LINCOLN, Neb. — University of Iowa senior Alex Marinelli headlines a group of four University of Iowa wrestlers moving on to the finals of the 2022 Big Ten Championships.
Marinelli, Austin DeSanto, Jaydin Eierman and Tony Cassioppi won semifinal bouts Saturday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena and will wrestle for conference title Sunday beginning at 3:30 p.m. (CT) live on BTN.
Marinelli is wrestling for his fourth straight Big Ten title. The three-time defending champion scored a takedown with one minute, 16 seconds left in the third to win 3-2 against third-ranked Dean Hamiti of Wisconsin. With a win Sunday afternoon, Marinelli would become the eighth four-time Big Ten champion in program history.
He is joined in the finals for the second straight year by DeSanto and Eierman. Cassioppi is a first-time finalist. The Hawkeye heavyweight scored a reversal with four seconds left in regulation to force overtime and opened the first sudden victory period with a takedown in 20 seconds. Cassioppi will wrestle Minnesota’s top-ranked Gable Steveson in the finals.
DeSanto earned his second straight trip to the finals with a 4-3 win against Lucas Byrd. DeSanto erased a 2-0 deficit with consecutive escapes in the second and third period, and sealed the win with a takedown in the final 16 seconds of the match. He’ll face Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young in a rematch of the 2021 conference finals.
Eierman advanced to the finals for the second straight year, winning by medical forfeit against Rutgers Sebastian Rivera. He will also get a rematch of last year’s finals, this time as the No. 2 seed against No. 1 Nick Lee of Penn State.
Michael Kemerer medically forfeited his semifinal match and will finish the tournament in sixth place, securing a spot at the NCAA Championships. Max Murin dropped his semifinal match, surrendering a third-period takedown in a 3-1 loss to top-seed Sammy Sasso.
The Hawkeyes went 10-4 in the second session, including a 6-2 mark on the backside of the bracket. All 10 Hawkeyes earned an automatic qualifying spot at the 2022 NCAA Championships in Detroit on March 17-19.
Drake Ayala split a pair of matches at 125. Ayala secured an automatic berth at the national tournament with a 12-3 major decision in his opening bout, but was bounced to the seventh-place match with 5-2 loss in the consolation quarterfinals.
Kaleb Young moved into the top six and secured a berth at the NCAA Championships with consecutive wins at 157. Young defeated Robert Kanniard (RUT), 10-5, and earned the automatic berth with a 5-3 decision against Chase Saldate (MSU).
Abe Assad’s 9-0 major decision against Layne Malczewski (MSU) earned him his second career NCAA berth at 184. He qualified as a true freshman in 2020. Assad fell in his second match, 4-3, and will wrestle for seventh-place on Sunday.
Jacob Warner swept a pair of matches on the backside of the bracket to advance to the consolation semifinals. Warner’s 10-1 major decision against Jaron Smith (Maryland) secured a berth at the NCAA Championships. He picked up his second win of the evening by defeating Gavin Hoffman, 4-2.
Iowa is third place after Day 1 with 109.0 points. Michigan (116) and Penn State (111.5) sit first and second in the team standings.
QUOTING COACH TOM BRANDS
“Day 1 is in the books, and we have 10 (NCAA) qualifiers and four in the (Big Ten) finals, four where they want to be. We have another day of wrestling. Let’s put an emphasis on Day 2. Go out and do your thing and wrestle your match.”
Session III of the Big Ten Championships begins Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT) and will be streamed on B1G+. The finals, third-place, and fifth-place matches begin at 3:30 p.m. The finals are televised live on BTN.
• Drake Ayala is the fourth true freshman to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships under Brands (Nathan Burak, 2013, Spencer Lee 2018; Abe Assad 2020; Drake Ayala 2022).
• Alex Marinelli is one win shy of his fourth straight Big Ten title. There have been seven four-time conference champions in program history, the last was Mark Ironside in 1998.
• Tony Cassioppi advanced to his first career Big Ten Championships finals. Cassioppi is a two-time third-place finisher.
• Ten Hawkeyes earned automatic berths to the 2022 NCAA Championships. It marks the third straight year and sixth time under Tom Brands that Iowa is sending it’s entire lineup to the national tournament.
133 – #2 Austin DeSanto (IA) dec. #3 Lucas Byrd (ILL), 4-3
141 – #2 Jaydin Eierman (IA) mff. #3 Sebastian Rivera (RU)
149 – #1 Sammy Sasso (OSU) dec. #4 Max Murin (IA), 3-1
165 – #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. #3 Dean Hamiti (WIS), 3-2
174 – #1 Carter Starocci (PSU) mff. #4 Michael Kemerer (IA)
285 – #2 Tony Cassioppi (IA) vs. #3 Greg Kerkvliet (PSU), 6-4 SV1
125 – #6 Drake Ayala (IA) dec. #12 Jacob Moran (IND), 12-3
125 – #8 Patrick McKee (MINN) dec. #6 Drake Ayala (IA), 5-2
157 – #2 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. #8 Robert Kanniard (RUT), 10-5
157 – #2 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. #6 Chase Saldate (MSU), 5-3
184 – #5 Abe Assad (IA) major dec. #6 Layne Malczewski (MSU), 9-0
184 – #8 Kyle Cochran (MD) dec. #5 Abe Assad (IA), 4-3
197 – #4 Jacob Warner (IA) major dec. #11 Jaron Smith (MD), 10-1
197 – #4 Jacob Warner (IA) dec. #9 Gavin Hoffman (OSU), 4-2
133 – #2 Austin DeSanto (IA) dec. #1 Roman Bravo-Young (PSU)
141 – #2 Jaydin Eierman (IA) vs. #1 Nick Lee (PSU)
165 – #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) vs. #4 Cameron Amine (MICH)
285 – #2 Tony Cassioppi (IA) vs. #1 Gable Steveson (MINN)
149 – #4 Max Murin (IA) vs. #6 Mike Van Brill (RUT)
157 – #2 Kaleb Young (IA) vs. #5 Peyton Robb (NEB)
197 – #4 Jacob Warner (IA) vs. #3 Cameron Caffey (MSU)
125 – #6 Drake Ayala (IA) vs. #9 Dylan Shawver (RUT)
184 – #5 Abe Assad (IA) vs. #10 Isaiah Salazar (MINN)
1. Michigan 116.0
2. Penn State 111.5
3. IOWA 109.0
4. Ohio State 72.0
5. Northwestern 70.5
6. Nebraska 65.0
7. Wisconsin 58.5
8. Minnesota 55.5
9. Rutgers 37.0
10. Purdue 34.5
11. Michigan State 33.0
12. Illinois 26.5
13. Maryland 14.5
14. Indiana 4.0