By Taylor McNitt
Iowa wrestling sent the seniors out in dominating fashion on Sunday, smacking No. 17 Northwestern, 33-2, on Senior Day.
Despite the score difference, the Hawkeyes didn’t start out on a positive note against the Wildcats.
No. 3 freshman Spencer Lee (125) started out strong in the first period with an early takedown and a nearfall. But in the second period, Lee was unable to escape and lost all momentum. When the third period rolled around, Lee was warned for stalling and then taken down by Northwestern’s No. 10 Sebastian Rivera. He escaped, but couldn’t score any points before Rivera scored a takedown and held him for the rest of the match. But Lee won, 7-4.
“I didn’t focus on the scoring,” Lee said. “The coaching staff and me, we’ve got a lot to work on for Penn State on Friday.”
The second match of the day remained scoreless until the third period. Northwestern’s No. 20 Colin Valdiviez chose to start down and then used it as an opportunity for a reversal. Sophomore Paul Glynn was able to escape and was still down by a point. With 11 seconds left in the match, Glynn scored a takedown and kept Valdiviez from scoring again.
Sophomore Vince Turk showed up for bonus points. He started the match with a takedown, letting Northwestern’s Alec McKenna escape only to take him down again.
The next match, featuring No. 2 senior Brandon Sorensen, was not so clear-cut, however bloody. The first period remained scoreless with countless stalemates, but in the second, Northwestern’s No. 5 Ryan Deakin scored the first point with an escape. Sorensen responded by taking him down 30 seconds later but was unable to keep Deakin from escaping before the end of the period. By this point, Sorensen’s blood smeared both wrestlers and the mat because of Deakin’s dirty wrestling.
“Can’t grab the headgear,” said head coach Tom Brands. “These referees, they’ve got to start calling things that are illegal, or it’s going to go on and on and on, and it hurts us.”
In the third period, Sorensen escaped, taking the lead. But with 22 seconds left in the match, Deakin turned the tables and took down Sorensen. In the last seconds of the match, Sorensen escaped to put the match into overtime, where he won.
No. 2 sophomore Michael Kemerer stepped onto the mat next for an explosive performance. Thanks to three takedowns and three nearfalls, Kemerer ended the first period leading, 16-2, over Northwestern’s Shayne Oster, just shy of a technical fall. He made it a tech fall in the first 10 seconds of the second period with an escape, earning 2 bonus points for Iowa.
No. 7 freshman Alex Marinelli followed up Kemerer with his own tech fall, albeit unconventionally. Marinelli took the lead right away, scoring a takedown. Marinelli scored 10 takedowns throughout the match, but Northwestern’s Michael Sepke responded almost every single time with an escape. When the whistle ended the third period, the score was 22-8.
The one match Northwestern won (by decision) didn’t even earn the team full points. Freshman Kaleb Young fought this match against Northwestern’s No. 17 Johnny Sebastian, and much like earlier matches, the story was takedown-escape. But partway through the match, Sebastian’s headgear fell off, knocking a team point off Northwestern’s final score.
No. 5 sophomore Cash Wilcke scored the first points of his match with a takedown. He gave up a point to Northwestern’s Zack Chakonis by a locked-hands technical violation, and Chakonis evened up the score with an escape. The second period was a series of takedowns and escapes, and Wilcke’s dominance, as well as a point for riding time, secured his win by decision.
No. 3 junior Sam Stoll ended the event with his one and only takedown in the first period. Neither he nor Northwestern’s Conan Jennings scored any more points, so Stoll’s 2 points made for a win by decision that gave Iowa’s score 3 more points.