The four-time Ohio champion is working his way back from a left knee injury. Chad Leistikow/The Register
IOWA CITY, Ia. — For the first time, Alex Marinelli is listed in Iowa wrestling’s “probable lineups” for a dual.
But minutes after the handout was distributed to assembled media Tuesday, Hawkeye coach Tom Brands quickly quashed the idea that the talented redshirt freshman will make his varsity debut in Friday’s 7 p.m. dual against Rider.
“It’s November. Settle down, dudes,” Brands said with a smile.
That lineup spot at 165 pounds, for now, belongs to Kaleb Young. But it’s becoming more clear that Marinelli’s return is imminent.
“I can go anytime,” the eager four-time Ohio state champion said as he prepared to take part in a fully live workout at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex — with a brace around his left knee.
That injury recovery is the reason Brands is being ultra-patient with Marinelli, who he sees as a difference-maker once active. Marinelli, without wrestling a varsity match, is ranked No. 10 nationally by Trackwrestling.
“He is probably frustrated. But he’s handling it well, and he’s mature,” Brands said. “He’s our No. 1 guy. The issue isn’t a quarterback controversy. The issue is, we have to make doggone sure it’s the right decision for a lot of reasons.”
Wrestling is an individual-based sport where there’s really no penalty for patience, other than perhaps losing a few points in a dual meet that has no bearing on national-tournament qualification.
Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands is excited about the eventual debuts of Alex Marinelli and Spencer Lee. Iowa hosts Rider at 7 p.m. Friday. Chad Leistikow/The Register
Hence, there’s no rush on bringing Marinelli back. Same goes with Spencer Lee, the freshman phenom at 125 pounds who continues to recover from ACL surgery.
“Marinelli will continue to train and do what he’s been doing,” Brands said. “Right now he’s very strong. We have no issue with him, except we’re going to be really smart. It’s still November.”
Marinelli is on board with whatever Iowa's 12th-year head coach decides.
“It would kind of be selfish to put me in there just for the fans,” he said, “if it’s not good for me.”
Who: Iowa (3-0) vs. Rider (0-0)
When, where: 7 p.m., Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Tickets: $12 for adults; kids 18 and under are free.
Matchup: Rider has seven seniors in its probable lineup; Iowa has two (Phillip Laux at 133, Brandon Sorensen at 149) … The Broncs bring a pair of top-10 wrestlers into Carver-Hawkeye. No. 7 B.J. Clagon will face Iowa’s No. 3 Michael Kemerer (3-0) at 157; No. 6 Chad Walsh, a two-time all-American, will face Iowa’s Kaleb Young (3-0) at 165. ... Iowa sophomore Cash Wilcke (3-0) is up to No. 6 in Trackwrestling’s rankings at 197.