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COLLEGE WRESTLING: Marinelli wins Big Ten championship

MINNEAPOLIS — University of Iowa sophomore Alex Marinelli won the 165-pound Big Ten title on Sunday, 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.

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, and 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 Hawkeyes earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh on March 21-23.

Big 12 Conference

TULSA, Okla. — Iowa State finished second at the Big 12 Championship behind an individual title from Chase Straw at 157 pounds.

In total, nine of Iowa State’s 10 wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championship. All 10 of Iowa State’s wrestlers finished on the podium at their respective weight classes.

Straw was pitted against top-ranked Justin Thomas in the 157-pound final. The two traded escapes to begin the second and third periods and were tied at 1-1. Straw connected on an attack with under a minute to go in the match, securing a takedown and a lead that he would not relinquish, 3-2.

Straw is Iowa State’s first Big 12 Champion since 2016 when Lelund Weatherspoon won at 174 pounds.

At 149 pounds, No. 3 Jarrett Degen took on No. 1 Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State and surrendered a late takedown in a 6-5 loss.

At 184 and 197, No. 1 Sam Colbray and No. 2 Willie Miklus came up short in their finals matches. Colbray fell to No. 2 Drew Foster of Northern Iowa, 4-1, and Miklus was topped by No. 1 Preston Weigel of Oklahoma State 10-0.

UNI will send six Panthers to the NCAA tournament led by Foster, who avenged a dual loss to Colbray to become the first Panther to earn two Big 12 titles since UNI joined the league last year.

It was a rematch for Taylor Lujan in the 174 finals against Oklahoma State’s Jacobe Smith, who ended Lujan’s run at nationals last year with a 10-8 decision. Top-seeded Smith edged out Lujan, 6-4, in Sunday’s finals.

At 141, Josh Alber avenged a loss that sent him to the consolations. His 7-2 decision over Chris Sandoval of Northern Colorado earned him a spot in the bronze medal match, where he beat Iowa State’s No. 12 Ian Parker, 2-0.

Bryce Steiert earned his first Big 12 medal, securing a third-place finish and his third trip to the NCAAs.

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