MINNEAPOLIS -- University of Iowa sophomore Alex Marinelli won the 165-pound Big Ten title on Saturday, defeating Penn State’s top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph, 9-3, in the finals of the conference tournament at Williams Arena.
Marinelli used a six-point move to gain control of the match in the second period, putting Joseph feet-to-back to grab a 6-1 lead. He added a takedown in the third period to improve to 23-0 on the season and win his first Big Ten title.
“After the match it was weird because I felt like I could keep going,” Marinelli said. “I didn’t realize the match had ended and never focused on the score. That’s how it should be. You shouldn’t worry about the score, the time, or about how you feel. I didn’t know anything in that match except to just wrestle.
“Tonight was about getting to my attacks and that’s it. I didn’t have to be content and I went out there and wrestled.”
Marinelli shared the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler award with Penn State’s Jason Nolf. Marinelli was 3-0 this weekend with wins against the No. 1 and No. 3 wrestlers in the country. It marks the 10th time in school history a Hawkeye has won the award, and the first time since Brent Metcalf won it in 2009.
The conference title is the 200th Big Ten individual title in school history.
Iowa placed third in the team race with 107.5 points. Penn State won the title with 157.5 points. Ohio State placed second with 122.5.
Marinelli was one of eight Hawkeyes to reach the award stand. Spencer Lee placed second at 125. Pat Lugo and Jacob Warner placed third at 149 and 197, respectively. Austin DeSanto and Kaleb Young placed fourth at 133 and 157, respectively. Cash Wilcke placed fifth at 184, and Max Murin placed seventh at 141.
All eight wrestlers earned automatic berths to the national tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 21-23.
“Let’s get ready to go,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “We’re going to relax a bit here and get some good recovery to be ready to go. These guys take great pride in doing it right.”
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The Big Ten Conference tournament is one of eight NCAA qualifying tournaments across the country.
The NCAA is expected to announce the tournament qualifiers Tuesday. The entire brackets will be released Wednesday. Iowa’s Sam Stoll and Mitch Bowman will pursue at-large berths.
Seventh-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, led by second-place finishes from Chad Red Jr. (141) and Taylor Berger (157) finished in fifth place with 96.5 points.
Red, the eighth seed at 141, saw his run to the Big Ten championship bout end in a 9-2 defeat by decision against No. 3 Joey McKenna from Ohio State. Red finished the weekend with a 3-1 record and certainly helped his cause for a high seed at the NCAA Championships.
Berger dropped just his third match of the season this afternoon in the 157-pound title match to No. 1 Jason Nolf of Penn State, falling in a 12-4 major decision. He is expected to be the No. 2 seed at the NCAA Championships.
Nebraska reeled off three straight consolation semifinals wins during Session III on Sunday as No. 4 Mikey Labriola (174), No. 3 Taylor Venz (184) and No. 5 Eric Schultz (197) all earned decisions to put themselves in their respective third place matches.
Labriola finished the tournament with a 4-2 record. Labriola fell 4-2 in the third-place match as Minnesota's Devin Skatkza landed a takedown with four seconds to go to earn the victory.
Venz advanced to the third-place match after he got his revenge on Iowa’s No. 5 Cash Wilcke in a 6-4 decision. Venz lost in the third-place match to Illinois’ #4 Emery Parker in a 5-1 decision.
Schultz defeated former Husker Beau Breske (Wisconsin) in a 3-2 decision in the consolation semifinals. He dropped a hard-fought third-place match to Iowa’s No. 3 Jacob Warner, 7-5.
Fourth-seeded Isaiah White took fifth at 165. Seventh-seeded David Jensen took sixth at 285.