Stoll delivers a pin to give Iowa win over Illinois

Sam Stoll secured a pin to give Iowa a victory (Photo/Mark Lundy,

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa wrestling team needed a pin for the win, and its fall-happy heavyweight delivered.

Junior Sam Stoll delivered a first-period knockout to rally the seventh-ranked Hawkeyes to an 18-17 win over No. 15 Illinois on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The teams split 10 bouts, and for nine matches it looked like Illinois' Isaiah Martinez's technical fall at 165 may be the difference. That was before Stoll, ranked No. 7 at 285 pounds, took Deuce Rachal to his back to send the Carver crowd into what amounted to a buzzer-beating frenzy.

"I am out there to do my job," Stoll said. "I know that if I go out there and wrestle hard for seven minutes I can pin a lot of guys. My goal is to pin every guy I wrestle. No one wants to wrestle at a hard, high pace, and if I go out there and take care of what I need to do, everything will fall into place."

The Hawkeyes trailed the entire dual, dropping the first three matches and falling behind 9-0 before All-Americans Brandon Sorensen and Michael Kemerer took the mat.

Sorensen put Iowa on the board at 149 with a 4-1 win against No. 20 Eric Barone. He picked up a single-leg in the third and closed on the edge to break a 1-1 tie. He finished the final 1:25 on top to add a point for riding time.

Michael Kemerer gets in on a shot against Kyle Langenderfer (Photo/Mark Lundy,

Kemerer followed Sorensen with his own 4-1 decision against. No. 17 Kyle Langenderfer at 157. He scored a takedown in the first and put on a third-period ride to earn a point for riding time. It was his fifth straight win against a ranked opponent.

Illinois won two of the first three matches after intermission to build a 17-9 lead -- Joey Gunther sandwiched a 6-1 decision in between Illinois wins at 165 and 184, setting up a must-see bonus-point scenario from the Hawkeyes at 197 and 285.

Cash Wilcke wrestled to a 1-1 tie after regulation at 197, and set the table for Stoll's dramatics with a takedown in the first sudden victory period.

"I don't really consider the team score when I'm getting ready for my match," Wilcke said. "I know I need to go out there and win and win by scoring points. I let him slow me down. I gave a lot of respect to his offense. I need to do what I do best."


"If we continue to give up nine first period takedowns and get one, we're going to really struggle. We knew this year was going to be unique, but we did not fight. You have to fight and it has to be more about getting that one takedown to get yourself back in the match. Those guys were athletic and points were hard to come by, but that is not where we should be struggling. We know that we have work to do."


Iowa returns to the mat Friday, Dec. 8 at No. 11 Rutgers, and Sunday, Dec. 10 at Maryland.


Iowa has won 20 straight conference openers.
Five of Kemerer's last seven matches have been against ranked opponents, he is 5-0 with two major decisions and a technical fall against those five opponents.
Sixteen of Sam Stoll's 34 career wins have ended in fall.
Records: Iowa (5-0, 1-0), Illinois (1-2, 0-1).
Attendance was 8,206

125: #13 Travis Piotrowski (ILL) dec. Justin Stickley (IA), 7-4; 0-3
133: #20 Dylan Duncan (ILL) dec. Phillip Laux (IA), 6-1; 0-6
141: Mike Carr (ILL) dec. Vince Turk (IA), 7-5; 0-9
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (IA) dec. #20 Eric Batone (ILL), 4-1; 3-9
157: #3 Michael Kemerer (IA) #17 Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 4-1; 6-9
165: #2 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech. fall #16 Kaleb Young (IA), 23-8; 6-14
174: Joey Gunther (IA) dec. David Riojas (ILL), 6-1; 9-14
184: #12 Emery Parker (ILL) dec. Mitch Bowman (IA), 5-3; 9-17
197: #10 Cash Wilcke (IA) dec. Andre Lee (ILL), 3-1 SV1; 12-17
285: #7 Sam Stoll (IA) pinned Deuce Rachal (ILL), 2:02; 18-17


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CoachC (1) about 3 and a half years ago
Stoll delivered nothing. The stupid kid from ILL didn't even give himself a chance to go 7 minutes. Who the blank tries a lat drop that early in the match and he didn't even need to win, just stay off his back. Someone on the ILL side did a pretty piss poor job of getting him to understand his job. Do not end up on your back. Stoll is less the hero and more a beneficiary of poor match strategy and a big dummy in an ILL singlet.
CoachC (1) about 3 and a half years ago
Sorry to continue, but the 165 from Iowa understood his role. Do not get pinned. That is the difference in the match. Martinez needed to put the guy away for team points. This is another team strategy nightmare from the ILL side.
Bench_wrestler (1) about 3 and a half years ago
Outside of IMar and Stoll's pin it was a very unimpressive dual. Not sure what was going on, but plenty of uninspired wrestling on both sides.
2xTCAA (1) about 3 and a half years ago
What about Tom Brands coming on to the mat during the Stoll pin and poking the official in the back because he didn't call the pin right away? That is inexcusable behavior by a head coach and he should have been docked a team point! Who the heck does that? Even Terry had to rein him in and pull him away. I am very disappointed that the official let him off the hook for that type of behavior. Enforce the Control of Mat Area rules and get these wacky coaches in line. The Iowa administration allows this crap to happen year after year.
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