Before the season began, Iowa had only ever wrestled Princeton twice in its long and storied history. Both meetings ended in Hawkeye triumphs — a 36-7 victory in 2001, and last season’s 31-10 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Sunday marked the third meeting between the two programs, and it went much like how the first two did.
No. 1 Iowa beat No. 12 Princeton, 30-9, on Sunday afternoon. The Hawkeyes improve to 4-0 and won’t compete again until the Midlands Championships at the end of the month. Princeton drops to 1-2 after losing to both Iowa and No. 7 Oklahoma State this weekend.
Competing in front of 2,284 inside Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey, the Hawkeyes won seven of 10 bouts against the Tigers. Five of those victories included bonus points — a pin from Alex Marinelli (165), two technical falls from Austin DeSanto (133) and Michael Kemerer (174) and two major decisions from Max Murin (141) and Tony Cassioppi (285).
Those five combined to score 89 of Iowa’s 109 total match points. Even more, those five also racked up 37 takedowns. DeSanto led the way with 12, including seven in the first period of his 25-9 demolition of Sean Pierson, followed by Marinelli with 10, including one in the third period that led to his pin over Connor Melbourne.
Jacob Warner, ranked fourth nationally by Trackwrestling, added two more in a 5-4 win over No. 2 Patrick Brucki at 197 pounds. In the dual’s marquee match, Warner rallied from a 2-0 first-period hole with a takedown in the second period, tying the match at 3-all. The sophomore scored another with four ticks left in the third to secure the victory.
"Warner, good job," Iowa coach Tom Brands said afterward. "Hard hands, snaps, high pace. Jacob Warner is becoming a more sound, fundamental wrestler, and that's helping him, and he's being more physical with his hands. That's helping him. You see his legs going back, you're heavy on the guy, good things are happening.
"It's funny, I'm sitting in the corner and under my breath I'm saying, 'Get your underhook, just get your underhook. Just hit the front leg and a knee-pull.' That's what he did, and it paid off. That patience, all the way to that seven-minute mark, is important."
Added Warner: "As the match went on, I felt stronger and stronger. First period wasn't my best period. Second period was a little bit better, and the third was a lot better.
"I got that takedown, and I was a dog on the bone. I got to the leg one time — need to get there more — but when I got to that leg, I wasn't letting go."
In all, Iowa collected 41 total takedowns to Princeton’s 6. Even more, 35 of Princeton’s 52 total match points were escapes, many of which were gifted from their Hawkeye counterparts.
Those bonus points led the way for Iowa on this day. Though the Hawkeyes were never in any real serious danger of losing this dual, Princeton’s three match victories are the most against Iowa in this still-young 2019-20 season.
At 125 pounds, Aaron Cashman got his first dual-meet opportunity against Pat Glory, a returning All-American at 125 pounds. Cashman fought tough, scoring two reversals, but Glory, ranked 4th nationally by Track, rolled up two takedowns on his way to a 10-4 win.
At 157, Princeton’s Quincy Monday, ranked ninth nationally, scored a first-period takedown to beat Iowa’s third-ranked Kaleb Young, 3-2. It’s Young’s second loss in the last three dual meets, the other coming to Iowa State’s David Carr on Nov. 24.
At 184, Nelson Brands got the nod over Cash Wilcke and suffered his first loss of the season, a 7-6 decision to Princeton’s Travis Stefanik. Stefanik scored two takedowns and led 6-3 entering the third period. Brands tied it with an escape and takedown, then gifted Stefanik an escape to try and score the winning takedown in the final 30 seconds, but couldn’t get it.
The rest of the dual went mostly swimmingly for the Hawkeyes. This week was their first as the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team since the 2014-15 season. On Sunday, they produced a performance worthy of that position.
The season’s toughest tests, though, have yet to come.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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No. 1 Iowa 30, No. 12 Princeton 9
125: No. 4 Pat Glory (PR) dec. Aaron Cashman (IA), 10-4
133: No. 1 Austin DeSanto (IA) tech. fall Sean Pierson (PR), 25-9
141: No. 10 Max Murin (IA) maj. dec. Marshall Keller (PR), 12-2
149: No. 3 Pat Lugo (IA) dec. No. 15 Mike D’Angelo (PR), 3-2 (TB1)
157: No. 9 Quincy Monday (PR) dec. No. 3 Kaleb Young (IA), 3-2
165: No. 2 Alex Marinelli (IA) pins Connor Melbourne (PR), 6:20
174: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (IA) tech. fall Kevin Parker (PR), 19-4
184: Travis Stefanik (PR) dec. No. 9 Nelson Brands (IA) , 7-6
197: No. 4 Jacob Warner (IA) dec. No. 2 Pat Brucki (PR), 5-4
285: No. 4 Tony Cassioppi (IA) maj. dec. Aiden Conner (PR), 10-2
Rankings from Trackwrestling.