USA Wrestling UPDATE: Iowa puts ei...

UPDATE: Iowa puts eight wrestlers into Midlands semifinals to take the first-day lead

By K.J. Pilcher, Special to | Dec. 29, 2018, 10:11 p.m. (ET)

Alex Marinelli of Iowa takes down Jonathan Viruet of Brown in the Midlands quarterfinals. Photo by Mark Lundy, LutteLens

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – University of Iowa hadn’t competed in exactly three weeks.

The second-ranked Hawkeyes battled injuries and illness early in the season and the break couldn’t have come at a better time.

Iowa looked closer to form, advancing eight into the semifinals of Northwestern University’s 56th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Saturday night at the Sears Centre Arena. The Hawkeyes pulled away from the field, tallying 114.5 points and leading second-place University of Northern Iowa by 38.5.

“Any time you have a team that’s beat up you want time and needed the break,” Brands said. “We used the break well.

“I think our guys learned something from some of the carnage. We just have to wrestle harder and work harder when we’re out on the mat.”

Iowa pushed 11 to the quarterfinals, excluding redshirt Tony Cassioppi, who wrestled unattached. The Hawkeyes opened strong with victories in seven of their first eight bouts.

NCAA champion Spencer Lee led the early charge, needing just 2:23 for an 18-0 technical fall over Central Michigan’s eighth-seeded Drew Hildebrandt. Lee followed his takedown with his patented tilt and 16 nearfall points.

“I have to keep moving my hands and feet,” Lee said. “And I’ve got to wrestle the whole time.”

Iowa moved two into the 133 semifinals. Second-seeded Austin DeSanto came as no surprise, rolling through the front side with a pin, technical fall and 13-3 quarterfinal major decision over University of Pennsylvania’s Doug Zapf.

The unexpected rep came in the form of Paul Glynn. Unseeded Glynn fought for four victories, including a 4-0 win over Brown’s Hunter Kosco in the quarterfinals. Kosco reached the quarters when top-seeded and former Ohio State NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello injury defaulted after a large lead in the previous round.

“It sounds so cliché, like I’m just going out having fun, but really that’s when I think I wrestle best.” Glynn said. “You’ve wrestled so many matches in your life. You know what it feels like to win. You know what it feels like to lose, so just going out there with the mentality that I’m going to wrestle every position as hard as I can.”

Interestingly, DeSanto seemed to be an anticipated replacement for Glynn, who was the 133 starter last season and the only Hawkeye not to qualify for the NCAA tournament. They push each other to be better.

“It’s awesome,” Glynn said. “The thing about Austin DeSanto is he is great for me to have around. He’s a great guy. I want to out-do him and he wants to out-do me, but really we’re teammates. We’re warming up together on the side of the mats and giving each other high-fives. That’s what it’s all about.”

Iowa 149-pounder Pat Lugo, an NCAA qualifier in 2017 who placed fourth here a year ago, had a rough start to the season. He resembled his former self, rolling to the semifinals. He used a takedown and four nearfall for a 6-0 lead before Campbell’s fourth-seeded Josh Heil injury defaulted in the quarterfinal.

“It’s definitely the best I’ve felt all season,” Lugo said. “I did things right this time. I think I’m better in a tournament situation than a one-hour dual-meet weigh-in.
“It’s all little adjustments that make the biggest difference.”

Lugo opened with a pin, added a technical fall and two consecutive injury defaults for 7 ½ bonus points to lead Iowa.

“I think just letting things fly (and) flow,” Lugo said. “If I force things I get tired. I get anxiety and end up being a close match. But, if I just let things fly, one shot doesn’t work I go to the next one and the next one and rack up (points on) the scoreboard.”

Second-seeded Max Murin (141), 157-pounder Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli and Cash Wilke also reached the semifinals for Iowa. Marinelli had to fight off a challenge from Brown’s Jonathan Viruet, scoring a takedown with 18 seconds left in sudden victory-1 for an 8-6 decision. Young cruised with three technical falls and a pin.

Iowa has three remaining in consolation with Jeren Glosser (157), Jacob Warner at 197 and heavyweight Aaron Costello, who will likely be the team’s point scorer when top-seed Sam Stoll defaulted from the tournament for precautionary reasons.

“Those are the positives,” Brands said. “We have to build on those and get going tomorrow.”

South Dakota State unattached freshman Tanner Sloan, a prep from Alburnett, Iowa, caused Iowa’s biggest hiccup in the quarters. Sloan broke open the match in the second with fourth-ranked and second-seeded Warner. He scored a reversal and then added 10 nearfall on a few tilts. Sloan added one more tilt in the third for a 19-3 technical fall.

Sloan improved to 17-1 this season. He posted decisions over Fresno State’s 10th-seeded Josh Hokit (5-4) and North Carolina’s No. 7 seed Brandon Whitman (10-3) just to get to Warner.

“He continues to improve,” Jackrabbits Coach Damion Hahn said. “The best thing about Tanner is his perspective and how he approaches competition.

“Some people can be hard workers and extremely tough in the room but when they step out on the mat kind of tighten up, get nervous and wrestle more reserve. Tanner is not only a hard worker and tough as nails in the room but when he steps on the mat it’s like let’s wrestle.”

The Panthers were 6-for-6 in the quarterfinal round, including a win from unseeded and unattached freshman Michael Blockhus. UNI leads Wisconsin, 76-69.

Top-seeds Josh Alber (141) and 184-pounder Drew Foster, No. 2 seed Taylor Lujan at 174, third-seeded Max Thomsen (149) and fourth-seeded 165-pounder Bryce Steiert advanced.

“It’s been a long time coming type of deal,” Foster said. “We’re good. We just have to piece things together. At the end of the year, we’ve got to climb and battle. That is effort in the practice room and that has been really high lately.”

Foster was dominant, opening with a technical fall, a second-period pin and then a 12-2 drubbing of Ohio State’s Gavin Hoffman.

“I feel good,” Foster said. “I’m going for things. I’m trying to get takedowns. I’m trying to get turns on top or riding tough.

“At the end of the day, it’s all in effort. Wins and losses are going to come. Both sides. If the effort is there, guys aren’t going to want to wrestle you again when they feel that effort and that’s something you can be proud of.”

Wisconsin and Arizona State each advanced three to the semifinals. Connor Brown (125), top-seeded Evan Wick at 165 and 184-pounder Mason Reinhardt secured a top-six finish for the Badgers.

Top-seeded NCAA champion Zahid Valencia (174) and third-seeded Josh Shields (165) and heavyweight Tanner Hall moved to the semifinals for the Sun Devils.

Campbell notched its first Midlands medalist. Fourth-seeded Noah Gonser (133) reached the semifinals with a 6-1 victory over No. Zach Sherman.

At 157, unseeded Zach Hartman beat three seeded wrestlers to make the semifinals. Hartman topped Rutgers’ third-seeded John Vanbrill, 7-5, in the quarters.

Unseeded wrestlers in the semifinals are Paul Glynn of Iowa (133), Michael Blockhus of Northern Iowa – unattached (141), Zach Hartman of Bucknell (157), Jackson Hemauer of Fresno State (184) and Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State – unattached (197)

USA Wrestling’s Elite Accelerator Program (EAP) entered two of its athletes who are training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center at 174 pounds. Both are high school graduates who are training for a year in the EAP program prior to going to college.

Aaron Brooks, who has signed with Penn State, came in with a No. 12 seed. He won his first two bouts, including a 12-8 win over No. 5 seed Ben Harvey of Army West Point. In the quarterfinals, he was edged by No. 4 seed Ryan Christensen of Wisconsin. Brooks, a native of Maryland, was a 2017 Cadet World champion and 2018 Junior World silver medalist, will compete in Saturday’s consolation rounds.

DJ Shannon, an Illinois signee, was eliminated with a 1-2 record. He dropped his first bout to No. 11 seed Jairod James of Mount Union, 5-4. After a win in his first consolation bout, he was pinned by Caleb Hopkins of Campbell-unattached. Both Brooks and Shannon are competing for Titan Mercury WC.

The Midlands is being broadcast live on FloWrestling.

At Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Semifinal pairings (with seeds)

125 pounds
No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Pat Glory (Princeton)
No. 6 Connor Brown (Wisconsin) vs. No. 2 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern)

133 pounds
Paul Glynn (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Noah Gonser (Campbell)
No. 3 Dylan Duncan (Illinois) vs. No. 2 Austin Desanto (Iowa)

141 pounds
No. 1 Josh Alber (Northern Iowa) vs. No. 5 Yahya Thomas (Northwestern)
Michael Blockhus (Northern Iowa - UNAT) vs. No. 2 Max Murin (Iowa)

149 pounds
No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) vs. No. 5 Pat Lugo (Iowa)
No. 3 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) vs. No. 2 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan)

157 pounds
No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) vs. No. 5 Eric Barone (Illinois)
Zach Hartman (Bucknell) vs. No. 2 Kaleb Young (Iowa)

165 pounds
No. 1 Evan Wick (Wisconsin) vs. No. 4 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa)
No. 3 Joshua Shields (Arizona State) vs. No. 2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa)

174 pounds
No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. No. 4 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin)
No. 6 Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois) vs. No. 2 Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa)

184 pounds
No. 1 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) vs. Jackson Hemauer (Fresno State)
No. 6 Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin) vs. No. 2 Cash Wilcke (Iowa)

197 pounds
No. 1 Patrick Brucki (Princeton) vs. No. 4 Rocco Caywood (Army West Point)
No. 6 Lucas Davison (Northwestern - UNAT) vs. Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State - UNAT)

285 pounds
No. 8 Conan Jennings (Northwestern) vs. No. 5 Mason Parris (Michigan - UNAT)
No. 3 Tanner Hall (Arizona State - UNAT) vs. No. 2 Jere Heino (Campbell - UNAT)

Quarterfinal results

125 pounds
Spencer Lee (Iowa) won by tech fall over Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan) TF 18-0
Pat Glory (Princeton) won by tech fall over Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) TF 17-1
Connor Brown (Wisconsin) won by decision over Justin Cardani (Illinois - UNAT) Dec 7-0
Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) won by tech fall over Carmen Ferrante (Penn) TF 20-3

133 pounds
Paul Glynn (Iowa) won by decision over Hunter Kosco (Brown) Dec 4-0
Noah Gonser (Campbell) won by decision over Zachary Sherman (North Carolina - UNAT) Dec 6-1
Dylan Duncan (Illinois) won by decision over Colin Valdivez (Northwestern) Dec 9-6
Austin Desanto (Iowa) won by major decision over Doug Zapf (Penn) Maj 13-3

Josh Alber (Northern Iowa) won by decision over Peter Lipari (Rutgers) Dec 6-3
Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) won by decision over Vince Turk (Iowa) Dec 5-4
Michael Blockhus (Northern Iowa - UNAT) won by decision over Joey Gould (Bucknell) Dec 8-3
Max Murin (Iowa) won by decision over Alexander McKenna (Northwestern) Dec 6-1

Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) won by decision over Henry Pohlmeyer (South Dakota State) Dec 5-2
Pat Lugo (Iowa) won by injury default over Joshua Heil (Campbell) Inj. 1:10
Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) won by major decision over Khristian Olivas (Fresno State) Maj 13-2
Alec Pantaleo (Michigan) won by decision over Brayton Lee (Minnesota - UNAT) Dec 3-2

157 pounds
Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) won by decision over Quincy Monday (Princeton) Dec 5-2
Eric Barone (Illinois) won by decision over Mike D`Angelo (Unattached) Dec 10-3
Zach Hartman (Bucknell) won by decision over John Vanbrill (Rutgers - UNAT) Dec 7-5
Kaleb Young (Iowa) won by tech fall over Luke Weiland (Army West Point) TF 15-0

165 pounds
Evan Wick (Wisconsin) won by decision over Jacen Petersen (Arizona State) Dec 7-2
Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) won by major decision over Anthony Valencia (Arizona State - UNAT) Maj 10-1
Joshua Shields (Arizona State) won by tech fall over Joseph Gunther (Illinois) TF 17-2
Alex Marinelli (Iowa) won in sudden victory - 1 over Jonathan Viruet (Brown) SV-1 8-6

174 pounds
Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) won by fall over Willie Scott (Rutgers) Fall 2:48
Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) won by decision over Aaron Brooks (Titan Mercury) Dec 4-0
Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois) won by major decision over Josh Ugalde (Maryland) Maj 13-3
Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa) won by fall over Carver James (Illinois) Fall 5:37

184 pounds
Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) won by major decision over Gavin Hoffman (Ohio State - UNAT) Maj 12-2
Jackson Hemauer (Fresno State) won by decision over Bob Coleman (Oregon State) Dec 4-2
Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin) won by decision over Kevin Parker (Princeton) Dec 4-3
Cash Wilcke (Iowa) won by decision over Cade Belshay (Arizona State - UNAT) Dec 4-1

197 pounds
Patrick Brucki (Princeton) won by decision over Andre Lee (Illinois) Dec 10-5
Rocco Caywood (Army West Point) won by decision over Andrew Davison (Michigan) Dec 3-0
Lucas Davison (Northwestern - UNAT) won by decision over Alex Hopkins (Army West Point) Dec 4-2
Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State - UNAT) won by tech fall over Jacob Warner (Iowa) TF 19-3

285 pounds
Conan Jennings (Northwestern) won by medical forfeit over Sam Stoll (Iowa) MFF
Mason Parris (Michigan - UNAT) won by decision over Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) Dec 9-6
Tanner Hall (Arizona State - UNAT) won by injury default over Matt Stencel (Central Michigan) Inj. 0:49
Jere Heino (Campbell - UNAT) won by major decision over Tony Cassioppi (Iowa - UNAT) Maj 11-3

EAP wrestlers performances

174 pounds – No. 12 seed Aaron Brooks, Hagerstown, Md. (Titan Mercury)
WIN Kyle Peisker (U of Chicago), maj. dec. 20-6
WIN No. 5 seed Ben Harvey (Army West Point), 12-8
LOSS No. 4 seed Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin), 4-0

174 pounds – unseeded DJ Shannon, East St. Louis, Ill. (Titan Mercury)
LOSS No. 11 seed Jairod James (Mount Union), 5-4
WIN Jake Lowell (Central Michigan), 11-8
LOSS Caleb Hopkins (Unattached/Campbell), 5:55

Team Standings
1 Iowa 114.5
2 Northern Iowa 76.0
3 Wisconsin 69.0
4 Northwestern 68.5
5 Princeton 62.0
6 Army West Point 52.0
7 Arizona State 50.0
8 Illinois 47.5
9 Northern Illinois 38.5
10 Campbell 38.0
11 Fresno State 34.0
12 Central Michigan 32.5
13 Maryland 28.5
14 Penn 28.0
15 Bucknell 24.5
16 Arizona State - UNAT 24.0
17 Brown 24.0
18 Campbell - UNAT 23.0
19 Michigan - UNAT 21.0
20 Northern Iowa - UNAT 21.0
21 Purdue 21.0