IOWA CITY – Sam Stoll didn’t expect to wrestle Saturday.
Those plans changed.
The senior took the mat for the first time this season for third-ranked Iowa and helped the Hawkeyes fight off determined Iowa State 19-18 in front of a crowd of 9,751 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The victory was the 15th straight for Iowa in the Cy-Hawk Series, but nothing came easily for the Hawkeyes against an in-state rival it handled by 29 points a year earlier.
"They had to play all their cards today," second-year ISU coach Kevin Dresser said.
Dresser liked the fight he saw in his team as the Cyclones didn’t give the Hawkeyes a choice, winning four of the dual’s first six matches to open a 15-9 lead.
"We did a lot of good things, but we didn’t get the win which is what we came here to do," Dresser said. "Our guys came here ready to go, ready to compete."
In a dual which started at 141 pounds, Iowa needed wins in season debuts by Jacob Warner at 197 pounds and Stoll at 285 to put Spencer Lee in a position to push the Hawkeyes in front 19-15 with a 13-4 major decision at 125.
Even then, the Hawkeyes’ Austin DeSanto found himself on his back and fighting off a pin attempt by the Cyclones’ Austin Gomez in the final 30 seconds of the meet before falling 14-9.
"That major by Spencer Lee, it almost got away, and it proved to be the difference in the meet," Iowa coach Tom Brands said. "We’ve got a lot of work to do."
Brands said initial plans for the dual did not include Stoll or DeSanto, but wins by the Cyclones’ Ian Parker at 141 and Sam Colbray at 184 in matches decided on scores in the final seven seconds and a victory by Jarrett Degen in tiebreaker one at 149 changed his original lineup.
Stoll gave his coach no choice.
"He made that call," Brands said. "I’m not real comfortable with that, but he wanted to go. He talked me into it. He was comfortable going out there and throwing himself against the rocks. It wasn’t about him. It was about doing what he could to help the team. I respect that."
Greeted by a thunderous ovation, Stoll collected a takedown 11 seconds into his first match of the season and went on to tie the team score at 15-15 with a 5-1 decision over Gannon Gremmel.
"This was the last State week of my career. I didn’t really expect to wrestle, but I didn’t want to just watch," Stoll said. "I was up for it. I was ready."
Working his way back from knee surgery, Stoll labeled the ovation "pretty exciting," and with Iowa trailing on the scoreboard when he took the mat he wanted to help the Hawkeyes build on the momentum Warner provided.
The highly touted redshirt freshman used a reversal with five seconds left in his match to upset the Cyclones’ fifth-rated Willie Miklus, 5-4.
"I knew time was running out. It was like ‘screw it, I have to do something,’" Warner said. "It was time to go win the match."
In addition to Lee opening an 11-1 lead after one period on his way to a major decision, the Hawkeyes (5-0) collected bonus points at 165 where Alex Marinelli pinned Brady Jennings in 4 minutes, 45 seconds.
"I’m trying to get bonus points every time I’m out there," Marinelli said. "I didn’t get that done last week (against Purdue) but this week, the work I put in paid off."
Marinelli said it was effort needed against Iowa State (1-1), which may have provided Iowa with an eye-opening lesson or two.
"They did everything they could, and we saw today how we need to be ready to go a full seven minutes in every match against every opponent," Marinelli said. "We’ve got to get that figured out."
Brands didn’t dispute that.
"We’ve got to get better in the third period," Brands said. "We’ve got to move forward in a lot more ways than just one."
In splitting 10 matches evenly with Iowa, the Cyclones picked up bonus points at 174 when Myles Wilson was forced to injury default to Marcus Coleman.
At a weight where Michael Kemerer is already sidelined by injury, Wilson was leading 4-3 after one period.
He toppled to the mat before the start of the second period and needed the help of trainers to return to his feet. Brands said Wilson wanted to continue, but medical personnel didn’t give him that option.