2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championship

Big Ten Championship Match Notes Finals

Big Ten Championship Match Notes Finals

Match Notes of the semifinals of the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championship from Minneapolis.

Mar 10, 2019 by Andrew Spey
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We have a sold-out crowd here in Minneapolis in historic Williams Arena for the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championship finals. The atmosphere of the early sessions was truly electric. I am expecting nothing less for a truly spectacular slate of championship bouts. Your humble blogger will do his level best to provide an accurate depiction of the impending raucousness with his words and laptop. 

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We have a sold-out crowd here in Minneapolis in historic Williams Arena for the 2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championship finals. The atmosphere of the early sessions was truly electric. I am expecting nothing less for a truly spectacular slate of championship bouts. Your humble blogger will do his level best to provide an accurate depiction of the impending raucousness with his words and laptop. 

Brackets and Archives on FloArena

They are pushing that start time back from 3:00 to 3:15, which will be very shortly. Let's take the opportunity now to check out the arena from Section 203 AKA the Blogger's Nest.

Not bad imo. 


125: #1 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) vs #2 Spencer Lee (Iowa)

1st period: Lee gets the biggest ovation. There are a lot of Hawkeye fans here in attendance. There's the whistle and both wrestlers come out swinging. Lots of hand fighting, both wrestlers pushing forward. Lee in on the first serious shot, a head inside single. Rivera has an ankle but Lee coming out the back door in good position. Rivera crank on that leg against the knee joint and the ref breaks the action for potentially dangerous before any points go on the board. No scores in a tense first period.

2nd period: Lee starts on bottom. He gets the escape early on. More handfighting. They're ina . scramble, Lee comes out on top this time. He scores two big points and leads 3-0 late in the second period. Rivera tries a switch, Lee stops. Lee gets the ride out and has 19 seconds of RT. He's in a very good spot right now. 

3rd period: Rivera gets a turn on bottom. Lee has Rivera broken down, now coming out to the side. Lee's got riding time up over a minute. Rivera finally gets to his feet and gets the escape as the clock rounds the minute mark. Rivera shoots Lee off the mat and Lee gets his first tall warning. 30 seconds to go, Lee with a 2 point lead. Northwestern throws the challenge brick. Not sure what they want reviewed, perhaps the clock? It reads 0:23 right now, but Lee has 1:18 of riding time. And it was hands to the face that the coaches wanted and they'll get it. Lee leads by just 1 but RT close to locked up. Rivera in on a shot, and he converts in the final ten seconds. He gets the ride out do we go to sudden victory after the riding time point is tacked on for Lee!

Sudden victory: Just seven seconds into action we get a challenge brick from Iowa. I believe they want hands to the face called. Which will end the match if the no-call is overturned. They do not overturn, so the no-call stands and we go back to neutral. Lee shoots in but Rivera sinks his hips and stops him. Rivera adjusts and powers Lee over for the match-winning takedown! Rivera beats the defending national champ for the second straight time. 

An incredible start to the Big Ten finals as Northwestern gets the first champion of the year.


133: #4 Nick Suriano (Rutgers) vs #10 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State)

1st period: Most of the crowd, which is predominantly partisans for Minnesota and Iowa, will be focused on the Austin DeSanto Ethan Lizak third-place bout going on simultaneous to the finals. Suriano outplaced Pletcher at the CKLV but the two have not wrestled each other yet in college. Collar ties is what we get for the first 2 minutes. A lot of pressure from both wrestlers but not much in the way of level changes. Suriano in on a single leg, gets it up in the air with 30 seconds left on the clock. Raises it up, trips the back leg and covers for two. Suriano takes a 2-0 lead into short time. He'll get the ride out and the second period will start with Suriano taking down. 

2nd period: Suriano stands and is out in under 10 seconds. More collar ties and handfighting ensures. A minute left in the period, no scores are level changes. Suriano shoots a double, Pletcher gets his hips back through and they go out of bounds with 30 to go in the period. We go to the third, Suriano leading 3-0, he'll be on top.

3rd period: Pletcher tries to stand, they go out of bounds, no change. Spiral ride from Suriano keeping Pletcher on the mat. Pletcher no to his feet, walks out of bounds, Suriano follows, and they call stalling on Suriano. Restart in referee's position, Suriano gets riding time to 1:14 before Pletcher gets the escape to make ti 3-1. 40 seconds left in regulation. Pletcher trying to get on his offense but Suriano won't let him through his head and hands defense. Riding time is locked up as we go to the final 10. And that will do it. Suriano wins his first ever Big Ten Championship over All-American Luke Pletcher. The crowd goes wild, but I suspect that is because Ethan Lizak just got the victory over Austin DeSanto on the neighboring mat. 

Nevertheless, Rutgers has a champion, and they'll have a chance for number two at 149, in another finals matchup between the state school of NJ and Ohio State. 


141: #3 Joey McKenna (Ohio State) vs Chad Red (Nebraska)

1st period: Red was the surprise finalist. He was an All-American last season but was not ranked coming into the tournament. Red beat the #1 seed Mikey Carr and the #5 seed Kanen Storr to get here. McKenna in on the first shot, and after a scramble McKenna will come out on top with the first takedown and a two point lead. Red escapes fairly easily but McKenna stays on the attack. He finishes another shot for a 4-1 lead with 35 seconds left in the period. Red with some acrobatic granbies but McKenna adroitly follows. McKenna rides out the first and has 1:01 of RT. 

2nd period: McKenna goes underneath to start the second stanza. Red putting together a solid ride, but about a minute into the period McKenna his a slick granby and comes out splitting Red's legs. McKenna gets the reversal and a couple of nearfall points. He takes a commanding 8-1 lead and starts racking up the RT again. 

3rd period: Red starts the final period of regulation on bottom with a lot of ground to make up if he wants to get back in this match. Red escapes with 80 seconds to work. McKenna has 1:38 of riding time and a 6 point lead. McKenna in on a shot, Red defends, but he's wasting a lot of time in the scramble. Time will expire and Joey McKenna is a Big Ten Champion. He wains 9-2, as New Jersey natives have swept the first three weights. 


149: #1 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) vs #2 Micah Jordan (Ohio State)

1st period: Ashnault won the first meeting between him and Micah in the finals of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. No scores after a minute of action in the rematch. Jordan with a head inside single, Ashnault drapes over the top, now trying to sit the corner, and we get a stalemate with 1:03 on the clock. Another shot by Jordan, Ashnault sprawls out of danger but could be in danger of getting hit with a stall warning. Three minutes go by without any points being scores. 

2nd period: Jordan chooses neutral in the second period. Jordan with another shot and a half to start the period. Jordan in on a double with a minute left but Ashnault defends. Another shot by Jordan and there comes the first stall call on Ashnault. 30 seconds left in period. Jordan shoots again and Ashnault blitzes him on the reattack to score the first points on the match. Ashnault rides out for 26 seconds and takes a 2-0 lead to the third. 

3rd period: Ashnault chooses down. A fresh 2 minutes on the scoreboard. Jordan cuts Ashnault immediately, giving Anthony a 3-0 lead. Ashnault takes a shot and this time it's Jordan who was ready with the counter. A near pancake but Ahsnault bellies out to just give up two. That makes it 3-2. Jordan cuts Ashnault again on the restart, and then hits a low attack for two more. Jordan goes to cut Ashnault on the restart, but Ashanult turns into to grab a leg. He's going for two not one. Jordan kicking, Ashnault handing on by shoelaces. Finally Ashnault gets the two. It's 6-4. Jordan needs to escape. He does, it's 6-5 with about 40 seconds to go, plenty of time. Jordan in on a shot, Ashnault sits the corner, he locks in a cradle to take the 8-5 lead in short time. Ashnault chewing clock. They go out of bounds and there's a restart with 10 left. Jordan gets out, but time runs out and Rutgers gets their second Big Ten Champion! Jersey natives go four for four in the finals. That streak will come to an end next weight class, though.


157: #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs #2 Tyler Berger (Nebraska)

1st period: Nolf begins his final Big Ten finals match with a quick takedown. He is a heavy, heavy favorite to win what will be just his second Big Ten title. Catch and release in effect early. Its 4-1 Nolf over Beger with two minutes to go in the first period. Action slowing down somewhat as after Berger gets cut on a restart we get no scores for the rest of the period. 

2nd period: Nolf starts on top in the second. He's looking for that cross face cradle he's used on so many other opponents. Berger gets to his feet but Nolf back tripped him. On the next stand attempt, Berger lets him go and promptly takes him down a few seconds later. It's 6-3, riding time isn't quite locked up but it will be. 

3rd period: Nolf gets a turn on bottom. Nolf escapes and gets two more to make it 9-3. Berger is out and it's 9-4. 22 seconds remaining. Another single leg and finish and it's 11-4. Nolf will get the rideout and wins by major decision. Penn State gets their first Big Ten Champ of the season, though I do not think it will be their last. 


165: #1 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) vs #2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa)

1st period: This is one of the big one. Both studs are currently undefeated on the season. That will change by the end of this match. Marinelli goes for a high crotch right after the whistle but it's defended. Marinelli back in on the attack on the restart but a challenge brick comes from the PSU corner, they want a hands to the face. They are denied, and back to neutral we go. Marinelli goes again to the elbow-post hi-c but Cenzo sinks his hips and stops Marinelli dead in his tracks. Cenzo trying to tighten up an upper body tie but Marinellu wants nothing to do with it and wrestle out of it. Sweep single from Marinellu this time and he's got Cenzo's leg in the air, but the powerful Joseph kicks out of danger. Back in neutral, 40 seconds left in the period. Another hi-c from Marinelli, and there's the stall warning on Joseph. Marinelli scores but once again Cenzo's defense is too tough. We go to the second after an eventful but scoreless first. 

2nd period: Joseph starts on bottom and escapes without much difficulty. A duck from Marinelli, he's got a body lock, Cenzo is okay with an upper body battle and they're in a 50/50 position. They go to the mat, both on their side, Alex gets the leverage though and he's got Joseph on his back! It's at least 2, now swipes coming, will we get a fall? No, but it is a 6 point move! Cenzo escapes after the restart and it's 6-2 as we go to the final period.

3rd period: Marinelli's turn on bottom. Marinelli escapes to make it a 7-2 match. 90 seconds remaining in the match. That body lock was huge for Marinelli. They're back in upper body ties, Cenzo going for broke Inside trip, Marinelli could be in trouble, but he peaks out just in time and slips around for two. It's 9-2 with 37 seconds to go, Alex in full command of the match. The Iowa fans, of which there are many, go wild. Cenzo charging ahead, Marinelli has his skates on but he'll gladly eat any stall calls right now. Joseph frustrated, Marinelli celebrating as time runs out. Iowa finally gets their first champ of the year, as Vincenzo Joseph is denied a Big Ten title for the third year in a row and takes his first loss of the season. I am very much looking forward to a potential rematch in Pittsburgh.


174: #1 Mark Hall (Penn State) vs #4 Myles Amine (Michigan)

1st period: Hall is 3-0 lifetime against Amine, but each one of those victories came by just a single point. Hall takes the first solid shot, in on Amine's left leg, but Amine sits on it with a whizzer in and action is stalemated. Back to neutral, 90 seconds left in the first. Hall back in on a shot, trying to come out the back door. Amine dives for far ankles but Hall wins the scramble and the Nittany Lion takes the 2-0 lead. Amine escapes to chop the lead in half. No scores for the rest of the period. 

2nd period: Amine starts underneath, works his way up to his feet on the whistle but Hall brings him back to the mat. The second stand attempt is also denied but the third does the trick and Amine knots the score at 2-2. Riding time at 40 seconds in favor of Hall. 50 seconds left in the period. The second period expires and the score is still 2-2. 

3rd period: Hall gets to try bottom out, and escapes after 22 seconds to regain the lead. It's 3-2 with a little over a minute left in regulation. Amine on the attack, has Hall on his heels, now a reattack from Hall. We get a restart with 26 seconds to go, Hall with the 1 point lead, RT not a factor. Amine with his best shot of the match, but it comes with only 10 seconds left on the clock. Hall uses a whizzer, some flexible hips and positioning to deny Amine. Hall wins another Big Ten title for the Lions in yet another one-point victory.

In the post-match interview with BTN's Shane Sparks, Mark Hall calls out FloWrestling, busts out a recorder, and plays a smooth melody. As per the terms of a Twitter bet, FloWrestling will very gladly donate $400 to #THON, a Penn State affiliated charity. Mark Hall is the man. 


184: #1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) vs #7 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State)

Shakur Rasheed will medically default and Myles Martin will win a Big Ten title in the most anticlimactic way possible. The sell out crowd in Williams Arena was slightly less than thrilled. 


197: #1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) vs #2 Kollin Moore (Ohio State)

1st period: Nickal pinned Moore in the first period of their earlier meeting in a dual meet this season. Some fierce handfighting and pummelling but no shots for the first 90 seconds. Nickal now changes levels and gets through Moore's defenses. Nickal finishes cleanly and slaps in a half ride. Nicka alternating half and claw as he rides out the period. 

2nd period: Nickal starts the second underneath with a 2-0 lead. He escapes without much difficulty to make it 3-0. Moore shoots in, trying to bull Nickal over, but Nickal weathers the storm and his an expertly times ankle pick reattack to collect to more. Nickal gets to his ride again and Moore gets dinged for stalling. Moore escapes. An insanely heavy snap down from Nickal is followed up by a go behind in short time to make it 7-1. 

3rd period: Moore is on bottom and gets out relatively easily. That makes it 7-2 but Nickal has 1:55 of RT, which is... now locked up. Another takedown from Nickal and we're in major decision territory. Moore escapes, and we're back down to a 7 point lead for Bo. Moore keeps fighting for points until the last second, but it's a 10-3 decision as Bo Nickal becomes Penn State's third Big Ten champion.


285: #1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs #3 Anthony Cassar (Penn State)

1st period: 18-year-old Gable Steveson is undefeated in his true freshman year at Minnesota, but he has never wrestled Anthony Cassar, who is 21-1 at heavyweight. Cassar's one loss came at the hands of Derek White of Oklahoma State. Steveson beat White 8-2 in an early season dual meet. A lot of Minnesota fans are staying in the arena for this one. They like their young heavyweight very much. Lots of collar ties but not much action after 60 seconds. No action after 120 or 180 seconds either. The first period ends 0-0. 

2nd period: Gable starts underneath. He stands and Cassar kicks him loose after 5 seconds. Steveson with the slim 1-0 lead. 1:55 of second period wrestling is a lot like those three minutes of first period wrestling. We go to the third period, still 1-0 Steveson. 

3rd period: Cassar is on bottom and he's up and out in three seconds. Gable digs some underhooks and Cassar walks backwards out of bounds. The refs notice and ding Cassar with a stall warning. Steveson his a duckunder, is behind Cassar, lifts and returns Cassar to the mat with a massive boom. The crowd loves it. Cassar escapes. Under a minute to go. Under thirty. Cassar his a double, he finishes and takes the lead. The Penn State contingent is going nuts! Cassar has a 4-3 lead, Steveson stands, tries to cartwheel free, Cassar follows. They go out of bounds. Just 2 seconds left on the clock. 2 seconds is not enough time, Cassar with the upset! He hands the young phenom the first lost of his career! Impressive performance from Anthony Cassar!

So that makes six 2019 Big Ten champs form the Garden State. Not bad Jersey. 

And that will do it for the finals. I thank you all so much for being the most wonderful sports fans on the planet and following along. And thanks Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota. Now it's on to Pittsburgh. See you all there!