Hawkeyes Send 3 to B1G Finals; Sit in 2nd Through Day 1

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Iowa wrestling team saw three wrestlers advance to Sunday’s Big Ten finals on Saturday night in Session II at the Big Ten Championships at the Crisler Center.

Top seeds Spencer Lee (125), Real Woods (141) and No. 3 seed Patrick Kennedy all punched their tickets to Sunday’s finals. Lee scored a bonus point victory, while Woods and Kennedy won hard fought decisions to advance.

Iowa also has four wrestlers – Max Murin (149), Nelson Brands (174), Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285) – still alive to finish as high as third, while Brody Teske (133), Cobe Siebrecht (157) and Abe Assad (184) are in the seventh/eighth place matches.

“The overall assessment is hard,” said head coach Tom Brands. “We won three in the semifinals and lost three. Those last two are to a team we are in a tight race with.

“We have to be ready to go tomorrow, that’s the biggest thing. We have to come back strong tomorrow and be ready.”

By virtue of their finishes, all 10 Hawkeyes earned their automatic qualifying spots for the 2023 NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later this month.

The Hawkeyes are second in the team standings with 105.5 points. Penn State leads the championships with 120 points and the Nittany Lions have six finalists.

Lee opened the semifinal session with a dominating 20-2 technical fall victory over Minnesota’s No. 5 seed Patrick McKee at the 6:51 mark of the match. The win ran Lee’s Big Ten Championships winning streak to eight matches. In two wins, Lee is outscoring his opponents, 37-2.

The Pennsylvania native extended his overall winning streak to 54 matches, which is the eighth-longest streak in Iowa wrestling history. Lee is 16-0 this season with bonus points in 15 of his 16 matches with eight falls, four tech falls and three majors.

Woods was the second Hawkeye to secure a spot in Sunday’s final with a gritty 3-0 decision over Northwestern’s fourth-seeded Frankie Tal Shahar. Woods had a second period escape and iced his 15th win with a third-period takedown.

It is the fourth time Woods has wrestled for a conference title, as he was a two-time Pac-12 champion (in 2020 and 2022) and the Pac-12 runner-up in 2021.

Kennedy clinched his spot in the finals in his first postseason tournament with a hard fought 3-2 win over Michigan’s second-seeded Cameron Amine at 165. After trading escapes, Kennedy secured the winning takedown with 26 seconds remaining to secure his 19th win of the season.

“It was going to be the guy who puts the other guy down,” said Brands. “We were in deep and let the guy do what he’s good at. We got in deep again and made it happen for ourselves. He stayed on his feet, stayed in the center of the mat, took his time, was patient and locked it down. He did a good job.”

Iowa dropped its final two semifinal matches at 197 and 285. No. 5 seed Jacob Warner lost 3-1 to Penn State’s top-seeded Max Dean and No. 3 seed Tony Cassioppi fell 5-0 to the Nittany Lions’ No. 2 seed Greg Kerkvliet.

In the wrestle backs, the Hawkeyes went 5-2 in the second session. No. 7 seed Nelson Brands went 2-0 with a 3-2 decision over Michigan’s Max Maylor before getting a takedown in sudden victory to defeat Indiana’s sixth-seeded Donnell Washington, 3-1. The second win clinched Brands’ spot in the 2023 NCAA Championships.

Teske, Siebrecht and Assad all won their first consolation bouts before dropping their second matches to drop into the seventh place/eighth placement matches.

– Woods winning streak is 15 matches, which ties the longest winning streak of his collegiate career.
– Iowa has had a finalist at 165 in each of the last five Big Ten Championships. Alex Marinelli won the last four Big Ten titles at the weight class.
– Spencer Lee can become Iowa’s 19th three-time Big Ten champion.

Team Standings Through Session II
1. Penn State 120
2. Iowa 105.5
3. Nebraska 98.5
4. Ohio State 77
5. Minnesota 73
6. Michigan 64
Northwestern 64
8. Wisconsin 46.5
9. Illinois 36.5
Purdue 36.5
11. Rutgers 30
12. Indiana 27
Michigan State 27
14. Maryland 19.5

Semifinals Results
125 – #1 Spencer Lee (UI) tech. fall #5 Patrick McKee (MINN), 20-2 (6:50)
141 – #1 Real Woods (UI) dec. #4 Frankie Tal Shahar (NU), 3-0
149 – #1 Sammy Sasso (OSU) dec. #4 Max Murin (UI), 8-2
165 – #3 Patrick Kennedy (UI) dec. #2 Cameron Amine (UM), 3-2
197 – #1 Max Dean (PSU) dec. #5 Jacob Warner (UI), 3-1
285 – #2 Greg Kerkvliet (PSU) dec. #3 Tony Cassioppi (UI), 5-0

Consolation Results
133 – #8 Brody Teske (UI) dec. #10 Taylor Lamont (UW), 4-1
133 – #4 Chris Cannon (NU) dec. Brody Teske (UI), 9-4
157 – #5 Cobe Siebrecht (UI) pinned #14 Michael North (MD), 3:33
157 – #8 Trevor Chumbley (NU) dec. #5 Cobe Siebrecht (UI), 3-2
174 – #7 Nelson Brands (UI) dec. #9 Max Maylor (UM), 3-2
174 – #7 Nelson Brands (UI) dec. #6 Donnell Washington (IU), 3-1 (SV1)
184 – #5 Abe Assad (UI) dec. #11 Evan Bates (NU), 5-1
184 – #8 Brian Soldano (RU) pinned #5 Abe Assad (UI), 0:53

Finals Matchups
125 – #1 Spencer Lee (UI) vs. #2 Liam Cronin (NEB)
141 – #1 Real Woods (UI) vs. #3 Brock Hardy (NEB)
165 – #2 Patrick Kennedy (UI) vs. #1 Dean Hamiti (UW)

Consolation Matchups
133 – #8 Brody Teske (UI) vs. #7 Joe Heilmann (RU) – 7th place/8th place
149 – #4 Max Murin vs. #3 Yahya Thomas (NU)
157 – #5 Cobe Siebrecht (UI) vs. #10 Derek Gilcher (IU) – 7th place/8th place
174 – #7 Nelson Brands (UI) vs. #4 Bailee O’Reilly (MINN)
184 – #5 Abe Assad (UI) vs. #6 Layne Malczewski (MSU) – 7th place/8th place
197 – #5 Jacob Warner (UI) vs. #6 Jaxon Smith (MD)
285 – #3 Tony Cassioppi (UI) vs. #4 Lucas Davison (NU)