ON THE MAT
The second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team hosts No. 1 Penn State on Friday at 8 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The dual is televised live on BTN.
THE SERIES — PENN STATE
Iowa leads the all-time series 28-10-2. The Hawkeyes are 15-6 all-time against the Nittany Lions in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won the last meeting in the series, 19-17, on Jan. 31, 2020, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
1 VS. 2
Penn State enters Friday’s dual ranked No. 1 in the country in the NWCA Coaches Poll. The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 2. Friday is just the third time Iowa and Penn State are meeting as No. 1 and No. 2 in the NWCA Coaches’ Poll. The first meeting was Jan. 5, 1986 (No. 1 Iowa 35, No. 2 Penn State 5). The most recent meeting was Jan. 31, 2020 (No. 1 Iowa 19, No. 2 Penn State 17). Iowa’s last win over the No. 1 ranked team in the country was Nov. 14, 2015 at the Grapple on the Gridiron (#3 Iowa 18, #1 Oklahoma State 16).
The defending NCAA champion Hawkeyes opened the season ranked No. 1 in the NWCA Coaches Poll and ran their streak atop the polls to 28 straight weeks before dropping to the No. 2 spot on Jan. 11, 2022.
The 28-week stretch ranked No. 1 in the country was Iowa’s longest since spending 38 weeks at the top of the rankings from Jan. 15, 2008, until Feb. 23, 2010. (The poll started weekly rankings in 1997. Bi-weekly and monthly rankings started in 1960).
Since 1960, the Hawkeyes have appeared at the top spot of the national poll 220 times.
Iowa has won 29 straight overall and 22 straight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes’ 29-dual winning streak is the longest active streak in the country.
Iowa’s 22-dual winning streak at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is its longest since winning 38 straight from 2008-12. The Hawkeyes’ last loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was Jan. 27, 2018 (19-17 versus No. 7 Michigan).
Iowa has won 28 consecutive Big Ten duals, its longest conference streak since winning 39 straight from 2007-12.
You know what week it is… pic.twitter.com/xeUwzb8j1A
— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) January 25, 2022
PA IN IA
The Hawkeyes’ probable lineup includes four Pennsylvania natives: Austin DeSanto, Max Murin, Kaleb Young and Michael Kemerer. Kemerer was a three-time state runner-up at Franklin Regional High School before climbing to the top of the podium as a senior in 2015. He finished his senior season undefeated.
DeSanto is from Exeter and a 2017 state champion. He had a runner-up finish in 2016 and a fifth-place finish in 2016. Murin was a two-time state champion and three-time finalist for Central Cambria in Ebensburg. Young won a state title for Punxsutawney High School in 2016 after respective fifth and fourth-place finishes his sophomore and junior seasons. Murin, Young and Kemerer all trained at Young Guns Wrestling, a Pennsylvania wrestling club directed by former Hawkeye Jody Strittmatter.
MATCHUPS WITHIN THE MATCUP
No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 1 Penn State is on the marquee, but two weight classes inside the dual feature the country’s top-ranked wrestlers. Iowa’s Jaydin Eierman and Michael Kemerer are both ranked No. 2 at 141 and 174, respectively, and both have a rematch against their 2021 NCAA Championships finals opponent.
Penn State’s No. 1 Nick Lee defeated Eierman, 4-2, in the first sudden victory period in the 2021 NCAA finals. The win was the first for Lee in three career meetings. Eierman defeated Lee 12-4 at the 2018 NCAA Championships and 6-5 in the 2021 Big Ten finals. Iowa was ranked No. 1 and Lee was ranked No. 2 in that conference finals matchup.
Penn State’s top-ranked Carter Starocci is meeting Kemerer for the third time. Kemerer defeated Starocci 7-2 in the finals of the 2021 Big Ten tournament. Starocci won the most recent meeting, 3-1, in sudden victory of the 2021 NCAA finals. Kemerer was ranked No. 1 in both meetings. Starocci was ranked third. The last time Penn State visited Iowa City, the teams split a pair of 1 vs. 2 matchups. Kemerer defeated then No. 1 Mark Hall, 11-6, at 174 pounds. Iowa’s No. 2 Alex Marinelli dropped a 7-5 decision to then No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph.
EYES ON IOWA CITY
The University of Iowa wrestling program has sold out of season tickets for the first time in program history. The 2021-22 season marks a return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for fans that were not allowed to attend last season due to COVID restrictions. Iowa led the nation in attendance for the 14th consecutive season in 2019-20, setting an NCAA average attendance record of 12,568 fans in seven home dates. Official attendance records were not kept in 2020-21.
Since 2010, Iowa and Penn State have met nine times in front of a combined 111,928 fans. That includes four sellouts at Penn State (twice in Rec Hall and twice in the Bryce Jordan Center) and two sellouts at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Friday will be the seventh sellout in the series since 2010.
HAWKEYES AND CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
Iowa is 118-12 (.908) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since Tom Brands took over the program prior to 2006-07. The Hawkeyes are 268-25 (.914) all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since moving from the UI Field House in 1983. Iowa was 2-0 at home during its COVID shortened 2020-21 season, completing its 24th undefeated season in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
BONUS POINTS OR BUST
Senior Austin DeSanto is 12-0 with a team-high eighth technical falls. DeSanto has 35 career technical falls. He has scored 20 points or more in five of his 12 wins and has 26 career matches of scoring 20 points or more.
The nine All-Americans in Iowa’s lineup have a combined record of 320-49 (.867) in career duals, including a 197-26 (.883) mark in Big Ten duals. Senior Jaydin Eierman is 53-5 all-time in dual competition, including a perfect 14-0 record at Iowa. Eierman is undefeated in 27 conference duals. He was 19-0 at Missouri from 2016-19 and is 8-0 since joining the Big Ten in 2020. Senior Michael Kemerer has 50 career dual victories, including a 34-1 mark in Big Ten duals. Kemerer is 50-1 all-time in duals, with his one loss coming as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He has won 42 straight dual appearances. Senior Alex Marinelli is 48-2 all-time in dual meets, including a 30-2 mark in Big Ten duals. Senior Austin DeSanto is 46-4 all-time in duals, including a 20-1 mark in the Big Ten.