PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With three champions and eight wrestlers finishing fourth or better, the University of Iowa wrestling team captured its 36th overall and first Big Ten wrestling championship since 2010 Sunday at Rutgers University.
Alex Marinelli won his second consecutive 165-pound title beating Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph, 3-2, while Spencer Lee at 125 and Pat Lugo at 149 became first-time Big Ten individual champions.
“Job well done. We are not downplaying this,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “The reason why it does get downplayed is there is another important event. It’s cliché’ but we have to get ready and there is work to do. But we definitely give ourselves credit. You don’t see what is behind the scenes. We appreciate a job well done, and that was a job well done and it was a battle.”
Lee, the two-time defending national champion, led Purdue’s Devin Schroder, 6-1, after two periods, but blew the match open in the third with 10 points winning by a major, 16-2.
“I just have to keep scoring points and maybe work on my offense a little more,” Lee said. There are things to improve on.”
Lugo scored a takedown with 1 minute and 9 seconds left at 149 to avenge his only regular-season loss with a 2-1 win over Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso.
“I just grinded my teeth and got down,” Lugo said. “I got to where I was good. If I’m in my ties I’m the best in the world, not just the country, best in the world. That’s how much my confidence has grown since last year.
“Just being around guys like Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer. That winning is contagious, that confidence is contagious. It’s just like catching the flu you hang out with guys that have the flu and you’re going to catch the flu. If you hang out with guys that’s winning you’re going to start winning.”
Marinelli beat Joseph in the final for the second consecutive season, scoring the winning take down with 10 seconds left.
“When the moment came, I attacked on it,” Marinelli said.
Lee was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, and Brands the Coach of the Year. It is the fourth time Brands has won it, more than any other coach in school history.
Nine Hawkeyes have automatically qualified for the NCAA champions in Minneapolis March 19-21.
Kemerer finished second at 174, Jacob Warner and Tony Cassioppi were third at 197 and heavyweight, while Austin DeSanto and Abe Assad were fourth at 133 and 184.
Max Murin took fifth at 141. Kaleb Young at 157 will be eligible for a wild card berth.
Team standings – 1. Iowa 157.5, 2. Nebraska 132, 3. Ohio State 112, 4. Penn State 107, 5. Purdue 83, 6. Northwestern 79.5, 7. Michigan 73, 8. Minnesota 63.4, 9. Wisconsin 62.5, 10. Michigan State 57, 11. Illinois 49, 12. Rutges 25.5, 13, Indiana 14.5, 14. Maryland 0.0.
125 – Spencer Lee (Iowa) dec. Devin Schroder (Purdue), 16-2.
133 – Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) dec. Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State), 7-2.
141 – Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) dec. Nick Lee (Penn State), 6-5
149 – Page Lugo (Iowa) dec. Sammy Sasso (Ohio State), 2-1.
157 – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) dec. Kendall Coleman (Purdue), 7-2.
165 – Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State), 3-2.
174 – Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 8-5.
184 – Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. Cameron Caffey (Michigan State), 3-2.
197 – Kollin Moore (Ohio State) dec. Eric Schultz (Nebraska), 4-1.
Hwt. – Gable Steveson (Minnesota) dec. Mason Parris (Michigan), 8-6.
133 – Seth Gross (Wisconsin) dec. Austin DeSAnto, 6-3.
184 – Taylor Venz (Nebraska) dec. Abe Assad, 6-4.