IOWA CITY – Seniors Spencer Lee, Max Murin and Jacob Warner all posted Senior Day wins to lead the second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team to a 28-7 victory over No. 6 Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes won the first six bouts and eight of 10 matches overall to finish the regular season with a 15-1 dual record. Iowa posted two bonus point wins and won four matches decided by two points or less on the day.
“Winning close matches is important,” said head coach Tom Brands. “Getting your hand raised the right way is important. There are always things you’re not satisfied about. Two guys didn’t get the W, but they still have to move forward because it’s the postseason.
“We want to emphasize that we’re a dominant team and sometimes dominant wrestlers have to win close matches. Before the match I said the order is different, nothing else is changed. It’s simple, do what you do best. This time of the year, it’s even more important to do what you do best.”
Starting at 165 pounds, No. 9 Patrick Kennedy opened the dual with a 7-4 win over Wyatt Sheets to open the dual. The Minnesota native had one takedown in the first, trailed 3-2 after two and used two takedowns in the third to ice the match. Kennedy has won four straight matches to improve to 16-2 overall.
No. 16 Nelson Brands followed with a gritty 3-2 victory over No. 7 Dustin Plott at 174. Brands used a second-period takedown to take the lead and his third period escape was the difference as he posted his highest ranked win since 2021. The Iowa City, Iowa, native is 6-4 overall with two ranked wins.
In his first match in nearly a month, No. 11 Abe Assad posted a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Travis Wittlake at 184. After giving up a second-period reversal, the Illinois native had an escape and a key takedown with three seconds left in the period before using a third-period escape to give him the 4-2 win. The victory was Assad’s 15th of the season.
“I hadn’t wrestled a lot live in the weeks I had off,” said Assad. “It was my first time with really hard wrestling, the first period I was a little slow, but I got in my groove a little and I was being stingy. That’s what is going to take to win close matches, I’ve said that for a long time and I have come along way in close matches.”
At 197, Warner, ranked 11th, ended his career in Carver with a 3-2 victory over No. 19 Luke Surber. After giving up a first-period takedown, Warner rode out Surber in the second before getting point for locked hands and an escape in the third to win the match. The Illinois native is 13-4 this season with three ranked wins.
Warner finishes his career with a 19-4 record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
In the final bout before intermission, No. 3 Tony Cassioppi posted a dominating 4-0 victory over Konner Doucet at heavyweight. Cassioppi had a first period takedown, rode out the Cowboy in the second and finished the match with 2:16 of riding time in a 4-0 win. The Illinois native is 17-2 this season.
Coming out of the break, Lee made quick work of Reese Witcraft at 125. The Pennsylvania native pinned the Cowboy in 51 seconds for his eighth fall of the season and 34th of his career. The fall was Lee’s 28th career first-period pin and 11th fall in under one minute.
Lee has now won 52 consecutive matches dating back to the 2019 season and he finishes his career with a 26-0 record in Carver.
“He kind of ducked me and I cartwheeled over him and caught his head and planted him to his back,” said Lee. “I don’t think it has hit me (that this was my last match in CHA). For me, the first thing I said off the mat was Big Tens.
“(After the pin) I was going to run off the mat, business as usual. I realized, 2-3 steps before the mat ended that that was it. That was the last time I was going to be on that mat ever. I gave the heart sign to thank all the fans for being there for me. It was awesome.”
After Oklahoma State got on the board by virtue of No. 2 Daton Fix’s 11-3 major decision victory over No. 15 Brody Teske at 133, the Hawkeyes won two of the final three matches.
No. 2 Real Woods had a takedown, a stall point and a four-point near fall in the first to build a 7-0 lead over No. 13 Carter Young at 141. The New Mexico native went on to blank Young by an 11-0 major decision to improve to 13-0 this season. It was Woods’ seventh ranked win this season.
Murin followed with a 4-3 victory over No. 18 Victor Voinovich at 149. After surrendering the first takedown, Murin had an escape and takedown to take a 3-2 lead into the second. The Cowboy tied the match with an escape in the second, but Murin’s third-period escape gave him a 4-3 win – his 17th of the season, tying a career high.
Oklahoma State won the final match of the dual – a 3-2 win by No. 11 Kaden Gfeller over No. 13 Cobe Siebrecht at 157 in the first tiebreaker.
The Hawkeyes finished the season with an 8-0 record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is the 24th undefeated home record in CHA in program history.
The win was Iowa’s third straight in the series over Oklahoma State, where it has an 85-23 advantage. The Hawkeyes have won the duals by an average of 21.0 points.
Lee, Murin and Warner finished their career with a 63-10 record in CHA and the team went 38-2 in duals during their careers.
#2 Iowa 28, #6 Oklahoma State 7
165 – #9 Patrick Kennedy (UI) dec. Wyatt Sheets (OSU), 7-4; 3-0
174 – #16 Nelson Brands (UI) dec. #7 Dustin Plott (OSU), 3-2; 6-0
184 – #11 Abe Assad (UI) dec. #10 Travis Wittlake (OSU), 4-2; 9-0
197 – #11 Jacob Warner (UI) dec. #19 Luke Surber (OSU), 3-2; 12-0
285 – #3 Tony Cassioppi (UI) dec. Konner Doucet (OSU), 4-0; 15-0
125 – #1 Spencer Lee (UI) pinned Reese Witcraft (OSU), 0:51; 21-0
133 – #2 Daton Fix (OSU) major dec. #15 Brody Tekse (UI), 11-3; 21-4
141 – #2 Real Woods (UI) major dec. #13 Carter Young (OSU), 11-0; 25-4
149 – #10 Max Murin (UI) dec. #18 Victor Voinovich (OSU), 4-3; 28-4
157 – #11 Kaden Gfeller (OSU) dec. #13 Cobe Siebrecht (UI), 3-2 (TB1); 28-7
Officials: Angel Rivera, Jay Cox
The Hawkeyes will begin the postseason on March 4-5, traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the 2023 Big Ten Championships.