In a battle between two legendary programs in a famous arena, the Iowa Hawkeyes stormed past the winningest college wrestling team in history to notch their 13th win of the year and end the season undefeated in front of over 12,000 fans.
The Hawkeyes controlled the match early on as they built off the momentum of junior leader Spencer Lee's major decision over the competitive Nick Piccininni. After being pinned by the Cowboy foe last year, Lee came out firing in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this year and wrestled in control for seven minutes to pick up the 12-3 win. His powerhouse, 133-pound teammate posted a first-period pin, as did 149-pound All-American Pat Lugo. Max Murin, Michael Kemerer and Tony Cassioppi added bonus points with a major decisions while Alex Marinelli and Jacob Warner notched decisions.
Despite losses at the 157 and 184-pound weight classes, the Hawkeyes showed off their talents against a strong, top-10 opponent and proved they are very much the title favorites heading into March.
Here's a full breakdown of each match including play-by-play, results and analysis.
TEAM SCORE: IOWA 34, OKLAHOMA STATE 6
285 pounds: Tony Cassioppi vs. Austin Harris
Iowa's redshirt freshman wasted no time as he picked up an easy two points and started his ride, looking for a tilt. He wanted the pin, and he made that clear.
After a stalemate, Tony Cassioppi continued to ride, moving around Harris' body and looking for his move. He had over two minutes of riding time as the time left in the period ticked down. Harris picked up the escape, and Cassioppi used the opportunity in neutral to take Harris down again for the 4-1 lead. Another shot by Cassioppi brought his lead to 6-1 to start the second period. The Hawkeye continued to ride — that was the story of the match for the heavyweight. Cassioppi put himself in good position to fight for a fall to end the second period, but he ran out of time. He started the third period on the bottom, holding a 7-1 lead with riding time secured.
Harris rode Cassioppi tough to start the third, but Cassioppi picked up a reversal for the 9-1 lead with a minute to go. Cassioppi continued to work on top, but he couldn't quite get the fall.
Iowa took the final win of the night 11-1 from Tony Cassioppi!
197 pounds: Jacob Warner vs. Dakota Geer
"Fat Bottom Girls" echoed through Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Warner took the mat looking for a ranked win and picked up an early takedown. Warner rode Geer strong, holding control. Geer then picked up the escape after the first 1:15 to make the score 2-1. Both guys looked aggressive with Geer handfighting much lower to the ground but Warner exhibiting patience and strength to keep the match under his pace. The first period ended with Warner ahead 2-1. Geer took the escape and tied up the match 2-2 with one minute to go in the first period.
Geer went for an ankle, but Warner's reflexes were too much, and he spun around for a fast finish to take a 4-2 lead with :15 left in the second period. The Hawkeye also had nearly two minutes of riding time. Warner brought his riding time over two minutes by staying on top to finish out the period, and an early escape in the third gave him a 5-2 lead. But I can't type fast enough to keep up with Warner! Just as fast he picked up the escape, he capitalized for another two-point takedown for the 7-2 lead. An escape from Geer makes the score 7-3, though riding time is already secured for Warner. This was a performance against an All-American that Warner can feel good about as he ran off the mat a winner.
Warner took the decision 7-4 for three more Iowa team points!
184 pounds: Nelson Brands vs. Anthony Montalvo
Well that was unexpected, but Iowa started the year with Brands, and it looks like the Hawks will end the dual season with the redshirt freshman as well. Brands gave up two off a Montalvo takedown, but Brands fought in that period and drove the action. Montalvo picked up the escape, but Brands kept shooting. While the Hawkeye freshman stayed strong, it's Montalvo that keeps scoring. He notched another takedown to finish out the second period ahead 5-0.
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Brands chose bottom to start the third, but he's struggling looking for the escape as Montalvo continues to rack up riding time. With less than 90 seconds left, Brands picked up the escape and sends the crowd roaring. He trailed 5-1 though his Cowboy foe still has 1:25 of riding time. One minute left and Montalvo added a third takedown. Riding time was secured.
Montalvo looked for the major but couldn't quite find it. He took this one 8-2 to give the Cowboys three more points.
174 pounds: Michael Kemerer vs. Joe Smith
Michael Kemerer took an early shot, and while Joe Smith did put up a fight, Kemerer was able to bring him down to the mat and notch the two points. After riding out nearly the entire period, Kemerer started on top in the second period as Smith chose down to earn the early escape point. Kemerer had nearly 2:30 of riding time, and another shot turned into a takedown will give Kemerer the 4-1 lead and more riding time.
Holding his own with Michael Kemerer would be a comeback story for Joe Smith, but the match was not going his way. A second stall call gave Kemerer the 5-1 lead as the second period comes to a close. The two-time All-American Cowboy had been under two-time All-American Kemerer's control for nearly the entire first five minutes, and time is running out for Smith to make his move.
That's two for Kemerer after his escape to give him the 8-1 lead, but Smith isn't quitting. He notched an escape only to be taken down again by Kemerer. The Hawkeye led 10-2 with 30 seconds left. Kemerer picked up another point after stalling is called again against Smith, so with riding time the Hawkeye took the bout 12-8.
That's a major decision at 174 pounds for Iowa!
165 pounds: Alex Marinelli vs. Travis Wittlake
We're back and back with a ranked matchup! Alex Marinelli has only lost once in Carver-Hawkeye in his entire career, and that loss came against a two-time national champion. No points in the first 90 seconds. Wittlake chooses down to start the second and picks up an early escape for the first points of the bout.
This match has not brought the mat action that we've seen from the other five, but these guys are wrestling tough, strategic wrestling. Marinelli earns an escape to start the third, and we're all tied up 1-1.
Takedown Marinelli! After several shot attempts, he ultimately overcomes Wittlake's tough defense and picks up two points in the final minute of the match. That took patience and persistence, but Marinelli found a way. Wittlake picks up the escape, but the Cowboy ran out of time.
Marinelli takes the bout 3-2 in a nail-bitter!
157 pounds: Kaleb Young vs. Wyatt Sheets
Kaleb Young will be looking to build on the momentum set by his teammates, but we're scoreless after the first 90 seconds. Young picks up the first points of the dual off a single-leg sweep. Sheets notches the escape, and it's 2-1 after two minutes of action. Young went for another shot, but Sheets turned it into a dangerous move that nearly put Young on his back upside down. No points for Oklahoma State there, but Oklahoma State John Smith challenges for the takedown. Young's defensive saved him from what could have turned into a fall if he wasn't careful. Call on the mat stands, but Sheets earns a reversal after starting the period on the bottom. Young looking for the escape, but Sheets is riding tough. This is the closest match we have seen so far tonight. Sheets rides out the period to lead 3-2 and over a minute of riding time. Young chooses neutral to start the third. The Hawkeye All-American needs a takedown. A shot from Young, but Sheets counters and adds a takedown of his own. Young is wrestling tired, but he stays tough and earns a takedown. Sheets has the escape, and he leads 6-4 and has over a minute of riding time. Young takes a shot and works to finish.
Sheets counters once against and earns a 9-4 decision. The Cowboys are on the board!
149 pounds: Pat Lugo vs. Boo Lewallen
This is a big one, folks. After two minutes of scoreless action, it's Lugo with an underhook and a FALL! The senior ends his Carver-Hawkeye career in the biggest way possible. He will finish the regular season as the No. 2 wrestler at 149 pounds. That's the second first period fall of the night!
Lugo with the FALL against #6 Boo Lewallen!— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 24, 2020
Cowboys: 0 pic.twitter.com/MU4M5RGsHA
141 pounds: Max Murin vs. Dusty Hone
Max Murin comes out firing and picks up a quick two-point takedown to set the pace. Hone earns the escape, and it's 2-1 after 45 seconds. Murin is wrestling just like Lee and DeSanto, he's shooting often and finishing his moves. He adds another takedown, while Hone adds a second escape. It's 4-2 with 30 seconds to go in the first period. Hone chooses down to start the period and makes the score 4-3 with an escape, but Murin adds another takedown to make the score 6-3. Another escape for Hone as he brings the score to 6-4, but Murin doesn't need much longer to add a fourth takedown. This has been all Iowa for the first two matches and two periods. Murin has nearly two minutes of riding time and again, wrestling in complete control. That's back points for Murin too! He locked up a cradle and now leads 14-4 — this could be Iowa's third consecutive bonus point match against the No. 9 Cowboys. One minute remains in the third period.
Thirty seconds left and Murin continues to ride. Ten seconds. Five seconds.
Murin never stopped fighting, even looking for back points in the last second but finishing the match with a 15-4 major decision.
133 pounds: Austin DeSanto vs. Reece Witcraft
Austin DeSanto is on 🔥! The Hawkeye All-American took control early and fought tough for the early fall. He fills highlight reels every time he steps on the mat! pic.twitter.com/SrHuhJIDlW— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) February 24, 2020
DeSanto is following Spencer Lee's lead as he picks up a takedown and back points to take an early 6-0 lead. Witcraft picks up an escape, but it's been DeSanto's pace. That's another takedown for the Hawkeye, and he leads 8-1 with one minute left in the first period. Back points, back points, back points! Desanto with a huge move for near fall points and then A PIN! Hawks lead 10-0 after two bouts!
125 pounds: Spencer Lee vs. Nick Piccininni
Nick Piccininni takes the first shot, and we are rolling at 125 pounds. The men head back to the middle after a stalemate, and Lee responds with a shot of his own for the first two. He's looking cool, calm and collected out there in Carver. The two-time champ is wrestling like a veteran in the first period and looking for a tilt as he racks up riding time.
Lee is doing to Piccininni what he's been doing to everyone this year...that's a four-point nearfall for the Hawkeye. Lee was called for stalling, but he has owned this period, leading 6-0. Piccininni fought for the escape but couldn't quite earn it. Lee rode him out for the period with over two minutes of riding time.
Piccininni picks bottom to start the second. Lee continues to ride him, looking for a (stop me if you've heard this before) tilt. Piccininni is warned for stalling. Lee does not want him to get an escape, but he's not wrestling defensively. He's attacking and picks up two more points on the edge of the mat. Piccininni picks up the escape with ten seconds left in the period. The score is now 8-1, so we know Lee will be looking for the major as he chooses down to start the third period. Piccininni is riding tough, but picks up a five-count beneath the hips for a second stall call. That's a point for Lee, and he leads 9-1. Lee makes that 10-1 with an escape. Piccininni earns a takedown, Lee gets the escape. It's 11-3 with ten seconds to go.
Lee picks up the riding time point and earns as 12-3 major decision, though he doesn't look satisfied.