ST. LOUIS – The University of Iowa wrestling team clinched the 2021 NCAA Championships team title Saturday afternoon following the medal round of the national tournament in the Enterprise Center.
Iowa leads the team race with 125 points heading into Saturday night’s finals. Penn State is in second with 97.5 points. Oklahoma State is in third with 95.5. Neither the Nittany Lions or Cowboys have enough scoring opportunities Saturday night to catch the Hawkeyes, who have won the NCAA team title for the 24th time in program history, their first since 2010.
Iowa created enough separation from the field to clinch the team title during Saturday’s medal round. The Hawkeyes won six-of-seven matches and scored bonus points in two bouts, getting a technical fall from Austin DeSanto and major decision from Tony Cassioppi. Both wrestlers went 2-0 Saturday to earn third-place finishes at 133 and 285. The bonus-point wins were Iowa’s 20th and 21st of the tournament.
“Our team came out and faced some adversity but to still pull it out and be scoring as many points as we are and be wrestling as hard we are is awesome,” Cassioppi said.
Cassioppi won a pair of matches Saturday by a combined score of 13-0. He was 5-1 competing in his first NCAA tournament, outscoring his opponents 37-2 in his five wins and winning three times by major decision.
“I feel good. It’s the next best thing I could get,” Cassioppi said. “I don’t’ want to be third place. I want to be first place, but after the loss in the semis I had to refocus on getting the next best thing and climbing that podium.”
DeSanto won two matches Saturday on the back side of the 133-pound bracket. He finished his tournament 5-1 overall with four bonus-point wins, outscoring his opponents 67-17.
“I was letting it go and believing in myself, believing in my coaching staff and believing in everyone else around me,” DeSanto said. “I know no matter what my teammates and coaches love me, win or lose, and that’s a great thing to have behind you.”
Kaleb Young and Jacob Warner each picked up a win Saturday. Warner placed fourth in the 197-pound bracket. He split a pair of decisions Saturday and finished his tournament 4-2. Both losses were by a combined three points.
Young finished his tournament with a 3-2 win in the seventh-place match. After falling in his second round match, Young won three straight in the consolation round to earn his third career All-America honor.
The final round of the NCAA Championships begin Saturday at 6:10 pm. (CT) on ESPN. Iowa seniors Spencer Lee (125), Jaydin Eierman (141) and Michael Kemerer (174) wrestle for NCAA titles. The final round will start at 133 pounds, followed by 141 pounds and continuing until the final match of the night, the 125 pound finals.
• Iowa won its 24th NCAA team title, its fourth under head coach Tom Brands.
• Iowa wrestlers have a combined record of 37-12 heading to the NCAA finals, scoring bonus points in 21 matches.
• Iowa has five wrestlers guaranteed a third-place finish or better for the first time since 2010.
• Iowa has seven All-Americans, its highest total since 2010 (8).
• Iowa has had at least five All-Americans in eight straight seasons and 13 times in head coach Tom Brands’ 15 years.
CONSOLATION SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS
133 – #4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) tech. fall #9 Michael MaGee (ASU), 19-4
197 – #5 Jacob Warner (Iowa) dec. #26 Jake Woodley (OKLA), 2-1
285 – #5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) major dec. #14 Trent Hilger (WIS), 8-0
133 – #4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) dec. #3 Korbin Myers (VT), 10-6
197 – #1 Myles Amine dec. #5 Jacob Warner (Iowa), 5-3
285 – #5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) dec. #4 Cohlton Schultz (ASU), 5-0
157 – #5 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. #33 Wyatt Sheets (OKST), 3-2
IOWA’S NCAA FINALS MATCHUP
125 – #1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. #3 Brandon Courtney (ASU)
141 – #1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. #2 Nick Lee (PSU)
174 – #1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. #3 Carter Starocci (PSU)
1. IOWA 125
2. Penn State 97.5
3. Oklahoma St. 95.5
4. Arizona State 74.0
5. Michigan 69.0
6. NC State 68.0
7. Missouri 64.0
8. Minnesota 60.0
9. Ohio State 46.5
10. Northwestern 45.0