2021 Big Ten wrestling championship schedule and how to watch
The entire Big Ten Tournament will be live from Penn State on the Big Ten Network.
|Sat., March 6||Session I (First Round, Quarterfinals)
Session II (Semifinals, Wrestlebacks)
|Sun., March 7||Session III (Consolation Semifinals, 7th-Place Matches)
Session IV (Finals)
For tournament pre-seeds, click here.
These are the returning Big Ten champions in 2021
Each weight will be stacked with athletes from across the conference who could compete for Big Ten titles, but these are the guys who have run through the conference brackets successfully in the past and will look to be repeat champs.
125 Pounds: Spencer Lee, Iowa
After winning his first Big Ten title in 2020, Spencer Lee is back and better than ever. The two-time NCAA champion has dominated all of his opponents this year in the first period, recording a pin against each competitor in less than three minutes. The Iowa senior continues to be a leader for his team and will play a key role in the Hawkeyes' quest to defend their conference championship from 2020. Lee will undoubtedly roll into this tournament as the favorite, and the question will just be whether or not he's challenged at all in his fourth appearance at the Big Ten tournament.
141 pounds: Sebastian Rivera, Rutgers
Sebastian Rivera is Mr. Big Ten Tournament. The Rutgers graduate student won his first conference title in 2019 after beating none other than Spencer Lee in the 125-pound finals. He went on to take third in the NCAA tournament that year before bumping up to 133 pounds the following year. In 2020, Rivera faced a stacked 133-pound bracket that included NCAA champion Seth Gross and All-Americans Roman Bravo-Young and Austin DeSanto, but Rivera once again prevailed. He beat Gross in the semifinals before taking down Bravo-Young in the finals to claim his second crown at a second weight. This year, up at 141 pounds, Rivera will look to win again, but this time he'll have another loaded bracket that includes All-Americans Jaydin Eierman and Nick Lee. Can he win three titles at three different weights?
157 pounds: Ryan Deakin, Northwestern
Northwestern's Ryan Deakin's Big Ten tournament win against Purdue's Kendall Coleman capped off his dominant junior season, and while Deakin was expecting to build on that momentum at the NCAA tournament before the cancellation, he's picked up this year right where he left off. He's now 3-0 with his most impressive victory being his recent major decision against No. 6 Brayton Lee. Though Deakin has not been tested as much in 2021 as he was in 2020, he'll be a favorite to challenge for a repeat title. His biggest threat will be Iowa's Kaleb Young, who has been having a strong, undefeated season, though Young needed extra time to take down Lee, and Deakin separated himself from the common opponent almost immediately. The Big Ten tournament will be a chance for Deakin to show off his skills and demonstrate whether or not he's as superior in his weight class as he's expected to be.
165 pounds: Alex Marinelli, Iowa
Like Sebastian Rivera, Alex Marinelli has been a king of the Big Ten tournament over the last several seasons. In both 2019 and 2020, Marinelli beat Penn State's Vincenzo Joseph in the championship match, earning the top seed for the NCAA tournament. This year, with Joseph graduated, Marinelli will be an even bigger favorite and will be expected to defend his crown once again. Marinelli has wrestled just two matches so far this year, winning both in convincing decision fashion 8-4 and 7-3. Without four matches on his resume, Marinelli will need to wrestle all of his matches at the tournament or win the Big Ten tournament to earn his spot in the NCAA tournament, but he's accomplished that goal twice in the last two years.
184 pounds: Aaron Brooks, Penn State
Despite only being a sophomore, Aaron Brooks has been an anchor in the 2021 Penn State lineup, posting an undefeated 5-0 record with 80% bonus. He's someone that head coach Cael Sanderson and Co. have been to count on in duals and tournaments to show up and wrestle with the Penn State style of dominance in every match. The Nittany Lion NWCA All-American finished his freshman year last year with just one loss, which he avenged at the Big Ten tournament on his way to his first conference title. He's strong, he's skilled and he's ready to make same noise at this same tournament again. Brooks will be the No. 1 seed at the weight, while the athletes behind him have swapped wins all season. The closest match Brooks has had was a 10-5 win over Jaden Bullock, but even in that match when Bullock scrambled and attempted to challenge the Nittany Lion, Brooks stayed in control. Expect Brooks to make some noise in his weight and put up big points in his chase for a second title this year.
285 pounds: Gable Steveson, Minnesota
Gable Steveson has solidified himself as the most dangerous heavyweight in the country so far this season, but there's one guy who Steveson hasn't seen yet in 2021 who might have something to say about that title. Michigan's Mason Parris has had an outstanding season of his own, posting a 6-0 record with 100% bonus rate, just three wins shy of matching Steveson's 9-0 record with 100% bonus. Both men have been absolutely impressive, but Steveson has the edge going into the Big Ten tournament given the 1-0 record that he holds against Parris after his win in last year's tournament. Steveson has hinted that this will be his last year of college wrestling, and if that's the case, he'll absolutely want to go out with fireworks by defending his Big Ten title and dominating his way through the heavyweight bracket at the 2021 NCAA wrestling tournament.
Individual Big Ten Tournament Records
Most Consecutive Falls: 7 - Dave Porter, Michigan (1966-67-68)
Fastest Fall (in seconds) - 16 Robert Kokesh, Nebraska over Taylor Massa, Michigan 2015 (174 quarterfinals)
Fastest Fall (in seconds) - Championship Match: 43 - Mike Potts, Michigan State over Al Jenson, Minnesota 1984 (Heavyweight)
A complete list of Big Ten championship records can be found in a .PDF here.
2021 Big Ten wrestling standings
These are the big moments from the 2021 dual season
Opening weekend: Defending Big Ten champions Sebastian Rivera and Gable Steveson kicked off their 2021 season with dominating victories. Read more about those performances and more here.
First dual for the Hawks: Iowa opens its season with a statement win over Nebraska while Illinois tops Ohio State in a conference upset. Relive the best moments of the week here.
Shakeups in Week 3 of Big Ten action: Ohio State beats Rutgers after heroics at heavyweight, and Eric Barnett shakes up the 125-pound rankings with a pin over Devin Schroder. Here are complete recaps of the duals from the week.
Return of Penn State: Iowa's domination continues, and Penn State makes its return to the mat. Here's what you missed from this week of college wrestling.
Spencer Lee picks up his fourth pin: Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota and Nebraska notch victories as the top teams in the Big Ten separate themselves. More individual results and dual highlights can be found here.
With Iowa on hold, Penn State makes a statement: Could Penn State challenge Iowa? The Hawks have a dominant squad, but the Nittany Lions looked to be in championship form against Ohio State and Michigan. Read more about the defending NCAA champions and their 2021 title quest here.
Big Ten wrestling championship history