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Wrestling Postview: #2 Penn State Can’t Quite Finish the Upset of #1 Iowa in Sold-Out Carver Hawkeye Arena; Fall Short, 19-17

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This rather odd college wrestling season, interrupted in many ways by the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, has taken on an increasing level of physicality the past few weeks, and tonight’s 1 v 2 showdown grew into the heaviest of heavyweight prize fights.

Nittany Lions celebrate the 2016 National Championship, the first in their current streak of 4 in a row.
JP Pearson

This was so good.

The structure of wrestling’s Dual Meet (10 studs go 1v1 against another group of 10 studs) and its scoring rules (each stud sends 3,4,5 or 6 points to his team—or allows his opponent to do the same!) made this an extremely compelling sporting event.

Iowa was favored.

Penn State was capable.

And the fans, as the cliche goes, were the big, big winners.

Pre-Match Notes

The Nittany Lions in Carver Hawkeye Arena, all time: 6-15, best of any visiting team. The Hawkeyes themselves, all time in CHA: 259-25.

Pre-Match On The Mic

Head Coach Cael Sanderson joined PSU radio host Jeff Byers, a bit of (undetermined) time ahead of tonight’s monster clash opening whistle. Audio transcription by yours truly follows.

Coach Cael: We’re excited to see where we’re at, going against some really good coaches, a really good team, and some really good wrestlers.

On relying on veterans: I think, yeah, you have to count on those guys, right? But it’s not really about things you say or do; it’s just more of a feeling, right? I mean, because I can say anything I want, but it’s more what’s in my heart, and how I really feel, so we hope that our Seniors have that same kind of energy. They should be nervous, right? Anytime you compete, they should be spirited. But also knowin that they’re ready to go.

On the Tradition at Iowa, and CHA specifically: Yeah, they really do do a great job, obviously they’ve had some really good teams, and they’ve won who knows how many National Championsh—I mean, they know! But their overall staff is really exceptional, the quality of the event, the Olympic Trials were here, and every time you wrestle here, they really do a great job.

It’s a fun place to compete.

On 133 & RBY: Yeah, you know, that’s a big match. For us to win the dual, that’s one of those matches that, you know, we need to steal. Desanto is really tough and just comes at you the whole time, and Roman’s just got to stay out of his positions, and go score when the opportunity’s there, and just go compete and enjoy the opportunity and make the most of it. But yeah, that’s a big match, and one that I’m excited to see.

On 165 & Cenzo vs Alex “The Bull” Marinelli: Yeah, two of the best—at any weight—going at it. And, again, Cenzo is 0-2, but obviously we feel that he can beat anybody in the country, and he’s shown that, but this is a great opportunity for him. He’s one of those guys that you gotta beat if you wanna be the National Champion.

On 174 & Hall vs Kemerer: Yeah, Kemerer’s always been really great, and really offensive. Very strong, and looks great at 74, so, a great opportunity for Mark—like Cenzo— to see one of the top guys that he’s gonna see here in the Big Tens and the Nationals.

On 184 Brooks and responding to his first collegiate loss: He’s very mature, and see’s the Big Picture. I think, if anything, that (the loss) should be a blessing for him, just be able to relax a little bit, so we’re gonna see how he goes & competes.

But again, this is all...as bad as we wanna win every match, this is all preparation right now, we’re still tryin to figure out our team and get them to the point that we can compete in March. But we definitely want to put our best foot forward tonight and go compete hard.

On 197 & Rasheed: Yeah, Shakur has had a couple weeks of matches now, and it’s just time to let things fly a bit, and trust that he’s healthy, and just go see what he can do. Wrestling a returning All-American, and a tough kid, and that’s one of those guys that’s obviously played a part in the success of our team, not just tonight, but the rest of our season.

On 285: Yeah, well in this day & age, there’s not a lot of secrets. Every match they wrestle is available, every match we wrestle is available, so we...it’s just a matter of going out & getting what you want—and being willing to compete and fight for what you want. So this is a great opportunity for Seth, to see one of those top guys—just to see what’s there, a guy who maybe gets up in there in the final day of The Nationals, but this is a kid who’s shown that he’s a title contender, or very close!

The pyrotechnics have initiated!

Let’s get into the live blogging of this post and see if the mat action can match; I’m guessing these hammers are up to the task.

125 #1 Spencer Lee Tech Fall Brandon Meredith, 3:17; Iowa, 5-0

Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors

Thick brace on Lee’s right knee, but it was only noticeable before the whistle blew.

Period One

  • Quick TD#1 & tilt, 6-0
  • E1
  • Another tilt, 10-1
  • Another tilt, 14-1

Period Two

  • Meredith defers, Lee chose neutral
  • TD#2, game over

133 #3 Roman Bravo-Young Win by Injury Default, 2:50; Penn State, 6-5

Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com
Sam Janicki

I’m a little what Cael might call “spirited” for RBY in this career round 3 between the two stylistically different All-Americans.

Period One

  • Desanto head inside single, RBY sprawl
  • Desanto let’s his knee a little close to his head, and RBY LOCKS A CRADLE AND oh, no...
  • Ref stops it, Desanto with his face in his hands, in clear pain around the right knee
  • He shakes it off, and they’re back at center mat!
  • RBY choice after Desanto injury time,
  • RBY chose down, Desanto concedes the escape, 1-0
  • Beautiful outside trip by RBY for TD#1, 3-0
  • Desanto limping back to center for restart
  • Another restart, more limping
  • Desanto trying to stand, but RBY continuing the breakdowns, but gets a 5-count on the legs, for Stall #1
  • Caution 2 for Desanto
  • E1 Desanto, in quickly on RBY, but another sprawl PLUS cradle lock!
  • As he turns Desanto (who’s screaming) over, ref stops it again
  • Desanto in clear anguish, waving his hand and shaking his head looking right at Tom Brands, and Tom Brands puts his hand to his ear like “what?”
  • Iowa Trainer starts to walk on the mat, Tom Brands waives him back, as Desanto limps to the handshake
  • Desanto stops looking at him, stands up, limps to center, shakes hands and it’s over
  • Iowa deducted a team point for failure to control mat area, minus 1 team point, 11-4 now, instead of 11-5.
  • Put another way, the Brands took a team point away from Spencer Lee

141 #2 Nick Lee Technical Fall Carter Happel; 5:51; PSU 11-4

Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com

Period One

  • Quick TD#1, 2-0
  • Cuts him, 2-1
  • Another quick TD#2, 4-1
  • Big tilt, for 4NF, 8-1
  • Stall #1 Happel

Period Two, 8-1

  • Happel chose down
  • E1, 8-2
  • TD#3, cut, 10-3
  • TD #4, 12-3
  • Stall #2, 13-3

Period Three

  • Lee chose down, quick E1, 14-3
  • Go behind for TD#5, 16-3
  • E1 Happel, 16-4
  • Lee in on TD#6, 18-4
  • E1, Happel, 18-5
  • TD#7, 20-5

149 #1 Patricio Lugo DEC Jarrod Verkleeren, 6-1; PSU 11-7

Sam Janicki

Tonight’s version of the enigmatic Verkleeren showed exactly what we’ve seen all year (minus a few stall calls)—and exactly what was needed for his team!

Period One

  • Lugo with a persistent TD#1

Period Two, 0-2

  • Lugo chose down
  • Quick E1, 0-3
  • Stall #1 on Verk
  • Quick Stall #2, 0-4

Period Three

  • Verk chose down
  • Out fairly quickly, 1-4
  • Lugo underhooks, Verk defense invites another Stall #3, 1-5
  • Scramble at the end results in nothing, tack on RT, 1-6

157 #5 Kaleb Young DEC Bo Pipher, 6-1; PSU 11-10

Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com
Sam Janicki

Byers announced that Swedish Chef Bardy Berge “continues to make progress”, but there remains no timetable for his return. “Could be next week, could be next year.”

Young placed 5/4/1 at PA States, his SO/JR/SR years.

Period One

  • Beautiful righty hi-c from Young, for TD#1

Period Two, 0-2

  • Young chose down
  • Weird, wild Stall #1 call on Pipher on top, no idea why?
  • Young reversal, 0-4
  • Stall #1 on Young, on top! Not sure what is going on, other than this ref was subliminally infiltrated as he walked by the bronze statue of Dan Gable calling for a stall on his way into the arena tonight

Period Three

  • Pipher chose down
  • Pipher trying to stand, showing his deep gas tank, but big return by Young
  • Young trying a tilt, but Pipher grabs an ankle, tries to turn in, but ref stops it for a stalemate
  • RT assured, 0-5
  • Pipher out, 1-5
  • Tired shot by Young, Pipher sprawls, another stalemate
  • Stall #3 on Pipher, ends 1-6

165 #1 Vincenzo Joseph DEC #2 Alex Marinelli, 5-1; 14-10

Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com
Sam Janicki

Marinelli beat the 3x Finalist, 2x Champ last year in both the dual and the Big Ten Tourney.

I expect physicality in Round Three.

Period One

  • Bull with double overhooks, looking big throw ala the past two victories, but Cenzo not fooled thrice uses his cement hips to get back to safety
  • Unreal head and hand fighting in neutral
  • Cenzo reaching for the right leg, but Marinelli hides it
  • Cenzo with double overs, bull trying foot sweep, Cenzo looking inside trip omg this is thrilling!
  • They spent about :30 in that position!

Period Two

  • Bull chose down
  • More TIGHT FIGHTING, in referee’s position
  • Bull, E1, 0-1
  • Tiiggghtt front headlock with Joseph up under Bull’s throat, Brandses react
  • Bull duckunder attempt, Cenzo blocks it, and we’re back in the position: Bull with a double-over body lock, Cenzo countering with double-unders and threatening inside trip
  • OMG
  • This is a prize fight
  • Bull squeezing the body lock, Cenzo hips defense, Bull another footsweep attempt, but CENZO INSIDE TRIP, TAKES HIM TO HIS BACK!!!!
  • 4 NF, but no decking
  • Bull’s got a footlong gash in his face, not sure if the blood on Cenzo’s own face is his own or Bull’s
  • Blood time, how Bull managed to avoid getting pinned I do not know
  • CENZO’S NOSE IS BLEEDING TOOO
  • Tight cross-wrist control by Cenzo, pulling Bull’s wrist across Bull’s throat
  • At restart, Bull stands, again the mano-a mano stuff, this time BULL TAKES CENZO TO HIS BACK!
  • Cenzo rolls through a bit, arches....but time runs out
  • Long review, they award the Reversal to Bull, but no Near Fall

Period Three, 6-3

  • Cenzo down
  • Bull with a spiral ride...
  • Cenzo E1, 7-3
  • Bull duckunder attempt, but no dice
  • Bull working , 7-3
  • Stall #1 on Cenzo
  • Another body lock, Cenzo concedes the TD#1 for Bull
  • Bull working a front 34 nelson and gets called for potentially dangerous
  • Perfunctory handshake by Bull

Amazing fight! Both faces bloodied.

174 #2 Michael Kemerer DEC #1 Mark Hall 11-6; PSU 14-13

Sam Janicki

Period One

  • Hall with a duckunder attempt, Kem stays in front him, so Hall walks up a body lock, stands up, squeezes it tight into...a MASSIVE ANDREW ALTON HEADLOCK AND TAKES KEMERER to his back!!!
  • The momentum allowed Kem to roll through, squeeze his head out and to finish the scramble with his own TD#1
  • PSU coaches throw the challenge brick, asking for some Near Fall points, or at least a takedown + reversal
  • Review not overturned, 0-2
  • Slick Hall reversal, with arm bar, called potentially dangerous, 2-2
  • Quick E1 after restart, 2-3
  • Head inside single left leg, Hall, TD#1, 4-3
  • Kem Reversal!, 5-4
  • At restart, Cael barking in Hall’s ear; don’t see that everyday
  • What a first period! My lawd, this is another dang brawl

Period Two

  • Hall chose down
  • Kem cuts him after 10 seconds, 5-5
  • Kem on shot, Hall leg dives forces a stalemate
  • Hall with a duck attempt, but Kem felt it and in another slick head inside single for Kem TD#2
  • Hall fighting hard on reversal, settles for escape, 6-7
  • Hall in on a shot—one of the less-technically sound shots you’ll ever see Hall take —but Kem sprawl to stalemate

Period Three, 6-7

  • Kem down, Hall concedes the E1, 6-8
  • Hall with a slick ankle pick, but Kem battles through to another stalemate, great scramble to avoid a takedown
  • Hall feigned a duck-under, gets caught flat-footed, Kem in on the TD#3, 6-10
  • Kem with a tight wrist and tight waist, add RT, 6-11

184 #9 Aaron Brooks DEC #6 Abe Assad, 7-3; PSU 17-13

Brooks with a heavy tape (not brace) on right knee

Period One

  • Abe headlock takes Brooks to his back!, but brooks rolls through, and pulls his head free for the reversal
  • No, was called a Brooks TD#1, bc of Brooks crotch-lock apparently that denied Assad full control during the headlock?
  • Review confirms, 2-0
  • Decent ride by Brooks, concedes the escape after about a min, 2-1
  • I may have missed an attack + defense sequence here (still shaking from these epic battles)
  • Brooks in on right leg, but not in great position, big fight
  • Again on the right leg, big lift, and finishes right before clock expiry for TD#2, 4-1

Period Two

  • Assad down
  • Brooks on right elbow, switches to left, hooks left leg
  • Decent ride on left side, Brooks bellies him out!
  • Brooks reaching for far elbow
  • E1 Assad
  • Abe in right ankle, Brooks ankle dives, in superior position, but Abe maintained the first ankle
  • Stalemate, period ends

Period Three

  • Brooks chose down
  • Brooks gets behind, after a moment, earns the reversal, 6-2
  • Quick E1 Abe, 6-3
  • Assad ankle pick attempt, Brooks hides the leg
  • Abe big double leg attempt, but kinda telegraphed it, easy sprawl for nothing
  • Time expires, that was pretty dominant, 2:03 in RT, 7-3

197 #7 Jacob Warner DEC #18 Shakur Rasheed, 4-2; PSU 17-16

Sam Janicki

I rather like Rasheed’s pregame calm face

Period One

  • Warner in on right leg, persistent on the finish, for TD#1
  • Sheed to his feet multiple times, but pretty big mat returns each time by Warner
  • 4th OOB, return to center
  • Another stand, another mat return
  • Another OOB, another return to center
  • Finally, E1, with :45 left
  • Byers noting that Rasheed has struggled to get to his own offense since injury return
  • Gets caught flat footed, but Warner too slow to pounce, they end up, guess where? OOB

Period Two, 1-2

  • Rasheed chose down
  • E1, but 1:41 in RT already for Warner
  • It’s got to be your own O, Rasheed!
  • Shakur showing motion, moving his feet
  • Iowa coaches yelling at the second ref about something
  • Rasheed, you do not want tie-ups, stay the distance, pull the trigger on that shot, pretty please?

Period Three, 0-3

  • Warner down
  • Casey Cunningham tells Rasheed he MUST ride to start the period
  • And yet... a quick E1 Warner, 2-3
  • Rasheed in on right leg, good tight lock, but no finish, to stalemate
  • RT assured, needs TD & Rideout
  • Cael & Casey standing, looking blank, resigned (at about :19 left)
  • Time expires with Rasheed only once taking one (mostly) committed shot, plus RT, 2-4

It’s late and I can’t reasonably decide how much mental gymnastics are necessary for me to see what Casey sees every day in practice—that Rasheed is very, very close to becoming his old, confident self again.

In such situations, I tend to rely on and trust what Coach Cunningham is telling us. Onward and upward, Rasheed!

285 #3 Tony Cassioppi DEC #15 Seth Nevills, 6-0; Iowa 19-17

Sam Janicki

Cass with lots of tape on left leg, and big brace on left wrist

Weigh-in Weights

  • Nevills 263.7
  • Lance 270.9
  • Math: Nevills outweighed by this opponent by 7.2 pounds

Period One

  • Cass in on left leg, but Nevills scramble, comes out on the other side
  • Nevills has leg in the air, very nearly finishes, but Cass himeslf rolls through and gets TD#1
  • Now a big ride
  • Hawk team exhorting the fans, CHA gets louder, they do
  • Quick Stall #1

Period Two, 0-2

  • Nevills chose neutral
  • Byers: Nevills can be tough on top, but he’s gotta get there first
  • BE MORE ATHLETIC!!
  • First Seth has reminded me of Nick
  • Nevills knee tap, but not fooling anyone
  • Dag, that’s the position he wanted, but he couldn’t pull the trigger

Period Three

  • Cass down
  • Quick E1
  • Then quick TD#2, 0-5
  • RT assured, 0-6
  • Stall #1 on Cass, for pushing OOB
  • Stall #2 on Nevills, 0-6

19-17 Iowa is the final.

Coach Casey on the Mic

Head Assistant Coach Casey Cunningham joined PSU radio host Jeff Byers after the dual, and Coach Casey’s mic was broken, making him extremely difficult to hear. After sitting through that bear-maul of a wrestling fight, I feel responsible to put in the effort to transcribe it.

On the performance matching the magnitude of the event: Yeah, that’s for sure. After 197, I looked back at Dan, our Trainer, and said: ‘man, this is a pretty fun dual.’ It was a great environment once again and, for the most part, guys came to battle. And that’s what we ask out of them; we ask them to battle every week, and I think we’re doing that.

On 125 Meredith keeping it to five against Spencer Lee: Yep, yeah. Spencer Lee is a tough opponent. But again, Brandon goes out there and competes for us. He just went out there & fought, I don’t know what else to say, I mean, that guy’s tough.

On 133 RBY (after Byers noting that Byers & Casey heard the injury is not as severe as it looked): Yeah, he’s been looking better every week—pep in his step last week—and he was ready to go tonight, and that sucks that that happened that way! We hate injuries; we know what that feels like. You know, something was said to me back in the tunnel...you know we would never intentionally try to injure somebody, that’s ridiculous, we wouldn’t want that. I feel terrible for the kid, hope he’s ok. He’s a tough kid...and ... we don’t want anybody to get injured, you know...so...

But yeah, Roman... Roman was ready to go, he was excited for the match, too bad it ended the way it did, and hopefully they’ll see each other again.

On 141 & Nick Lee and what Byers called ‘taking it to another level’: Yeah, he’s doing a great job; he’s continuing to try to score points. He’s doin...obviously doin better with his head position and his defense this year. He’s just a ... worker. He does everything we ask him to do, he does it as hard as he can.

He goes to bed when he’s supposed to go to bed. He gets up when he’s supposed to get up—he just does everything he is asked to do.

If you do that? You have no choice but to get better. You have no choice. So, he’s a good example for a lot of our guys to follow, and I’m not saying a lot of the guys aren’t doing the right things, but he does everything to a “t.”

On 149 & 157 and both Verk & Pipher just being what Byers described as: ‘one little thing here or there and...’: Yeah, they wrestled some tough kids out there and ... yeah, they were IN those matches; it wasn’t so far away...they were in those matches. Turn Right instead of Turn Left, maybe, and it’s a different situation and you score and maybe that changes the match. Again, they gave good Effort, and that’s what we ask.

On 165 & Cenzo v Bull (a matchup about which Byers quips: “I could watch those two wrestle every day for the rest of my life”): Those guys scrap every single time that they wrestle. You know... the match didn’t finish the way that Vincenzo wanted to finish, Marinelli got a takedown late, but...again, that’s a growing process. He’s made some adjustments, obviously...with a lot of things in his life (Byers verbally affirms); he’s moving forward and just getting better each week.

On 174 and what Byers describes as “sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other guy”: Yeah, let’s see that match again!

Mark Hall, he’s a professional, a competitor; he’ll figure it out! It’s a match that cost us some points; he almost had points, but he didn’t. We’ll see if he can just make the adjustment and come out on the other side of it.

On 184 & Brooks rebounding from the Nebby loss: He did a good job, I think last week he was disappointed that he...didn’t wrestle like himself? Like, who he wants to be and how he wants to wrestle, and I think...he had it in his mind how he wants to wrestle tonight, with his motion—and I saw that: a lot more motion, and attacks, and that’s what he’s about. If he’s on his offense and he’s moving his feet, he’s really good.

On 197 & Rasheed being right there: I agree, I think it’s comin...it’s comin...it’s just a matter of, when is he ... He’s getting closer to that! Every week in practice, I’m like: ‘he’s gettin closer, gettin closer.’

He’s gettin there.

He had a chance to win that match tonight... he didn’t. But... just keepin his head up, keep workin...he’s not far away.

On 285 & Cass being a beast: He’s a tough kid. And you know... that’s the third dual that came down to Heavyweight.

I think on the van ride over, I was talkin to Seth and the question was asked, you know: ‘do you wanna start the dual or do you wanna end it?’ and he said: ‘I wanna end it.’

And I liked that the match was comin out the way he wanted it to be, so he got what he wanted and...in the match, he didn’t quite get what he wanted. Again, adjustments; he almost has that takedown...if you get that takedown, it’s a different match! And, and, he didn’t.

Some technical things and just a lot of stuff, I think our guys are getting better and we will get better! We have, every single year.

And we’ll continue to do that.

On The Remaining Schedule: Yeah, you have to have a short memory, like they say. Do not dwell on this match tonight. We gotta come back, and we’ve got some good individual matchups on Sunday; there’s some matches, we gotta be ready to go. That’s our next focus and then, obviously it doesn’t get any easier (away vs Wiscy & Minny), and that’ll give us a chance to see where we’re at, too!

We’re not far away. We’re close, we’re close.

Just gotta keep workin.

That’s it from Coach Cunningham, and Byers signs off with a great finish: “what a night of collegiate wrestling here in Iowa City!”

The Takery

In the Nebraska Postview, the first take I wrote was: “Man, this was a battle.”

Little did I know how naive January 24, 2020 Jp was!

In the battle of ‘Man, This Was a Battle!’ declarations, Nebraska Postview just got matwiped.

125: There are ten thousand things you can respect Spencer Lee for, and tonight I added one: his unwavering commitment to strategy. For a man of his considerable domination skills, there are 7 allowable minutes for him to attempt to send 6 points to his team, instead of the 5 his current Tech Fall strategy provides. Dude goes out, gets the takedown, gets the wrist, gets the tilts, gets the 15-point margin, then gets off the mat. If the pin doesn’t immediately present itself, he worries not about the extra effort or time needed to pursue it.

It’s really quite ruthless.

133: Cael said heading into this bout that Roman needed to do two things tonight: stay of Desanto’s positions and go score when the opportunity’s there. At center mat, he moved his feet, mostly stayed out of Desanto’s ties, including briefly employing the speed skater left arm on back technique. So, item #1 gets a check mark.

And when Desanto shot in on a leg and RBY sprawled, an opportunity presented itself, in the form of proximity of Desanto’s Head to Desanto’s Knee. So coached, he recognized said opportunity, leveraged his superior quickness, pounced and locked up a cradle. In so doing, Desanto’s right knee torqued and he was effectively done for the bout.

Beyond it being a shame for Desanto, per se, it was a shame for both RBY & the fans as well. How well would the coaching & new mat strategies have served RBY had the bout continued?

Hopefully we can find out again soon, when Desanto reports healthy to the Big Ten Tourney at Rutgers in March.

141: I missed Nick Lee’s first period, when my laptop stream (Fox Sports dot com streaming BTN using my Verizon cable subscription credentials) crashed, and I scrambled into the living room to use the cable box and the 55” screen. A backup plan that served me well, subbing in for my initial/blogging viewing option, which I guess feels like a decent metaphor for this year’s Penn State team still trying to coach its lineup to present its best self in March.

Nick Lee sure looks like his best self these days.

Fun spin: if you saddle Coach Spencer Lee with his fellow coaches’ team point deduction, Nick won the battle of Lee-earned team points against Spencer.

149: That was fine.

157: Pipher’s doing a great job putting out fight for his team, wrestling up a weight while maintaining his own weight around 150, so he can have a chance to wrestle off Verk if Berge can come back.

So, the fine-ness continued.

165: This was so awesome.

I’d guess the two of them spent over 1/7th the full amount of this bout in a single position: Marinelli with a tight underarm body lock behind Cenzo’s back, and Cenzo squeezing the double-overhooks and locking them in Marinelli’s belly. With their feet, Marinelli was working an outside trip, and Cenzo & his cement hips were looking for the inside trip he used to win two National Championships.

Straight Feats of Strength antics. Beyond the living room—backyard stuff.

Please, fellas...please, please stay healthy, so we can all watch this two more times.

174: This L for Hall doesn’t exceedingly postseason-meaningful, but out of 3 or 4 different choices (133, 165, 197) in tonight’s action, this is my pick for swing match of the dual—the key decider.

Kemerer looked every bit as great at 174 as he did two & three years ago at 157. It was really bizarre to see the normally very positionally sound Hall lose the contested scramble position battles so often. He had more than a few chances to reverse those Kemerer points to his own, and to have quieted the Carver crowd, but tonight it was not to be, and Mark Hall will finish his stellar collegiate career 0-1 in Carver Hawkeye Arena.

184: This was the Aaron Brooks I expected to see vs Nebraska. Like against Taylor Venz in that dual, Brooks appeared noticeably smaller than Assad tonight, but he also looked like Casey said. He kept his feet moving, explored his offensive diversity, and wrestled calmly.

There are few Top-25 guys still on his upcoming docket, but the Top-10 portion of his schedule is behind him until the B1G Tourney. Prospects remain very high here.

197: It’s late and I can’t reasonably decide how much mental gymnastics are necessary for me to see what Casey sees every day in practice—that Rasheed is very, very close to becoming his old, confident self again.

In such situations, I tend to rely on and trust what Coach Cunningham is telling us. Onward and upward, Rasheed!

285: I’m in a similar boat here, perhaps swayed a bit by Casey’s reminder of Nevills failed takedown, which he looked to be 85% of the way to completing, before Cass leaned back into him and took over from there. Most of me wants to believe my lyin eyes and admit that Cassioppi might be a bridge too far for young Nevills this year, but there also remains some hope here. Let’s use these remaining weeks of evaluative opportunity and see what we think next month.

Executive Summary

Aside from the injury and the final team score, I loved everything about this dual meet. It had everything. There were upsets, displays of dominance, slick skills, a tied takedown battle (12 each), and heaps and heaps of physicality.

The 165 bout alone showcased more manhood than most of my dad friends display in a year.

Iowa was favored, but Penn State was capable.

And they almost pulled it off.