By James Geerdes
A national champion, a three-time All-American, and a three-time Big Ten champion fell at the hands of true freshman Spencer Lee.
In the opening bout of the Iowa-Ohio State matchup, Iowa’s lightweight did what few thought he would: pull off the upset.
Last week, Nathan Tomesello of Ohio State dominated No. 5 Ethan Lizak of Minnesota in an 18-3 technical fall. This week, Lee beat top-ranked Tomesello, 3-2.
Lee fended off Tomasello’s shots through the first, and the Buckeye started on bottom in the second. There, Lee showed why he was the best pound-for-pound recruit out of high school. The true freshman rode the national champion for the entire second period, tossing Tomasello to the mat again and again.
The riding time paid Lee back in dividends. He started the third down and earned a quick escape. Tomasello took Iowa’s lightweight down, but Lee was able to get another escape point, making the score to 2-2. Lee was able to defend Tomasello’s shots through the final seconds of the match and finish the upset thanks to riding time.
“I learned that I can wrestle seven minutes, and I need to score more points,” Lee said in a release. “You let a match be that close, and in the end, he can get a takedown. You have to build your lead. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever won a match without a takedown.”
It was the start the Hawkeyes needed if they were to upset the loaded Buckeyes squad, but the Hawks fell, 22-12.
Iowa’s Paul Glynn and Carter Happel lost at 133 and 141. Glynn was able to fend off No. 2 Luke Pletcher from bonus points but still lost, 8-2. Ohio State’s No. 11 Joey Mckenna piled on 5 takedowns to down Happel in a major decision, 13-2.
The powerful trio of Brandon Sorensen, Michael Kemerer, and Alex Marinelli in Iowa’s middle of the lineup gathered three back-to-back-to-back decisions for the Hawkeyes.
Sorensen topped No. 6 Ke-Shawn Hayes, 4-2. Kemerer beat No. 6 Micah Jordan, 8-4. And Marinelli beat No. 13 Te’Shan Campbell, 4-1, giving Iowa its biggest lead of the day, 12-7.
Kaleb Young made his Hawkeye debut at 174 pounds and was able to hold No. 3 Bo Jordan to a decision, 10-5. No. 2 Myles Martin had a major decision over Mitch Bowman, and No. 1 Kollin Moore won a 6-3 decision over Cash Wilcke to give Ohio State a 17-12 lead.
Iowa needed a pin to win the dual, and in its way was two-time world champion, Olympic gold medalist, and two-time national champion Kyle Snyder. Tom Brands decided not to wrestle No. 3 Sam Stoll; instead, Steven Holloway made his season début for Iowa.
Snyder handled Holloway, winning via technical fall, 24-9.
The Buckeyes’ lineup was too much for Iowa, but the season is still young. Talk is growing around the addition of Pat Downey, a possible 184-pounder who has All-American potential.
“The guys who didn’t get their hand raised, the reason is because it was too easy for the opponent,” Brands said in a release. “And when it’s too easy for the opponent — we’re either letting up or we’re not fighting — there is a belief issue there. As that match goes on, maybe things go our way a little bit. Bowman and Young both got the last takedown of the match, but if you have issues of whether you belong out there, and it looks too easy … we have a long way to go.”
Iowa will return to action at 5 p.m. Saturday against Michigan in Carver-Hawkeye.