the finals of the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships in PPG Paints Arena.
Lee, the No. 3 seed at 125, led from start to finish against No. 2 Piccininni. He scored takedowns in the first, second, and third periods, and added two nearfall points and one minute, six seconds of riding time.
“My coaches said to keep scoring. I think that resonated in my head,” said Lee. “I got a couple more shots, and I wasn’t backing up and focused on what he was doing. I was focused on my ability to score points and to continue to keep that action going.”
Lee’s finals appearance marks the 30th consecutive year Iowa has put at least one wrestler in the NCAA finals. Lee won the 125-pound title last season. He is attempting to become Iowa’s first two-time champ since Matt McDonough won the 125-pound title in 2010 and 2012. Lee will wrestle No. 5 Jack Mueller from Virginia.
“The next big thing will be tomorrow,” Lee said.
Lee was one of two Hawkeye semifinalists. Sophomore Kaleb Young, the No. 6 seed at 157, dropped a 5-3 decision to Nebraska’s No. 2 Tyler Berger. Young will wrestle in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning.
The Hawkeyes were 5-5 on the backside of the bracket Friday night, sending four more wrestlers into the medal round and guaranteeing six podium finishes, the most since 2016. Iowa has had at least five All-Americans in six straight seasons and 11 times in head coach Tom Brands’ 13 years.
Austin DeSanto won a pair of matches at 133 and will wrestle in Saturday’s consolation semifinals. Pat Lugo, Alex Marinelli, and Jacob Warner were all 1-1 in wrestle-backs. All three compete for seventh place Saturday.
Max Murin and Sam Stoll saw their tournaments end after dropping decisions in the Round of 12.
The Hawkeyes are in fourth place with 68 points heading into the final day of the tournament. Penn State leads the team race with 120.5 points. Ohio State is in second with 88.5. Oklahoma State is in third with 73.5.
The NCAA Championships continue Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT). ESPNU and WatchESPN are providing television and online coverage of the medal rounds.
125 – #3 Spencer Lee dec. #2 Nick Piccininni (OKST), 11-4
157 – #2 Tyler Berger (NEB) dec. #6 Kaleb Young (Iowa), 5-3
ROUND OF 12 RESULTS
133 – #7 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) major dec. #13 Austin Gomez (IAST), 16-5
141 – #16 Chad Red (NEB) dec. #22 Max Murin (Iowa), 4-1
149 – #10 Pat Lugo (Iowa) dec. #20 Tommy Thorn (MINN), 4-0
165 – #1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. #6 Logan Massa (MICH), 5-3
197 – #5 Jacob Warner (Iowa) dec. #10 Tom Sleight (VT), 6-2
285 – #10 Youssif Hemida (MARY) dec. #28 Sam Stoll (Iowa), 7-4
CONSOLATION QUARTERFINALS RESULTS
133 – #7 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) dec. #6 Ethan Lizak (MINN), 4-2
149 – #3 Mitch Finesilver (Duke) dec. #10 Pat Lugo (Iowa), 6-3
165 – #5 Chance Marstellar (Lock Haven) dec. #1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 9-6
197 – #16 Josh Hokit (FS) dec. #5 Jacob Warner (Iowa), 5-4
125 – #3 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. #5 Jack Mueller (UVA)
CONSOLATION SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS
133 – #7 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) vs. #5 Luke Pletcher (OSU)
157 – #6 Kaleb Young (Iowa) vs. #4 Alec Panteleo (MICH)
SEVENTH PLACE MATCHUPS
149 – #10 Pat Lugo (Iowa) vs. #8 Jarrett Degen (IAST)
165 – #1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs. #11 Bryce Steiert (UNI)
197 – #5 Jacob Warner (Iowa) vs. #9 Benjamin Honis (Cornell)
- Penn State 120.5
- Ohio State 88.5
- Oklahoma St. 73.5
- IOWA 68
- Missouri 54
- Cornell 52
- Nebraska 51
- Michigan 48
- Minnesota 48
- Virginia Tech 45