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Iowa puts six in the Big Ten Championship finals, Penn State close behind with four finalists

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Feature photo of Jaydin Eierman courtesy of Sam Janicki.

State College, Pa. – The Iowa Hawkeyes made substantial progress towards their goal of repeating as Big Ten Conference champions, winning six of their eight semifinal matches in tonight’s session. However, Penn State remains within striking distance and moved into second place in the team standings after going four-for-four in the semifinal round. Iowa also has three wrestlers in the consolation semifinals, while Penn State still has five wrestlers competing in the consolation bracket.

Leading the way for Iowa was two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee at 125 pounds. Lee earned a pin over Michigan State’s 2019 All-American Rayvon Foley in a mere 24 seconds, to set the tone for the round. In tomorrow’s finals, he will face Purdue’s Devin Schroder in a rematch of the 2020 Big Ten finals. Schroder came in as the No. 7 seed and knocked off the No. 2 seed Liam Cronin of Indiana and the No. 3 seed Malik Heinselman of Ohio State in consecutive matches to punch his ticket to the finals.

At 133 pounds, Austin DeSanto picked up a 5-4 decision over Illinois freshman Lucas Byrd to keep the momentum rolling for the Hawkeyes. On the other side of the bracket, Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young bested Northwestern freshman Chris Cannon, 8-4. DeSanto and Bravo-Young have wrestled four times in college, with DeSanto winning both of their bouts in the 2019 NCAA season and Bravo-Young winning both times during the 2020 season.

Jaydin Eierman closed out Iowa’s light-weight murderers row with a strong, 7-1, decision over Nebraska’s Chad Red at 141 pounds. Eierman is currently ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll, while Red is slotted at No. 5. Coaches poll No. 2 Nick Lee of Penn State and No. 3 Sebastian Rivera Rutgers had a barnburner match that came down to sudden victory. Lee prevailed, coming out on top of a scramble to claim the victory, 8-6. Eierman and Lee have only wrestled once in college, with Eierman coming out on top, 12-4, at the 2018 NCAA Tournament. However, Lee does own a freestyle victory over Eierman from the 2019 Senior Nationals.

Nebraska’s Ridge Lovett continued his run through the bracket with a 2-1 win in ride-outs over Minnesota’s Michael Blockhus. Lovett, who finished seventh at 133 pounds at last year’s Big Ten Championships, will see Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the country, in the 149 pound finals. Sasso turned in a workmanlike, 5-0, victory over Michigan’s Kanen Storr to secure a spot in the finals

70 kg Men’s Freestyle National Team member Ryan Deakin of Northwestern earned a dominant, 14-1, win over Purdue’s Kendall Coleman in the 157 pound semifinal. Iowa’s Kaleb Young emerged from the other side of the bracket, with a nail-biting, 3-2, victory in ride-outs over Minnesota’s Brayton Lee. Young defeated Lee, 4-3, in ride-outs earlier this season as well.

Iowa’s Alex Marinelli advanced to the finals at 165 pounds, keeping his hope of winning his third-straight Big Ten title alive. Marinelli defeated Michigan’s Cameron Amine, 2-0 in the semifinals. Ohio State’s Ethan Smith will look to end Marinelli’s streak. Smith defeated Nebraska’s Peyton Robb, 7-5, in sudden victory to advance to the finals.

Michael Kemerer was Iowa’s sixth and final wrestler to make the finals. Kemerer downed Michigan’s Logan Massa, 4-2, in the 174 pound semifinals. Penn State’s Carter Starocci continued his excellent freshman campaign with a, 3-1, sudden victory win over Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the bottom half of the bracket.

At 184 pounds, Penn State’s Aaron Brooks controlled Rutgers’s freshman John Poznanski in a 10-2 major decision. Tomorrow, Brooks will look to claim his second Big Ten title in as many attempts. In the finals, he will see the only wrestler to beat him while representing Penn State, Nebraska’s Taylor Venz. Brooks and Venz split matches last season, with Venz earning a 9-5 decision in the dual meet and Brooks avenging the loss in the Big Ten semifinals with a pin. Venz, who came in as the No. 6 seed, defeated Wisconsin’s Chris Weiler, 10-3, in the semifinals.

The 197 pounds final features a showdown between the top ranked wrestlers in the country, Nebraska’s Eric Schultz and Michigan’s Myles Amine. Both wrestlers had close semifinal matches, with Schultz earning a 2-1 victory over Michigan State’s Cameron Caffey and Amine claiming a 3-1 sudden victory win over Iowa’s Jacob Warner.

While tomorrow’s finals are packed with fantastic matchups, the most anticipated bout of perhaps the entire season will take place at heavyweight when Minnesota’s Gable Steveson collides with Michigan’s Mason Parris. This is a rematch of last year’s Big Ten finals, which Steveson won, 8-6.Both wrestlers have earned bonus point victories in all their matches this year. Steveson is a two-time Cadet World Champion and a 2017 Junior World champion. He is currently No. 2 on the Men’s Freestyle National Team at 125 kg. Parris is a 2019 Junior World champion. In the semifinals, Parris pinned the No. 3 wrestler in the country Iowa’s Anthony Cassioppi in 58 seconds. Steveson was awarded an injury default over Nebraska’s Christian Lance.

Tomorrow’s finals and third and fifth-place matches take place at 4:00 p.m. EST and will be televised on the Big Ten Network, while the consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches start at 12:00 p.m.

2021 Big Ten Championships team standings

1. Iowa - 126.5
2. Penn State - 111.5
3.Nebraska - 88.0
4. Michigan - 76.0
5. Purdue - 67.0
6. Northwestern - 63.5
7. Ohio State - 63.0
8. Minnesota - 62.5
9. Michigan State - 61.0
10. Rutgers - 35.0
11. Illinois - 25.5
12. Wisconsin - 23.5
13. Indiana - 22.0
14. Maryland - 2.0

Big Ten Championships finalists by team
Iowa (6)
Penn State (4)
Nebraska (3)
Michigan (2)
Ohio State (2)
Minnesota (1)
Northwestern (1)
Purdue (1)

Finals matchups
125: Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. Devin Schroder (Purdue)
133: Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) vs. Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
141: No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. Nick Lee (Penn State)
149: Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. Ridge Lovett (Nebraska)
157: Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) vs. Kaleb Young (Iowa)
165: Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs. Ethan Smith (Ohio State)
174: Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. Carter Starocci (Penn State)
184: Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. Taylor Venz (Nebraska)
197: Eric Schultz (Nebraska) vs. Myles Amine (Michigan)
285: Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. Mason Parris (Michigan)

Semifinals results

No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) FALL No. 5 Rayvon Foley (Michigan State), :24
No. 7 Devin Schroder (Purdue) MD No. 3 Malik Heinselman (Ohio State), 10-0

No. 1 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC No. 4 Chris Cannon (Northwestern), 8-3
No. 2 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) DEC No. 3 Lucas Byrd (Illinois), 5-4

No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) DEC No. 4 Chad Red (Nebraska), 7-1
No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) DEC No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers), 8-6 (SV1)

No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) DEC No. 5 Kanen Storr (Michigan), 5-0
No. 7 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska) DEC No. 6 Michael Blockhus (Minnesota), 2-1 (TB1)

No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) MD No. 4 Kendall Coleman (Purdue), 14-1
No. 2 Kaleb Young (Iowa) DEC No. 3 Brayton Lee (Minnesota), 3-2 (TB2)

No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) DEC No. 4 Cameron Amine (Michigan), 2-0
No. 3 Ethan Smith (Ohio State) DEC No. 7 Peyton Robb (Nebraska), 5-3 (SV1)

No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) DEC No. 4 Logan Massa (Michigan), 4-2
No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) DEC No. 2 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska), 3-1 (SV1)

No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) MD No. 5 John Poznanski (Rutgers), 10-2
No. 6 Taylor Venz (Nebraska) DEC 2 Chris Weiler (Wisconsin), 10-3

No. 1 Eric Schultz (Nebraska) DEC No. 4 Cameron Caffey (Michigan State), 2-1
No. 2 Myles Amine (Michigan) DEC No. 3 Jacob Warner (Iowa), 3-1 (SV1)

No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) DEF No. 5 Christian Lance (Nebraska), INJ
No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) FALL No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa), :58

Quarterfinal Results

Spencer Lee (Iowa) TF Dylan Ragusin (Michigan), 19-4
Rayvon Foley (Michigan State)TF Dylan Shawver (Rutgers), 20-4
Malik Heinselman (Ohio State)DEC Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), 3-2
Devin Schroder (Purdue) DEC Liam Cronin (Nebraska), 3-1 (SV1)

Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC Jacob Rundell (Purdue), 9-3
Chris Cannon (Northwestern) MD Kyle Lugis (Indiana), 19-6
Lucas Byrd (Illinois) DEC Boo Dryden (Minnesota), 12-5
Austin DeSanto (Iowa) Tucker Sjomeling (Nebraska)

Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) FALL Parker Filius (Purdue), 3:59
Chad Red (Nebraska) MD Dylan Duncan (Illinois), 12-3
Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) DEC Cayden Rooks (Indiana), 6-1
Nick Lee (Penn State) TF Dylan D'Emilio (Ohio State), 17-1

Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) MD Peyton Omania (Michigan State), 9-1
Kanen Storr (Michigan) DEC Yahya Thomas (Northwestern), 4-3 (2-OT)
Michael Blockhus (Minnesota) DEC Griffin Parriott (Purdue), 4-1
Ridge Lovett (Nebraska) DEC Max Murin (Iowa), 11-6

Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) MD Elijah Cleary (Ohio State), 8-0
Kendall Coleman (Purdue) DEC Brady Berge (Penn State), 3-2
Brayton Lee (Minnesota) DEC Will Lewan (Michigan), 8-3
Kaleb Young (Iowa) DEC Chase Saldate (Michigan State), 4-0

Alex Marinelli (Iowa) DEC Gerrit Nijenhuis (Purdue), 8-2
Cameron Amine (Michigan) DEC Andrew Sparks (Minnesota), 5-2
Ethan Smith (Ohio State) MD Jonathan Spadafora (Maryland), 15-6
Peyton Robb (Nebraska) DEC Danny Braunagel (Illinois), 9-5

Michael Kemerer (Iowa) FALL Jared Krattinger (Wisconsin), 1:30
Logan Massa (Michigan) DEC Donnell Washington (Indiana), 9-3
Carter Starocci (Penn State) DEC Kaleb Romero (Ohio State), 2-0
Mikey Labriola (Nebraska) DEC Jackson Turley (Rutgers), 11-0

Aaron Brooks (Penn State) DEC Nelson Brands (Iowa), 14-8
John Poznanski (Rutgers) FALL Owen Webster (Minnesota), 4:55
Taylor Venz (Nebraska) DEC Layne Malczewski (Michigan State), 13-6
Christopher Weiler (Wisconsin) DEC Max Lyon (Purdue), 9-4

Eric Schultz (Nebraska) DEC Gavin Hoffman (Ohio State), 2-0
Cam Caffey (Michigan State) DEC Lucas Davison (Northwestern), 6-5
Jacob Warner (Iowa) DEC Thomas Penola (Purdue), 4-0
Myles Amine (Michigan) DEC Michael Beard (Penn State), 8-6 (SV1)

Gable Steveson (Minnesota) TF Tate Orndorff (Ohio State), 19-4
Christian Lance (Nebraska) DEC Luke Luffman (Indiana), 3-1 (SV1)
Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) MD Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), 9-1
Mason Parris (Michigan) Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), 11-3