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Iowa repeats as Big Ten champions, claiming four individual titles

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Feature photo courtesy of Sam Janicki.

State College, Pa. The Iowa Hawkeyes went four-for-six in the Big Ten Championship finals, locking up their second-straight Big Ten team title. It is their 37th in program history. Iowa head Coach Tom Brands was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.

Lee opened things up for Iowa with a title at 125 pounds, putting on a clinic in his 21-3 technical fall victory over Purdue’s Devin Schroder. Last season, Lee defeated Schroder in the Big Ten finals, 16-2.

Jaydin Eierman claimed the next title for the Hawkeyes at 141 pounds. The Missouri transfer downed No. 2 ranked Nick Lee of Penn State, 6-5. Eierman scored the first takedown and rode Lee for the duration of the period, racking up riding time. Lee managed to score on two takedowns of his own, however Eierman’s riding time point proved to be the difference in the match.

Iowa’s Alex Marinelli earned his third-straight Big Ten title with a win over Ohio State’s Ethan Smith, 3-2, at 165 pounds. Marinelli scored the only takedown in the match midway through the second period.

Michael Kemerer followed up Marinelli at 174 pounds with a dominant, 7-2 victory over Penn State’s Carter Starocci. The match’s pivotal sequence took place in the second period, when Kemerer took Starocci to his back for a takedown and two nearfall points. While Starocci didn’t come away with a title, he was named the Big Ten Rookie of the Year.

At 285 pounds Minnesota’s Gable Steveson made a statement, turning in a commanding, 12-4, major decision over Michigan’s Mason Parris. Steveson and Parris are the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers in the country, and prior to this meeting, earned bonus points in all their bouts this year. Steveson scored five takedowns in the match, and the only points he conceded were escapes. For his performance, Steveson was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin earned his second-straight Big Ten Title at 157 pounds. In the finals, he defeated Iowa’s Kaleb Young, 6-0, racking up over three minutes of riding time. Deakin is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the country, and hasn’t lost a match since the 2019 NCAA Tournament, where he fell to Young in sudden victory, 8-6, in the fifth-place match.

Host Penn State finished runner-up to Iowa and crowned two individual champions. At 133 pounds, Roman Bravo-Young defeated Iowa’s Austin DeSanto, 5-2. Bravo-Young scored two takedowns off of his slide-by, which made the difference in the match. Bravo-Young now leads DeSanto, 3-2, in their series and has the won their last three meetings.

Aaron Brooks earned the second title for the Nittany Lions at 184 pounds. Brooks defeated Nebraska’s Taylor Venz in the finals, 10-5, giving him his second Big Ten title in as many attempts.

At 197 pounds, Michigan’s Myles Amine knocked off No. 1 ranked Eric Schultz of Nebraska, 7-3. Amine led, 4-2, after the first period on the strength of two takedowns. He added an escape in the second period and a go-behind in the closing seconds off of a desperation shot to clinch the match.

The No. 1 ranked wrestler in the country at 149 pounds Sammy Sasso of Ohio State claimed a 7-2 victory over Ridge Lovett of Nebraska. Lovett scored the first takedown on a low double, but Sasso responded with an escape and his own takedown, holding a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period. Lovett did well to ride Sasso in the second period, but eventually Sasso earned a reversal. He closed out the match by riding out Lovett the entirety of the third period.

The Big Ten had 76 automatic qualifier spots available for the NCAA Championships, the most out of any conference. Iowa and Penn State both qualified nine wrestlers for the tournament, which will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, March 18-20. Michigan and Nebraska both qualified eight wrestlers, while Minnesota, Michigan State and Purdue all claimed seven, rounding out the top half of the conference.

2021 Big Ten Championships final results

125 pounds
1st - Spencer Lee (Iowa) TF Devin Schroder (Purdue) 21-3
3rd - Rayvon Foley (Michigan State) DEC Malik Heinselman (Ohio State), 8-2
5th - Michael DeAugstino (Northwestern) DEC Robert Howard (Penn State), 4-2
- Dylan Ragusin (Michigan) DEC Patrick McKee (Minnesota), 9-8

133 pounds
1st - Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC Austin DeSanto (Iowa), 5-2
3rd - Lucas Byrd (Illinois) vs. Chris Cannon (Northwestern)
5th - Kyle Burwick (Wisconsin) DEC Jacob Rundell (Purdue), 4-3
7th - Jordan Hamdan (Michigan State) DEC Boo Dryden (Minnesota) 9-2

141 pounds
1st - Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. Nick Lee (Penn State), 6-5
3rd - Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) DEC Chad Red (Nebraska), 4-3
5th - Parker Filius (Purdue) DEC Colin Valdiviez (Northwestern), 5-2

149 pounds
1st - Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. Ridge Lovett (Nebraska), 5-2
3rd - Mike Van Brill (Rutgers) DEC Michael Blockhus (Minnesota), 2-1
5th - Kanen Storr (Michigan) DEC Graham Rooks (Indiana), 5-3
7th - Griffin Parriott (Purdue) DEC Yahya Thomas (Northwestern), 2-1 (TB-1)

157 pounds
1st - Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) DEC Kaleb Young (Iowa), 6-0
3rd - Brayton Lee (Minnesota) DEC Chase Saldate (Michigan State), 6-3
5th - Kendall Coleman (Purdue) DEF Brady Berge (Penn State), MFF
7th - Caleb Licking (Nebraska) DEF Will Lewan (Michigan), MFF

165 pounds
1st - Alex Marinelli (Iowa) DEC Ethan Smith (Ohio State), 3-2
3rd - Cameron Amine (Michigan) DEC Peyton Robb (Nebraska), 4-1
5th - Gerrit Nijenhuis (Purdue) DEC Jake Tucker (Michigan State), 10-3
7th - David Ferrante (Northwestern) DEC Joe Lee (Penn State), 10-6

174 pounds
1st - Michael Kemerer (Iowa) DEC Carter Starocci (Penn State), 7-2
3rd - Mikey Labriola (Nebraska) MD Logan Massa (Michigan), 8-3
5th - Kaleb Romero (Ohio State) DEC Donnell Washington (Indiana), 5-0
7th - Jake Allar (Minnesota) DEC Drew Hughes (Michigan State), 12-3

184 pounds
1st - Aaron Brooks (Penn State) DEC Taylor Venz (Nebraska), 10-5
3rd - John Poznanski (Rutgers) DEC Nelson Brands (Iowa), 3-2
5th - Chris Weiler (Wisconsin) DEF Layne Malczewski (Michigan State), MFF
7th - Max Lyon (Purdue) DEC Owen Webster (Minnesota), 3-1

197 pounds:
1st - Myles Amine (Michigan) DEC Eric Schultz (Nebraska), 7-3
3rd - DEC Jacob Warner (Iowa) DEC Cameron Caffey (Michigan State), 8-3
5th - Lucas Davison (Northwestern) DEC Michael Beard (Penn State), 6-4
7th - Thomas Penola (Purdue) MD Billy Janzer (Rutgers), 10-1

285 pounds:
1st - Gable Steveson (Minnesota) MD Mason Parris (Michigan) 12-4
3rd - Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) MD Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), 9-0
5th - Christian Lance (Nebraska) DEC Tate Orndorff (Ohio State), 3-2
7th - Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) FALL Luke Luffman (Illinois), 1:08

Team Scores

1: Iowa – 159.5

2: Penn State – 124.0

3: Nebraska – 105.5

4: Michigan – 92.0

5: Minnesota – 77.5

6: Purdue – 76.0

7: Northwestern – 74.0

8: Michigan State – 73.5

9: Ohio State – 69.5

10: Rutgers – 52.0

11: Illinois – 32.0

12: Wisconsin – 30.5

13: Indiana – 22.0

14: Maryland – 2.0

NCAA qualifiers by team

Iowa (9)
Spencer Lee (125)
Austin DeSanto (133)
Jaydin Eierman (141)
Kaleb Young (157)
Alex Marinelli (165)
Michael Kemerer (174)
Nelson Brands (184)
Jacob Warner (197)
Anthony Cassioppi (285)

Penn State (9)
Robert Howard (125)
Roman Bravo-Young (133)
Nick Lee (141)
Brady Berge (157)
Joe Lee (165)
Carter Starocci (174)
Aaron Brooks (184)
Michael Beard (197)
Greg Kerkvliet (285)

Michigan 8
Dylan Ragusin (125)
Drew Mattin (141)
Kanen Storr (149)
Will Lewan (157)
Cameron Amine (165)
Logan Massa (174)
Myles Amine (197)
Mason Parris (285)

Nebraska (8)
Ridge Lovett (141)
Chad Red (149)
Caleb Licking (157)
Peyton Robb (165)
Mikey Labriola (174)
Taylor Venz (184)
Eric Schultz (197)

Michigan State (7)
Rayvon Foley (125)
Jordan Hamdan (133)
Chase Saldate (157)
Jake Tucker (165)
Drew Hughes (174)
Layne Malczewski (184)
Cameron Caffey (197)

Minnesota (7)
Pat McKee (125)
Boo Dryden (133)
Michael Blockhus (149)
Brayton Lee (157)
Jake Allar (174)
Owen Webster (184)
Gable Steveson (285)

Purdue (7)
Devin Schroder (125)
Jacob Rundell (133)
Parker Filius (141)
Griffin Parriott (149)
Kendall Coleman (157)
Gerrit Nijenhuis (165)
Max Lyon (184)

Northwestern (6)
Michael DeAugustino (125)
Chris Cannon (133)
Colin Valdiviez (141)
Ryan Deakin (157)
David Ferrante (165)
Lucas Davison (197)

Ohio State (5)
Malik Heinselman (125)
Sammy Sasso (149)
Ethan Smith (165)
Kaleb Romero (174)
Tate Orndorff (285)

Rutgers (3)
Sebastian Rivera (141)
Mike Van Brill (149)
John Poznanski (184)

Wisconsin (3)
Kyle Burwick (133)
Chris Weiler (184)
Trent Hillger (285)

Illinois (2)
Lucas Byrd (133)
Dylan Duncan (141)

Indiana (2)
Graham Rooks (149)
Donnell Washington (174)

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