Jaydin Eierman advanced to the finals by defeating Nebraska's Chad Red (Darren Miller, Iowa Athletics)
UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa. -- The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team advanced six Hawkeyes to the finals and sits in first place at the 2021 Big Ten Championships following Saturday night semifinal action at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Defending champions Spencer Lee and Alex Marinelli are returning to the finals. Lee is defending the 125-pound title and Marinelli is aiming for his third straight conference title at 165.
Lee and Marinelli are joined in the finals by Austin DeSanto (133), Jaydin Eierman (141), Kaleb Young (157) and Michael Kemerer (174). Kemerer is a two-time runner up making his third finals appearance. DeSanto, Eierman and Young are all first-time Big Ten conference finalists.
Lee won by fall in 23 seconds, tying the school record for fastest pin at a Big Ten Championships. The record was matched earlier in the day by Tony Cassioppi, and first set in 1992 by Bart Chelesvig. Lee defends his 125-pound title against seventh-seeded Devin Schroder of Purdue. It is a rematch of the 2020 conference finals when Lee defeated Schroder by 16-2 major decision.
Marinelli is back in the finals following a 2-0 decision at 165. He will meet Ohio State's third-seeded Ethan Smith. Marinelli won conference titles in 2019 and 2020. In the history of the program, there have been seven four-time champions and 18 three-time champions. Marinelli could become the 26th Hawkeye in school history to win three conference titles.
Kemerer advanced to the finals with a 4-2 decision. He meets Penn State's third-seeded Carter Starocci in the 174-pound finals.
DeSanto and Eierman are both in the Big Ten finals for the first time in their careers. DeSanto advanced with a 5-4 win at 133. Eierman, who won three MAC titles for Missouri from 2017-19, won by 7-1 decision. DeSanto faces Penn State's top-seeded Roman Bravo-Young, and Eierman gets Penn State's Nick Lee, the No. 2 seed.
Young won 3-2 in the second tiebreak period to advance to the finals, where he meets Northwestern's top-seeded Ryan Deakin.
Iowa dropped a pair of matches in the semifinals. Jacob Warner lost 3-1 in sudden victory and Tony Cassioppi lost by fall. Both wrestlers return to action Sunday in the consolation semifinals.
Max Murin and Nelson Brands competed on the backside of the bracket Saturday night. Brands picked up a pair of wins and has earned an automatic berth at 184 pounds to the 2021 NCAA Championships on March 18-20 in St. Louis. Murin, ranked No. 5 in the coaches poll, dropped his consolation match and is eligible for at-large consideration to the national championships at 149 pounds.
The Hawkeyes are in first place after Session II with 126.5 points. Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan and Purdue round out the top five.
QUOTING COACH TOM BRANDS
"Opening comment number one, there is a lot of wrestling left to do. Opening comment number two, we have got to get ready to wrestle tomorrow. Opening comment number three, we are going to have some tough matches. This is the qualifier and we are going to another tournament. We have to stay tough, have got to keep doing what we are doing and add to it a little bit.
"Nelson Brands just won two big matches on the backside of the bracket, that is huge. We got a couple guys who did not get what they wanted on that front side and they are going to be in the consolation bracket tomorrow and they have to come back strong. We have some guys in the finals and we are going to have to go out and be ready, ready. And I mean ready, ready."
• Spencer Lee's 23-second fall ties for the fast fall by a Hawkeye at the Big Ten Championships. Bart Chelesvig did it in 1992, and Tony Cassioppi did it in Session I of the 2021 Big Ten Championships (today).
• Lee's fall was the 26th of his career, 21 have been in the first period. The 23-second fall was a career best.
• Alex Marinelli is one win shy of his third straight Big Ten title. There have been 18 three-time conference champions in program history, the last was T.J. Williams from 1999-2001. (There have been seven four-time champions in school history.)
• Kemerer is back in the conference finals for the third time (2017, 2020).
• Nine Hawkeyes have earned automatic berths to the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Session III of the Big Ten Championships begins Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT) and will be streamed on BTN Plus. The finals, third-place, and fifth-place matches begin at 3 p.m. The finals are televised live on BTN.