By Pete Ruden
CLEVELAND — Iowa entered the NCAA Wrestling Championships Session 4 on March 16 with two semifinalists and came out with just one finalist.
Spencer Lee pinned Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello to move on to the finals in his true freshman season.
Alex Marinelli, on the other hand, fell to Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez in a match that he kept close against the two-time NCAA champion.
The Hawkeyes also sent three to the consolation semifinals; Brandon Sorensen, Michael Kemerer, and Sam Stoll kept their bronze medal hopes alive with two wins on the night.
“Now, we’re getting to the end; we’ve got our guys in position for placings,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “Spencer Lee’s in the finals. We had some guys who got upset, Stoll and Sorensen, and they came back strong, and then you throw Kemerer in there, he came back strong. We’ve got five All-Americans.”
Here’s what happened and what’s next:
Lee vs. Tomasello (Ohio State)
Lee got things off to a good start for the Hawkeyes in Session 4. The true freshman clinched a spot in the NCAA finals by pinning Tomasello, a former national champion.
The two split their matches earlier in the season; Lee won in the dual, and Tomasello came out victorious at the Big Ten Championships.
After being unable to take Tomasello down in their previous matches, Lee got out to a quick start with a takedown and 2-point near fall. By the time the match reached the third period, Lee had a 6-2 lead and instead of waiting for time to expire, secured a fall.
The victory sets Lee against Rutgers’ Nick Suriano in the finals.
Marinelli vs. Martinez (Illinois)
Martinez got the best of Marinelli to keep the freshman from seeing the finals, winning 5-2.
Martinez scored a takedown in the first and second period and could have had more, but Marinelli’s athleticism got him out of trouble, keeping the match close.
A Martinez escape in the third wrapped it up and sent Marinelli to the consolation semifinals, where he will face Wisconsin’s Evan Wick.
Sorensen vs. Ke-Shawn Hayes (Ohio State)
After getting upset earlier in the tournament, Sorensen secured All-American status by beating Hayes, 9-0.
He got off to a quick start, scoring takedowns in each of the first two periods on the way to winning by major decision, 9-0.
Ronald Perry of Lock Haven, who beat Sorensen in the second round, reached the finals as the No. 15 seed by beating Matthew Kolodzik of Princeton, 5-3.
Sorensen vs. Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)
Sorensen kept his quest for a bronze medal going, scoring a lot of points to beat Lewallen by a major decision, 13-3.
Sorensen scored a good chunk of his points early and didn’t let up. The win puts him in the consolation semifinals with Kolodzik on his plate next.
Kemerer vs. Joey Lavallee (Missouri)
Kemerer bounced back after falling to the wrestle-backs, beating No. 2 seed Lavallee, 5-2.
Kemerer scored a takedown in each of the first two periods before adding a point for an escape in the third. The win made him an All-American for the second time in as many seasons.
Kemerer vs. Josh Shields (Arizona State)
In a battle of high-school teammates, Kemerer came out on top, winning by a 6-2 decision.
Kemerer scored a takedown in the first and second periods, as well as an escape in the second, to put the Sun Devil away. He then added a point for riding time for good measure.
Kemerer will face Alec Pantaleo of Michigan next in the wrestle-back semifinals.
Cash Wilcke vs. Kollin Moore (Ohio State)
Wilcke kept it close but was ultimately unable to take down the top-seeded Moore.
After a scoreless first period, Moore had 2 near-fall points awarded to him. He kept his scoring going by adding an escape and a takedown in the third, while adding another point for riding time.
The loss ends Wilcke’s tournament, keeping him just shy of becoming an All-American.
Sam Stoll vs. Nathan Butler (Stanford)
Stoll moved on in the wrestle-backs by beating Butler in a 15-3 major decision.
Stoll jumped on him early, scoring 2 takedowns and a 4-point near fall in the first period alone and didn’t look back.
Stoll vs. Nick Nevills (Penn State)
Nevills beat Stoll in the bronze medal match at the Big Ten Championships, but Stoll didn’t let it happen again.
After each earned an escape point, the Hawkeye heavyweight scored a takedown in the first sudden-victory period to win, 3-1, and become an All-American.
The victory sets Stoll up against Duke’s Jacob Kasper in the consolation semifinals.
Updated Team Standings