By Tyler Devine
The top-ranked Iowa wrestling team will have eight wrestlers competing in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in St. Louis Missouri.
Iowa won 18 of 20 matches in the first and second rounds on Thursday to lead in the team standings with 33.5 points heading into Friday’s sessions.
Penn State is in second place with 28 points while Missouri is in third place with 23.5 points.
North Carolina State has 21 points and Oklahoma State has 20 points to round out the top five.
“We’ve got to get ready tomorrow for eight quarterfinals,” coach Tom Brands said. “We’ve got two guys we’ve got to get to the backside. It’s day two and we’ve got to roll.”
Junior 149-pounder Max Murin, a No. 12 seed, defeated No. 5 Ridge Lovett of Nebraska to advance to the quarterfinals.
Murin lost to Lovett in the Big Ten Championships and was Iowa’s only at-large bid in the NCAA Championships.
Murin used a riding time point to gut out an 8-7 decision over Indiana’s Graham Rooks in the first round.
“Two real gutsy wins,” Brands said. “That’s what it takes. You find a way to get your hand raised, get on a roll here. Let’s score points early and often. Maybe you don’t have to have it so close, but we’ll take them how we can get them. Good little bit of redemption for him.”
Iowa’s four No. 1 seeds, Spencer Lee, Jaydin Eierman, Alex Marinelli and Michael Kemerer combined to score bonus points in seven of the eight matches they wrestled Thursday and outscored their opponents 127-35.
No. 4 seed Austin DeSanto and No. 5 seed Tony Cassioppi also scored bonus points in their second-round matches at 133 and 285 pounds, respectively.
“Bonus points are crucial,” Brands said. “They’re an indication of your team, the philosophy, how much the communication is getting through the head of our guys. Bonus points are important. We had some tight matches in the Big Tens. 3-2 a couple of them. Those guys are opening things up, and our horse power is starting to come out.”
The only two Hawkeye wrestlers to lose their second round matchups were Kaleb Young and Nelson Brands at 157 and 184 pounds, respectively.
The quarterfinal round begins at 10 a.m. Friday and is televised on ESPNU. The semifinals will take place at 2 p.m. on ESPU and at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
First round recap
Iowa advanced all 10 wrestlers to the second round.
Fifth-seed 197-pounder Jacob Warner came back from a 6-0 deficit to win 9-7 over Nick Reenan of North Carolina State in sudden victory.
It is the first time Iowa has advanced 10 wrestlers to the round of 16 since 1992.
Iowa scored bonus points in its seven other matches.
125-pounder Spencer Lee, 133-pounder Austin DeSanto, 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman and 174-pounder Michael Kemerer all won by technical fall.
Lee’s victory over Virginia’s Patrick McCormick took just 1:33.
Kemerer and DeSanto won in the second period and Eierman won in the third period.
Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli and Tony Cassioppi won by major decision at 157, 165 and 285 pounds, respectively.
Iowa is looking to win its first national team title since 2010. Penn State has won eight of the last nine national titles.
Iowa was one of three teams to enter all 10 wrestlers in this year’s tournament.