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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Five B1G Takeaways from the Big Ten (2/7/24)

    Last week was the most action-packed slate of duals we’ve had so far this season. A top-ranked wrestler fell hard and it wasn’t at 125-pounds, Penn State flexed on Ohio State, but the dual left us wondering “what the hell is a takedown?” and the Wolverines pounced on the visiting Hawkeyes. 

    Ladies and Gentlemen...Sergio Lemley

    What else can be said right now that hasn’t already been said about this youngster. Lemley, who is rightfully the Big Ten wrestler of the week, was absolutely dominant in his 14-2 win over former No. 1 ranked Real Woods. He didn’t just dominate the returning NCAA finalist, he nearly pinned him. The win didn’t just spark a massive response in the wrestling world, it launched Lemley into the No. 10 spot in the rankings. At least one person saw what Lemley was capable of and that was our very own Kevin Claunch who has been very vocal on behalf of the true freshman. 

    Check out this week’s Conference Crossover Conversation where we discuss the Lemley upset, Michigan’s win over Iowa and what we hope to see coming this weekend.

    Wild Weekend at 184

    On Friday night we saw unranked true freshman Ryder Rogotzke hush the Penn State crowd when he flipped fifth ranked Bernie Truax to his back and to get the fall. The dual may have been completely out of reach for Ohio State at that point, but it still got some sparks flying from the Buckeyes’ bench. Then, just two days later, it was Rogotzke checking out the lights of Jersey Mike’s Arena. In a wild sequence of moves, No. 19 Brian Soldano put him on his back to get the fall over Rogotzke. 

     

    MSU vs Indiana Down to the Wire 

    Sunday afternoon as I did some preventative maintenance cleaning of my home, I was gifted with what was a super fun dual between the Spartans of Michigan State and the Hoosiers of Indiana. This dual took place in Bloomington, Indiana so when they got punched in the face immediately, it was a little surprising. MSU won the first four matches, including a pin at 157 and a forfeit at 165 which was followed by an upset win at 174-pounds where the battle of the DJs took place. There were less turntables and microphones in this battle than you’d think, but there was definitely a lot of mixin’. DJ Shannon upset then No. 15 ranked DJ Washington with a takedown on the edge. Indiana woke up around 197 with a win from Nate Sollars, followed by a tiebreaking win at heavyweight from Nick Willham. They even needed a last second takedown from Dan Fongaro before heading into the final match at 149, where Graham Rooks pinned Clayton Jones for the walkoff W, improving their record to 6-2 overall, and 5-0 at home. Indiana travels next to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes. 

     

    Wolverines Win on Senior Night Against Hawkeyes

    Now I already know what some of you are saying, “sEnIoR nIgHt, ThOsE gUyS jUsT gOt ThErE!” While that may be true, it’s disingenuous to think that the top programs in the country aren’t trying to maximize their chances to strengthen their teams through the transfer portal when the opportunity is there. Iowa themselves had three standouts in their lineup that came from other schools with Real Woods (Stanford), Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo (both from NDSU). Penn State and Oklahoma State as well have bolstered their already strong rosters with talent from other programs, so let’s not pretend that this is where wrestling is going, like it or not. Regardless, Michigan started strong, and kept that momentum through the second half. Sergio Lemley was the most talked about performance, and when a true freshman beats the top guy in the country, it should be talked about a lot. Additionally, Shane Griffith showed some late offense in breaking open his match with Patrick Kennedy at 174. It was an encouraging win and now some people are saying that Michigan should wear the blue camouflage singlets all of the time, and I can’t disagree with those people. Let’s see if/when these are redeployed as the season enters the home stretch. 

     

    Purdue vs Wisconsin Featured #1 v #2 Matchup

    For the second time in 16 days, Matt Ramos competed in a battle of the top two wrestlers at 125, and for the second time, he won this match. This time it was with Eric Barnett, who has been as consistent as anyone at the weight this season, but couldn’t get over the hump on the road against the Boilermaker. Despite losing this first match, the Badgers took the dual on the road. Their top point scorers came through for them in West Lafayette, IN with wins at 133, 149, 157, 174, and 184, before rounding things out with a win at heavyweight. Another intriguing matchup was at 184 where Shane Liegel got the win over James Rowley, who just transferred to Purdue from Wisconsin this past summer. Speaking of transfers, Max Maylor, who has been having a strong season since transferring to Wisconsin from Michigan, continues his strong year with an OT win against Brody Baumann at 174. It’s a nice road win for Wisconsin and it should lead to a strong finish. The Badgers wrestle at home against Illinois this Sunday.

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