Iowa head coach Tom Brands addresses the media after Michigan beat the Hawkeyes 19-17 on Saturday.
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Frustration looks like Sam Stoll walking back through the tunnel inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Iowa heavyweight has his singlet straps down and just tossed his water bottle aside. Moments after walking off the mat, the self-critique was in full bloom.
“I looked like a fat bird out there,” Stoll said as he made his way back to the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “Just a big, fat slob.”
Stoll had just lost to Michigan’s Adam Coon, 3-2, the final match of a 19-17 Wolverine win over the Hawkeyes here on Saturday evening. Iowa is now riding a two-dual losing streak after its 9-0 start, and falls to 4-2 against Big Ten Conference competition.
For the second week in a row, an early Iowa lead was undone by four consecutive losses from the back-half of the lineup. Last Sunday, a 12-7 Hawkeye advantage turned into a 22-12 Ohio State victory. On Saturday, they were up 17-7 before Michigan (8-2, 5-1) stormed back.
It would be easy to point to the fact that Iowa coach Tom Brands opted to rest Michael Kemerer, his All-American 157-pounder, and insert Jeren Glosser into the lineup in his place. Brands insisted that Kemerer is fine, despite looking a tad sluggish near the end of his last two matches.
“Yes, he's healthy,” Brands said. “He’s nicked up a little bit, but not a big deal. Probably could've went, and when I say probably, I mean he probably could've went in the dual meet (tonight). The postseason is a foregone conclusion, he's going. Smart. It's the smart thing to do.
“That was a winnable dual, even without Kemerer. We had some bonus points. We needed some bonus points. Sorensen and Spencer Lee showed up for bonus points. But we have to get guys more competitive in all positions."
Glosser squared off with Alec Pantaleo, Michigan’s two-time NCAA qualifier and one-time All-American who's currently ranked fifth in the country by Trackwrestling. Glosser held his own early on, but Pantaleo’s obvious size advantage led to a 5-2 victory, bringing the Wolverines back within 14-7 at the intermission.
Up to that point, Iowa had done its job. Spencer Lee opened the night with a 15-0 technical fall over Drew Mattin. Lee, ranked third nationally by Track, rolled up a takedown and three four-count tilts in the first period, and escaped 21 seconds into the second to clinch his third straight victory over a ranked opponent (Mattin is 13th).
“I felt it, and just went for points,” Lee said. “Kept pressure on top, and I don’t know if he got a stall call or not (note: he did). I don’t remember. I was just working. If it wasn’t, I maybe would’ve gone back to my feet, but everything felt good.”
The two Iowa freshmen discuss their victories from Saturday’s home loss to Michigan.
Stevan Micic, ranked 10th nationally at 133, put Michigan on the board with a 19-5 major decision over Paul Glynn. But the Hawkeyes took the next two thanks to a wild overtime victory from Vince Turk at 141 and a second-period pin from Brandon Sorensen at 149.
Turk’s victory was crazy. He and Sal Profaci combined for seven total takedowns. It appeared as if Turk won the match in regulation, 10-9, but Brands challenged for a technical violation. A review confirmed that Profaci grabbed Turk’s headgear, so he led 11-9 with nine seconds left. Profaci scored to force sudden victory, then Turk scored to win, 13-11.
Alex Marinelli opened the second half of the dual with a 3-2 win over Logan Massa, pushing Iowa’s lead to 17-7. Marinelli scored a quick takedown in the first period, then fought off multiple shot attempts from Massa in the third to push his overall record to 10-0.
“It was a great shot, a great double leg,” Marinelli said. “… I knew he was a lefty, and he had an open-tie shot. Just needed to stay low and stay stingy. I’m happy with the win.”
The advantage would not last. Kaleb Young again got the nod at 174, and got in on a couple of shots early, but failed to finish and lost to Myles Amine, 3-1. Mitch Bowman couldn’t get out from bottom and dropped a 4-1 decision to Domenic Abounader at 184.
Cash Wilcke scored a first-period takedown at 197, but then gave up two in the second period and lost to Kevin Beazley, 6-5. Stoll followed with his 3-2 loss to Coon, capping a stretch where Iowa scored just one takedown while surrendering four and was outscored 16-9 in match points.
It was frustrating for Brands to watch from his corner chair. He often yelled, “Give yourself a chance!” during those final four weights. Afterward, he was a little more reserve, but still direct, in his assessment.
“You’d be surprised that I’m a little bit calmer than you might think,” Brands said. “When you look at all year, where things kind of unraveled, even in close matches, it happened too easy. That takedown at heavyweight was too easy.
“Those two takedowns at 197 in the second period, they were too easy. We have to contest and fight that more. It can’t be that easy … that’s on us on coaches. I put it here first. I always have, I always will.
“But the other part of it is they have to figure it out … we’re into the third week of January, so we’re getting to where we have to figure it out.”
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
No. 7 Michigan 19, No. 3 Iowa 17
125: Spencer Lee (IA) tech fall Drew Mattin (UM), 15-0
133: Stevan Micic (UM) maj. dec. Paul Glynn (IA), 19-5
141: Vince Turk (IA) dec. Sal Profaci (UM), 13-11 (SV1)
149: Brandon Sorensen (IA) pinned Ben Lamantia (UM) in 4:54
157: Alec Pantaleo (UM) dec. Jeren Glosser (IA), 5-2
165: Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. Logan Massa (UM), 3-2
174: Myles Amine (UM) dec. Kaleb Young (IA), 3-1
184: Domenic Abounader (UM) dec. Mitch Bowman (IA), 4-1
197: Kevin Beazley (UM) dec. Cash Wilcke (IA), 6-5
285: Adam Coon (UM) dec. Sam Stoll (IA), 3-2