Hawkeyes Win Big Ten Title, Crown 3 Champions

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. –- The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team won the 2020 Big Ten Championship on Sunday, scoring 157.5 team points and crowning three individual champions.

Alex Marinelli defended his 165-pound conference title, and Spencer Lee and Pat Lugo became first-time champions, leading Iowa to its first outright team title since 2010 and its 36th conference title overall.

“Job well done. We are not downplaying this,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “The reason why it does get downplayed is because there is another important event. It’s cliché but we have to get ready and there is work to do. But we definitely give ourselves credit. You don’t see what is behind the scenes. We appreciate a job well done, and that was a job well done and it was a battle.”

Lee led 4-1 after one, 6-1 after two, and with more than four minutes of riding time, added 10 points in the third to defeat No. 2 Devin Schroder, 16-2, at 125 pounds. The Big Ten Conference title is the first of his career.

“I just have to keep scoring points and maybe work on my offense a little more,” Lee said. “There are things to improve on. I think that (were) are a lot of slow moments, both just working on top and bottom probably pretty boring. Maybe I need to get back on my feet some more.”

Lugo’s takedown with 1:09 left in the first period was the difference in his 2-1 win over top-seeded Sammy Sasso at 149.

“I just grinded my teeth and got down. I got to where I was good,” Lugo said. “If I’m in my ties I’m the best in the world, not just the country, the best in the world. That’s how much my confidence has grown since last year, just being around guys like Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer. That winning is contagious, that confidence is contagious. It’s just like catching the flu; you hang out with guys that have the flu and you’re going to catch the flu. If you hang out with guys that’s winning you’re going to start winning.”

Marinelli, the No. 2 seed at 165, scored a takedown with 10 seconds left in the third to break a 1-1 tie and earn a 3-2 win over top-seeded Vincenzo Joseph.

“When it’s the Big Ten tournament you know you are going to have to beat the guy on the other side of the bracket if you want to win the tournament,” Marinelli said. “So, yeah, he’s on my mind but I’m taking it a match at a time. When the moment came, I attacked on it. I have great coaches that preach staying in your match, tackle the first one then the next one, then the finals.”

Lee was named Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Year. He heads into the NCAA Championships ranked No. 1 in the country with an 18-0 record. He has outscored his opponents 254-18.

Tom Brands was named Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year. It is the fourth time he has earned the honor, more than any other coach in school history. He was previously recognized in 2008, 2009, and 2010 following conference titles. Iowa has five Big Ten championships under Brands (2008, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2020).

All nine of Iowa’s placewinnerss earned automatic berths to the national tournament in Minneapolis on March 19-21. The Big Ten Conference tournament is one of seven NCAA qualifying tournaments across the country. The NCAA is expected to announce the tournament qualifiers Tuesday. The entire brackets will be released Wednesday. Iowa’s Kaleb Young is eligible for an at-large berth at 157.


  • Spencer Lee was named Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Year.
  • Tom Brands was named Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, his fourth career honor (2008, 2009, 2010).
  • Iowa’s team title is the 36th in program history, best in the Big Ten.
  • Iowa’s point total (157.5) is its highest since 1995 (185).
  • Lee became the 114th wrestler in school history to win a Big Ten Conference title.
  • Lugo became the 115th wrestler in school history to win a Big Ten Conference title.
  • Marinelli became the first Hawkeye to win back-to-back titles since Sammy Brooks in 2016-17.
  • Iowa crowned three individual champions for the first time since 2003 (Cliff Moore, Jessman Smith, Steve Mocco).

125 – #1 Spencer Lee (IA) major dec. #2 Devin Schroder (PU), 16-2
149 – #2 Pat Lugo (IA) dec. #1 Sammy Sasso (OSU), 2-1
165 – #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. #1 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU), 3-2
174 – #2 Mark Hall (PSU) dec. #1 Michael Kemerer (IA), 8-5

133 – #1 Seth Gross (WIS) dec. #3 Austin DeSanto (IA), 6-3
184 – #4 Taylor Venz (NEB) dec. #3 Abe Assad (IA), 6-4
197 – #3 Jacob Warner (IA) inj. def. #6 Shakur Rasheed (PSU), 2:14
285 – #3 Tony Cassioppi (IA) dec. #4 Trent Hillger (WIS), 4-0

141 – #3 Max Murin (IA) mff #6 Mitch McKee (MINN)


  1. IOWA                  157.5
  2. Nebraska            132
  3. Ohio State          112
  4. Penn State         107
  5. Purdue                83.0
  6. Northwestern   79.5
  7. Michigan            73.0
  8. Minnesota         63.4
  9. Wisconsin          62.5
  10. Michigan State  57.0
  11. Illinois                 49.0
  12. Rutgers               25.5
  13. Indiana               14.5
  14. Maryland           0.0

Wrestler of the Year: Spencer Lee, IOWA
Freshman of the Year: Aaron Brooks, PSU
Coach of the Year: Tom Brands, IOWA
Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships: Sebastian Rivera, NU

Spencer Lee, IOWA
Pat Lugo, IOWA
Alex Marinelli, IOWA
Gable Steveson, MINN
Ryan Deakin, NU
Sebastian Rivera, NU
Kollin Moore, OSU
Luke Pletcher, OSU
Aaron Brooks, PSU
Mark Hall, PSU