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Lee is champion

Hawk Talk
Spencer Lee defeats Nick Suriano, 5-1, in the 125-pound NCAA championship on March 17 in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Darren Miller/hawkeyesports.com)

Spencer Lee took care of business at the NCAA wrestling championships in Cleveland last weekend. He capped of a five-match run with a 5-1 victory in the finals at 125 pounds.
Talk about domination.
Two technical falls, both were 18-0 wins.
Spencer followed that up with a pin over sixth-ranked Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State), and a pin over second-ranked Nathan Tomasello, who beat Spencer in the Big Ten championship, 3-2.
The finals saw Spencer jump out to a 5-0 lead over fourth-ranked Nick Suriano and won, 5-1.
How about Spencer scoring 60 points and giving up four?
The last time a true freshman for the Hawkeyes won the NCAA championship was Lincoln Mcllravy in 1983.
April 19, 2016, was a good day for Iowa wrestling.
The Hawks landed Spencer Lee, the No. 1 rated recruit in America.
Why Iowa?
“Number two, Tom Brands… number one, Terry Brands,” said Spencer. “Iowa has the two best lightweight coaches in the country… period.”
Spencer saw Iowa wrestle when he was in sixth grade and dreamed about being a Hawkeye even though he grew up in Pennsylvania.
There was actually some thought of redshirting Spencer as head coach Tom Brands has never let a true freshman wrestle… but no true freshman was ever quite like Spencer in the Brands era.
The last time Iowa got a number one recruit was in 2003 when Mark Perry came on board.
Mark was a two-time NCAA champion.
“He’s just workmanlike,” said assistant head coach Terry Brands. “He’s been raised right. He understands the fundamentals of the sport of wrestling, how to get better and move forward at a proper rate.”
Spencer accounted for 27 of Iowa’s 97 team points.

Brandon Sorenson, seeded second at 149, finished fifth.
I was a little disappointed that Brandon lost to a 15 seed in the second round until that 15 seed, Ronald Perry, made it to the finals.
Brandon is a four time All-American. There are only 19 other Hawkeyes that have achieved that feat. Brandon was fourth as a freshman, second as a sophomore and third last year.
Michael Kemerer, seeded sixth at 157, finished fourth.
Michael was hurt in his last match but wrestled up two seeds.
Alex Marinelli, seeded fifth at 165, placed sixth.
Alex is only a redshirt freshman and should get better.
Sam Stoll, seeded fifth at 285, finished fifth.
He also was awarded the Gorriaran Trophy for the wrestler who records the most pins in the least amount of time. Sam had three falls in a combined time of 8:50.
He finally finished the season without being injured.
Iowa finished the tournament with the most bonus points, including 10 pins, three tech falls and six major decisions.
That’s more like Iowa wrestling.
The Hawks have four All-Americans back next year and four more who qualified for the NCAA tournament.

There has been some talk about why Iowa can’t get back to the championship level.
One reason is the Big Ten Conference dominates wrestling like no other college sport. Since 1990, only one team outside the Big Ten has won the title.
Oklahoma State has six NCAA crowns, Iowa 12, Penn State eight, Minnesota three and Ohio State one since 1990.
The top four places this year were Penn State (141.5 points), Ohio State (134.5), Iowa (97.0) and Michigan (80.0).
No football, basketball, baseball, track or swimming conference has that kind of dominance.
Also back in the 1980s there were over 120 Division I wrestling programs. This season, there were 76 Division I wrestling schools. There is still a lot of talent out there and they are going to different schools, mostly the Big Ten.
Pennsylvania’s population is 12.8 million.
Ohio and Illinois’s population is 11.66 million.
Michigan’s population is 9.9 million.
Iowa’s population is 3.1 million.
Iowa produces good high school wrestlers, but doesn’t have the numbers to match the other Big Ten schools in any sport.
Finally, the Iowa mystique is not as strong as it was when Dan Gable coached the Hawkeyes from 1976-1997.
Iowa’s record was 355-21-6 under Gable.
Dan’s teams never lost a Big Ten championship, with 21 straight.
The team won 15 NCAA championships including nine in a row.
Now there are Iowa wrestlers, who wrestled under Gable, that have head coaching jobs including Tom Ryan at Ohio State, who was Tom Brands’ roommate at Iowa.