It's 'Onward' After Hawkeyes Clinch Big Ten Duals Title
It was a celebration that Tom Brands sounded like he just wanted to get through.
Iowa’s 35-6 win over Minnesota on Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena clinched the Big Ten regular-season wrestling title. The top-ranked Hawkeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) have won or shared the dual-meet crown since it was first recognized in 1999.
It was the ninth undefeated conference season for the Hawkeyes since Brands took over as head coach in the 2006-07 season.
“We’ll go upstairs, get some t-shirts and hats, take some pictures, and move on,” Brands said. “And I don’t say that lightly. I say that because that’s what you do.”
What did 9-0 in the conference mean?
"It means you did your job in the conference," Brands said. "Good job, and let's move on. It's not a slouch conference. It wasn't a slouch schedule."
Brands consistently has had a what-comes-next mentality this season with this deep team, and while regular-season trophies and celebratory clothing are nice, he wants a national championship.
So it’s win, celebrate, and get ready for next Sunday’s dual with No. 10 Oklahoma State.
“Big win,” Brands said. “Onward. Oklahoma State next.”
The Hawkeyes went 8-2 in individual matches, moving to 75-15 in Big Ten duals and 100-20 overall.
Iowa lost two of the first three matches before dominating the rest of the dual.
The biggest wins came back-to-back with two Hawkeyes returning to action.
Austin DeSanto came back from a knee injury that kept him out of two matches to win by technical fall over Boo Dryden, 24-8, at 133. Max Murin, who hadn’t wrestled since the Jan. 18 dual against Nebraska, then scored a takedown in sudden victory for a 6-4 win over Mitch McKee at 141.
DeSanto had nine takedowns in his match.
“He wrestled pretty smart, for the most part,” Brands said. “Wrestle your match, stud.”
Murin, who has been dealing with nagging injuries, didn’t know he was going to wrestle until intermission.
Murin was warming up with fellow 141-pounder Carter Happel when he got the nod.
“(Brands) pointed at me and he goes, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said, ‘Heck, yeah. Let’s go.’”
Murin’s escape with 1:54 left in the third period tied the match. Then, in sudden victory, Murin came up with a takedown with 20 seconds to go.
“I was having a hard time getting my offense, just my normal shots,” Murin said.
After decisions by 149-pounder Pat Lugo and 157-pounder Kaleb Young, the Hawkeyes closed the dual with a technical fall from No. 2-ranked Alex Marinelli over Kasper McIntosh at 165, then got a pin from top-ranked Michael Kemerer against Devin Skatzka in 2:52.
Iowa’s Cash Wilcke opened the match at 184 with a 3-2 loss to Owen Webster. Two matches later, heavyweight Tony Cassioppi lost to top-ranked Gable Steveson, 7-5.
It was the second consecutive loss for the third-ranked Cassioppi, who was pinned by No. 2-ranked Mason Paris of Michigan last week.
Cassioppi opened the season with 15 consecutive wins.
“It’s a concern any time that happens and a guy’s on a roll,” Brands said. “That’s a good question, for a mere mortal. I don’t know if he is a mere mortal. I don’t know if he’s a normal human.”
Brands was ready to celebrate, and move on. It’s the way he’s been, it’s the way he’s going to be.
“There’s always things that nag at you,” he said. “You try to be positive, try to put your professional voice out there. It can’t be all candor. But yeah...
“It’s always onward.”
Iowa 35, Minnesota 6
184 — Owen Webster (M) dec. Cash Wilcke, 3-2. 197 — Jacob Warner (I) major dec. Hunter Ritter, 13-4. 285 — Gable Steveson (M) dec. Tony Cassioppi, 7-5. 125 — Spencer Lee (I) won by forfeit. 133 — Austin DeSanto (I) technical fall over Boo Dryden, 24-8. 141 — Max Murin (I) dec. Mitch Kee, 6-4, in sudden victory. 149 — Pat Lugo (I) dec. Brayton Lee, 3-2. 157 — Kaleb Young (I) dec. Ryan Thomas, 5-4 (TB1). 165 — Alex Marinelli (I) technical fall over Kasper McIntosh, 21-6. 174 — Michael Kemerer (I) pinned Devin Skatzka, 2:52.