Iowa's 133-pound Paul Glynn smiles after a victory during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Dominant returners and strong newcomers highlight Session 1

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This year’s rendition of the Midlands Championships held a lot of action in Session 1 for the Hawkeyes.

By James Geerdes

James-geerdes@uiowa.edu

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The first session of the annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships has come to a close, and Iowa wrestlers — for the most part — did what they do.

With five weights seeded less than the eighth spot, many believed Iowa would not secure a fifth Midlands Championship team victory in a row. Granted, losing is still a possibility, but Iowa scored 51.0 team points to solidly place itself in first place. Arizona State is in second at 39.5, followed by Central Michigan with 37.0 and Rutgers with 36.0.

Leading the charge for Iowa are returning Midlands champions Michael Kemerer and Brandon Sorensen.

Kemerer scored 9.0 points for the Hawkeyes, the most by any wrestler at Midlands. He pinned all three of his opponents in a dazzling combined time of 5:30. Sorensen scored 6.5 points for the Hawkeyes with a pin in 3:52 and a tech fall, notching 40 total match points during the session.

An exciting surprise for Hawkeye fans was the performance from its three lightest weights. True freshman Spencer Lee did not disappoint the Midlands crowd. He forced a pin in 1:20 after notching numerous takedowns. In his second match, against a seventh-seeded Travis Piotrowski of Illinois, Lee worked a quick 17-2 tech fall to secure himself a spot in the quarterfinals.

Fellow true freshman Justin Stickley made it to the Round of 16 before falling to first-seed Nick Suriano of Rutgers. On his way, he upset No. 16-seeded Connor Brown of South Dakota in a 5-4 decision.

“We’re going to control the center of the match, be tough on the edge, and put pressure on our opponents,” head coach Tom Brands said. “That’s where we’re at.”

At 133, Iowa saw a new Paul Glynn. Earlier in December, head coach Tom Brands said Glynn would soon break out of his rut, and he seemingly did. Glynn advanced to the quarterfinals by upsetting fifth-seeded Ben Thornton of Purdue in a 5-1 decision. He then pinned Anthony Rubinetti of Northwestern. And to cap off his session, Glynn won a 3-2 decision over Wisconsin’s Jens Lantz.

At 141, Carter Happel pleaded his case for being Iowa’s starter. The 12th-seeded Happel had a tech fall, a pin, and a major decision on his way to the quarterfinals. Teammate Vince Turk lost in the Round of 16 in a 7-4 decision to 3rd-seeded Cole Weaver of Indiana.

Only two Hawkeyes lost in their opening rounds, immediately finding themselves in the consolation bracket: 174-pound starter Joey Gunther and unaffiliated heavyweight Aaron Costello.

Midlands showed many fans what they already knew: Iowa can score match points up and down the board. Besides Kemerer, Sorensen, and Lee, junior Sam Stoll had two DQs courtesy of tournament stalling rules.

“There was a mandate from the officials that the edge of the mat was going to be different — how they were going to call it — because of stalling,” Brands said. “Our guys were taking advantage of that.”

Wrestling while unaffiliated, younger talents on Iowa raked in points as well.

Jacob Warner had an 8-2 decision and a 11-3 major decision at 197 pounds in the first session.

“Lee and Warner were scoring points,” Brands said. “Warner had a major decision, and Lee had a lot of bonus points, scoring a lot of points in his matches — that’s what we like … You have to wrestle with purpose, with urgency. You have to wrestle to score points.”

Session 2 of Midlands starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 29; it will feature the quarterfinals and some consolation matches. Midlands will conclude on Dec. 30 starting at noon.

Click below for more photos

Wrestlers warm up during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Fans make their way into the arena during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 125-pound Justin Stickley gets ready for his match during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's Justin Stickley wrestles Northern Illinois' Kirk Johansen during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 141-pound Vince Turk gets ready for a match during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 141-pound Vince Turk wrestles during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

A wrestler maneuvers through people around the mats during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 174-pound Mitch Bowman signs in during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 184-pound Mitch Bowman wrestles during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

An official calls for a review of Mitch Bowman's last second takedown as time expried during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa fans react to a reviewed call during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 184-pound Mitch Bowman reacts to his loss in overtime during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 157-pound Michael Kemerer wrestles Arizona State's Gene Ol Pierce during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 157-pound Michael Kemerer prays after a win during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 174-pound Kaleb Young wrestles during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 184-pound Cash Wilcke wrestles Rutgers Anthony Messner during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 133-pound Paul Glynn wrestles Wisconsin's Jens Lantz  during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's fixes his headgear during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Fans stand in the aisle while watching matches during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 141-pound Max Murin gets pinned during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Young event staffers play on the mats after the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 184-pound Cash Wilcke wrestles during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 285-pound Sam Stoll wrestles Penn's Patrik Garrenduring the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

A young event staffer looks on while an official signals the end of a round to wrestlers during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 285-pound Sam Stoll wrestles Penn's Patrik Garrenduring the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

An Iowan fan calls out during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 133-pound Paul Glynn puts on his singlet straps and secures his head gear during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 133-pound Paul Glynn wrestles during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 149-pound Brandon Sorensen wrestles Rutgers during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's 149-pound Brandon Sorensen wrestles Old Dominion's Kevin Budock during the first session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 149-pound Brandon Sorensen wrestles Rutgers during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Rutgers gets his face checked for blood during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa 149-pound Brandon Sorensen wrestles Rutgers during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Officials and medical staff clean up blood off of a mat during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

An Illinois wrestler lays down alongside his team mates during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's Jacob Warner celebrates during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa fans cheer during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa head coach Tom Brands speaks with members of the media during the second session of the 55th Annual Midlands Championships in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

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