Jump to content

  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Iowa/Penn State Dual History in the Sanderson Era (2009-Present)

    The 174 lb NCAA final with Carter Starocci and Michael Kemerer (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Friday, top-ranked Penn State will make the trek out to Iowa City to take on #2 Iowa in the most anticipated dual of the collegiate wrestling season. Both schools come into this dual undefeated, Penn State at 13-0, while Iowa is 11-0.

    This will be the first time the schools have met in dual competition in almost two years, to the date. They were slated to meet last year in February, but Covid issues prevented the dual from happening.

    Iowa comes into the dual with all ten of their starters in the national rankings, while nine of Penn State's are ranked. With so many high-caliber athletes competing, there are bound to be some memorable moments and upsets.

    Instead of focusing on this year's dual, we've decided to look back at every meeting between the schools since Cael Sanderson arrived in State College, prior to the 2009-10 season. While Penn State holds the advantage with eight NCAA titles during this span, Iowa actually has the dual advantage (5-4). Three times during those nine meetings, the lower-ranked opponent prevailed.

    Here is a year-by-year look at this rivalry (in dual competition, only) and some of the memorable moments and matches in each dual.

    January 31st, 2020 - Iowa City, Iowa

    #1 Iowa 19 over #2 Penn State 17

    Notable Matches:

    133: Trailing 5-0; Penn State surprisingly got six points as Roman Bravo-Young was victorious via injury default over Austin DeSanto. It was controversial because the bout was stopped as DeSanto was going to his back. Iowa was also penalized a team point for failing to control the mat.

    165: Vincenzo Joseph tossed Alex Marinelli to his back for six points and went on to hand the Hawkeye his first career dual loss.

    174: In the second consecutive match between #1 and #2, Michael Kemerer scored three points and a reversal over 2017 NCAA champion Mark Hall to pull the slight upset, 11-6.

    285: A 7-0 win for Tony Cassioppi gave Iowa their first lead since 125 lbs and pushed them past the Nittany Lions, 19-17.

    February 10th, 2018 - State College, Pennsylvania

    #1 Penn State 28 over #7 Iowa 13

    Notable Matches:

    149: Though it was a 1 vs. 2 affair, there was little drama surrounding the 6-2 win for Zain Retherford over his 2016 NCAA finals opponent, Brandon Sorensen.

    165: Redshirt freshman Alex Marinelli pulled the biggest win of his young career to date. Ranked seventh at the time, Marinelli knocked off the returning (and eventual) NCAA champion Vincenzo Joseph and handed him his first loss of the year. Trailing 5-3 in the third period, Marinelli had a body lock and countered Joseph's trip attempt to his back for six points. He would go on to win 9-6.

    January 21st, 2017 - Iowa City, Iowa

    #2 Penn State 26 over #3 Iowa 11

    Notable Matches:

    125: Stud true freshman Nick Suriano suffered the first loss of his career against Thomas Gilman, 3-2. The top-ranked Gilman got a takedown in the first period and it held up over two periods. This is fun now since Gilman trains at the Nittany Lion WC and Suriano is at Michigan.

    149: Zain Retherford won his final 95 bouts in a Penn State singlet, but his closest call during that span occurred on this night. He narrowly edged third-ranked Brandon Sorensen 9-8 in the second series of tiebreakers.

    174: The top recruit in the high school Class of 2016, Mark Hall, was brought out of redshirt for the dual. After an 18-1 showing unattached, Hall was unleashed upon Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Nobody told Alex Meyer that this was supposed to be the Hall show and the Hawkeye All-American spoiled Hall's debut, 7-5. Meyer got the go-ahead takedown with under :15 seconds remaining in the third period.

    184: The win by Meyer put Iowa within a point on the scoreboard with slim hopes of upset on Hawkeye fans' minds. A win in a top-five match that followed, between #2 Bo Nickal and #5 Sam Brooks, could have put Penn State on the ropes. It didn't take long for those chances to die. Nickal spladled and pinned Brooks in only :38 seconds to silence the crowd and put PSU up by seven points heading into the final matches, where they were heavily favored.

    February 8th, 2015 - State College, Pennsylvania

    #1 Iowa 18 over #5 Penn State 12

    Notable Matches:

    This was an odd dual because all of the notable upsets went Penn State's way, though they still lost six of ten matches. At 133 lbs, #7 Jimmy Gulibon took out the eventual NCAA finalist Cory Clark, 8-5. A couple matches later, at 165, unranked Garett Hammond downed #4 Nick Moore, 4-2.

    Iowa came out on top of the bookends, both bouts between top-ten foes. #5 Thomas Gilman edged #8 Jordan Conaway at 125 lbs, 6-5, while #2 Bobby Telford sealed the deal with a 3-0 shutout of #6 Jimmy Lawson.

    December 21st, 2013 - Iowa City, Iowa

    #1 Penn State 24 over #3 Iowa 12

    Notable Matches:

    The entire dual: This was the year where the conference schedule-markers omitted a meeting between the two superpowers. Head coaches Tom Brands and Cael Sanderson took the initiative and arranged a “non-conference” match over Twitter.

    125: Though Cory Clark would end up getting the nod in the postseason as Iowa had two talented redshirt freshmen at this weight, Thomas Gilman was the guy here against two-time returning NCAA runner-up, Nico Megaludis. While the veteran Megaludis prevailed, Gilman fought hard in a 4-1 loss.

    133: For the second consecutive year, Tony Ramos used his signature cow-catcher to pin an opponent from Penn State in this dual. This time it was Jimmy Guilbon, a highly-touted, but unranked redshirt freshman.

    This was the final year in the Penn State run that included David Taylor and Ed Ruth. Both rolled to major decisions in this outing.

    February 1st, 2013 - Iowa City, Iowa

    #3 Iowa 22 over #1 Penn State 16

    Notable Matches:

    125: In a rematch of the 2012 NCAA finals, Matt McDonough prevailed once again over Nico Megaludis. This time it was 2-1 in tiebreakers. The two were ranked #1/#2 in the nation at the time.

    133: As we alluded to earlier, Tony Ramos brought the house down at Carver when he pinned Jordan Conaway with the cow-catcher. That win gave the Hawkeyes a 9-0 advantage and it was a lead they'd never relinquish.

    174: With a pair of NCAA champions behind him, #4 Matt Brown had a chance to get the Nittany Lions back in the dual if he could get by #6 Mike Evans. Evans pulled the ever-so-slight upset, 4-3, and gave his team some breathing room heading into Ruth and Quentin Wright.

    January 22nd, 2012 - State College, Pennsylvania

    #3 Penn State 22 over #2 Iowa 12

    Notable Matches:

    Iowa jumped out to a 12-0 lead after three matches. McDonough and Montell Marion sandwiched decision wins around a Tony Ramos fall at 133 lbs. Unfortunately for Iowa, it went downhill from there. Penn State won the final seven matches, with Ruth posting a major decision at 174 lbs. The only real nailbiter during that run came at 197 lbs when Morgan McIntosh came out on top of Grant Gambrall 5-3.

    January 30th, 2011 - State College, Pennsylvania

    #8 Iowa 22 over #1 Penn State 13

    Notable Matches:

    133: Late transfer #4 Andrew Long, a returning NCAA finalist for Iowa State at 133 lbs, was handed his first loss of the year by redshirt freshman #10 Tony Ramos. The difference in Ramos' 3-2 victory was a second-period takedown, followed by an escape in the final stanza.

    141: 2010 NCAA runner-up Montell Marion made his return to the Hawkeye lineup and made his presence felt with a win in an 11-9 shootout over stud true freshman #5 Andrew Alton. Three takedowns in the final period helped Marion erase a 5-0 lead from the Nittany Lion.

    184: #14 Grant Gambrall upset returning All-American #6 Quentin Wright quite handily. Takedowns in all three periods helped the Hawkeye to an 8-3 win. Wright would famously turn the tables in the NCAA quarterfinals and pin Gambrall, locking up Penn State's first national title under Sanderson.

    January 29th, 2010 - Iowa City, Iowa

    #1 Iowa 29 over #13 Penn State 6

    Notable Matches:

    141: Unranked Adam Lynch pulled off a massive upset when he took out the eventual NCAA runner-up Marion, 8-6 in sudden victory. Marion rallied in the first period with two takedowns, but was caught in extra time.

    149: Undefeated, top-ranked Brent Metcalf kept his perfect record intact by pinning #5 Frank Molinaro. Metcalf already was working on a major decision when he pinned the Nittany Lion at the 3:59 mark.

    165: #5 Ryan Morningstar gritted out a 2-0 win over #8 Dan Vallimont with a point via escape and riding time. Vallimont would end up being the first NCAA finalist in the Sanderson-era later this season.

    Along with this being the first year for Sanderson at Penn State, it was the last of the three NCAA championships for Iowa, led by Metcalf and their star-studded cast.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...