Wrestling: Kaleb Young wins big overtime match as the top-ranked Hawkeyes dismantle Minnesota
It’s been seven years since Minnesota last beat Iowa on the wrestling mat. That was Jan. 25, 2014, a 19-15 win in Iowa City. Sam Brancale pinned Thomas Gilman that night, overshadowing Bobby Telford’s 3-2 win over Tony Nelson at heavyweight.
The Hawkeyes have won every meeting since, a streak that extended to seven-straight victories after Friday’s 35-4 final inside Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis. Iowa, ranked No. 1 in the country, improved to 2-0, while the 11th-ranked Gophers fell to 2-2.
“Good, lopsided win,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said afterward. “A lot of good things, a lot of hustle. But there’s also things where I know we can score more points and maybe be a little more efficient as well.”
Here’s how lopsided and efficient this dual ended up: Iowa had 34 total takedowns while Minnesota managed just 45 total match points. The Hawkeyes put up 115 total match points over 10 matches, of which they won nine, including five with bonus points.
Gable Steveson, the nation’s top-ranked heavyweight, gave the Gophers their only individual win of the night, a 15-6 major decision win over third-ranked Tony Cassioppi. He was responsible for six of Minnesota’s collective takedown total (seven). Cassioppi now has four career collegiate losses. Three are to Steveson.
“We are going to have to make hustle part of our main ingredient to turn that one around,” Brands said. “There was a point in the match where it was 5-2, 5-3, and we seemed to shut him down a little bit, but we need to attack there a little bit.
“To me, it comes down to hustle. Not that our guy doesn’t hustle and isn’t a great kid, but we’re trying to take on the best guy on the planet.”
Without Steveson’s monster effort, Minnesota managed just 30 total match points and only one takedown, which didn’t come until the dual’s eighth bout. Isaiah Salazar scored a first-period takedown against Nelson Brands at 184 pounds. Brands responded by scoring four of his own in a 10-6 victory.
By then, the dual was well in hand. The Hawkeyes raced out to a 15-0 lead after the first three matches. Spencer Lee opened with another first-period pin at 125 pounds. Austin DeSanto followed with a 21-2 technical fall over Boo Dryden at 133. Jaydin Eierman scored 10 takedowns in a 22-9 major decision over Marcos Polanco at 141.
Eierman’s major was one of three on the night for the Hawkeyes. Michael Kemerer (174) and Jacob Warner (197) both joined him, with four and five takedowns, respectively. Max Murin scored two in a 5-1 win over Michael Blockhus, an Iowa native, at 149, and Alex Marinelli scored three in an 8-4 win over Andrew Sparks at 165.
The dual’s highlight match came at 157, where Kaleb Young outlasted Brayton Lee, 4-3, in an overtime . Young was dinged for scissoring the head in the first period, giving Lee a 1-0 lead, but Young scored a takedown in the third period to force overtime — then, after scoring an escape in the first tiebreaker, rode out Lee to win.
“Gutsy win there,” Tom Brands said. “We can be more efficient, though, with our setups and getting to our best positions.”
Brands was already looking forward moments after Friday’s dual ended, per usual. The Hawkeyes host No. 2 Michigan next Sunday as part of a triangular with No. 20 Illinois. The Wolverines enter at 3-0, and the Illini are now 4-0 after muscling past Purdue on Friday. More top-10 opponents await in the weeks ahead.
But two duals in, the Hawkeyes have won 17 of 20 contested matches with nine bonus-point wins. They’ve put up 60 takedowns and have allowed just 12 (and just 6 without Steveson’s effort on Friday). They’ve scored over 200 total match points and haven’t even allowed 80.
Simply put: Two duals in, Iowa still looks like college wrestling’s best team.
“You’ve got to strap it on,” Brands said. “We are looking forward to Michigan.”
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
No. 1 Iowa 35, No. 11 Minnesota 4
125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (IA) pinned No. 9 Patrick McKee (MN), 1:55
133: No. 5 Austin DeSanto (IA) tech. fall No. 20 Boo Dryden (MN), 21-2
141: No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (IA) maj. dec. Marcos Polanco (MN), 22-9
149: No. 6 Max Murin (IA) dec. No. 17 Michael Blockhus (MN), 5-1
157: No. 7 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. No. 6 Brayton Lee (MN), 4-3 (TB1)
165: No. 2 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. No. 16 Andrew Sparks (MN), 8-4
174: No. 1 Michael Kemerer (IA) maj. dec. No. 16 Jake Allar (MN), 12-3
184: No. 6 Nelson Brands (IA) dec. Isaiah Salazar (MN), 10-6
197: No. 3 Jacob Warner (IA) maj. dec. No. 31 Garrett Joles (MN), 13-2
285: No. 1 Gable Steveson (MN) maj. dec. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (IA), 15-6
- 133: Cullan Schriever (IA) major dec. Jake Gilva (MN), 14-5
- 149: Jake Bergeland (MN) dec. Carter Happel (IA), 5-4
- 157: Cael Carlson (MN) dec. Bretli Reyna (IA), 5-4
- 174: Patrick Kennedy (IA) dec. Sam Skillings (MN), 10-4
- 197: Zach Glazier (IA) dec. Dylan Anderson (MN), 10-3