Led by backups, Hawkeye wrestlers pound Purdue

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa wrestling lineup that took the mat Saturday afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena was an irregular one, but the end result was mostly what the 8,122 fans in attendance expected against Purdue.

The Hawkeyes beat the Boilermakers 26-9, improving to 4-0 overall and 1-0 against the Big Ten Conference. Iowa, ranked third nationally by Trackwrestling, took seven of 10 bouts to give Purdue (2-1, 0-1) its first loss of the season.

Iowa's Mitch Bowman has his hand raised after scoring a decision over Purdue's Christian Burner at 197 during a Big Ten Conference NCAA wrestling dual on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

The lineup was irregular because five of Iowa's 10 weights were occupied by backups.

“Versatility is a byproduct of toughness,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said afterward. “If you give them an assignment, they take it on. That’s what we need.”

Mitch Bowman stepped in at 197 pounds, further delaying Jacob Warner’s Hawkeye debut. Senior Perez Perez got the nod at 125 in lieu of Spencer Lee. Carter Happel, who’s third on the ladder at 141, bumped up to 149 to fill in for a “banged up” Pat Lugo. Myles Wilson and Aaron Costello continued in their relief roles at 174 and 285, respectively.

► More: Jacob Warner ready for official Iowa wrestling debut — whenever that is

Of those five, only Bowman and Happel won. Bowman produced an impressive 7-5 decision over Christian Brunner, who’s ranked 12th nationally at 197 pounds and recently returned from the U23 World Championships. Bowman scored two takedowns in the first period and added a reversal in the second, which helped withstand Brunner’s third-period ride out.

“When I was in the tunnel after introductions, that’s when they made the call that I was wrestling instead of Warner,” said Bowman, the starter at 184 last season and weighed in there Saturday. “A little short notice, but if you assume you’re wrestling the whole time, it doesn’t matter.

“I wrestled pretty well. I need to keep scoring points toward the end of the match. I started slowing down, not widening that gap and let him get back in the match. It could’ve been a wider spread, but I got ridden out, I got taken down. Those are little mistakes that can be reversed. “

Happel, who started some at 141 a year ago, took out Parker Filius, 2-0, after Saturday's intermission. After a scoreless first period, the sophomore from nearby Lisbon scored an escape in the second and rode Filius out in the third to secure what was then the third of five straight victories for the Hawkeyes in the middle portion of the dual.

“Right away, I got in and felt his hips, and it was a little different than a 141-pounder,” Happel said. “I had to think about that during the match. I couldn’t just bullrush him or anything like that. He was a bigger, stronger kid than me, physically.

“But I knew I could get out from bottom and ride him, and that’s what I did.”

The other five usual starters all picked up victories. Austin DeSanto and Max Murin both took out ranked opponents at 133 and 141. DeSanto, ranked 10th nationally by Trackwrestling, scored two takedowns to beat No. 13 Ben Thornton, 5-2. Murin, also ranked 10th, used a second-period ride out and a takedown in the third to top No. 20 Nate Limmex, 5-0.

Kaleb Young and Alex Marinelli provided fireworks after Happel’s victory. At 165, Marinelli, ranked No. 4 nationally, nearly pinned Cole Wysocki in the first period, but rolled up four takedowns for a 14-3 major decision. That came after Young’s second-period fall over No. 14 Griffin Parriott at 157, bringing the crowd to its feet.

“I felt like I had pretty good pressure on top,” said Young, who’s ranked 12th nationally. “He got to his feet early, but I got my hands locked and got the mat returns. That’s a good momentum changer because when you put a hard ride on someone, it kind of takes a little bit out of them. It gets in their head a little bit.

“I got two pretty good returns. I don’t know if he thought he couldn’t get up to his feet anymore, so he changed his tactics a little bit and tried to go for a roll. I caught his head and arm in a cowcatcher. It was tight. It felt good.”

Cash Wilcke closed the dual with a 12-4 major decision over Max Lyon at 184. Wilcke recorded five takedowns — as a team, Iowa had 15 to Purdue's 6 — to spoil Lyon’s homecoming. The Purdue sophomore is a former standout form Western Dubuque. A few hundred Bobcat fans were in attendance to watch both him and Costello, also a Western Dubuque grad.

They, along with the rest of the black and gold fans, saw an irregular Hawkeye wrestling team take the mat. Brands insisted that Lee and Lugo are fine, as are Michael Kemerer, Jacob Warner and Sam Stoll, the presumed starters at 174, 197 and heavyweight who have yet to wrestle for Iowa this season.

Brands did not offer a specific timetable for any of their returns to the starting lineup. Instead, he hinted that the team that competed on Saturday might be what fans should expect for the time being.

“We’re going to rely on these guys for the near term,” Brands said. “That’s the lineup you’re going to see. We’ve gotta be making hay with that lineup … they’re on the bench and they’re supporting their teammates. Those guys are going to factor into our future.

“Talked about it last week, and we’re moving forward. There’s a lot of areas to move forward in. Not just getting better in your wrestling, which is what we want to do. There’s academics with finals coming up, and a dual meet with Iowa State coming up. We have to get ready for that.”

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

Iowa 26, Purdue 9

197: Mitch Bowman (IA) de. No. 12 Christian Brunner (P), 7-5

285: Jacob Aven (P) dec. Aaron Costello (IA), 3-1 (SV1)

125: No. 21 Devin Schroder (P) dec. Perez Perez (IA), 4-2

133: No. 10 Austin DeSanto (IA) dec. No. 13 Ben Thornton (P), 5-2

141: No. 10 Max Murin (IA) dec. No. 20 Nate Limmex (P), 5-0

149: Carter Happel (IA) dec. Parker Filius (P), 2-0

157: No. 12 Kaleb Young (IA) WBF No. 14 Griffin Parriott (P) by fall in 3:32

165: No. 4 Alex Marinelli (IA) maj. dec. Cole Wysocki (P), 14-3

174: No. 10 Dylan Lydy (P) dec. Myles Wilson (IA), 7-3

184: No. 9 Cash Wilcke (IA) maj. dec. Max Lyon (P), 12-4