InterMat Wrestling – Big Ten Spotlight Matchup: 165 lbs #1 Alex Marinelli vs #7 Carson Kharchla

Alex Marinelli (left) and Carson Karchilla (Photos/Sam Janicki;

When the Iowa Hawkeyes head east to meet Ohio State tonight, it’s going to be a kind of homecoming for 165 liber, Alex Marinelli. He graduated in his sixth year from Graham High School in Saint Paris, Ohio and became one of the best recruits for the 2016 high school class while wrestling in Ohio.

Marinelli won four Ohio State DII titles for Graham and helped lead the school to number one in the country as a freshman. Prior to this junior season, Marinelli gave a verbal commitment to the home team, the Buckeyes. After a few months, he changed his mind and committed to Tom Brands’ Hawkeyes.

Now, nearly six years later, Marinelli will compete on the Ohio State campus for only the second time. The nation’s 165th Libra has never lost to a competitor from Buckeye and is looking to keep that streak unchanged against seventh seed Carson Kharchilla.

Like Marinelli, Kharchla is a producer in Ohio and was seen as one of the country’s seniors upon graduating from high school. Kharchila receives his first taste of Big Ten, having fallen behind in the 2019-20 season and suffering a season-ending injury before last season.

Despite a long history of success at the university level (three top ten titles and three number one titles nationally), Marinelli must have been full of Caricella. Buckeye took 15-1 of the year, with his only semifinal loss from the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational to NCAA Champion holder, Shane Griffith (Stanford), by one point. Griffiths is the same opponent who upset Marinelli in the NCAA quarter-finals, last season. Kharchila has already won by defeating Griffith’s NCAA Finals competitor, Jake Wenzel (Pittsburgh), out of 15 victories.

Stylistically, this should be an interesting match. Kharchila is a buxom muscular one, she struggled with Griffith’s height. Marinelli has a body type more similar to his Friday night opponent. Hawkeye also thrives on his physicality and ability to bully his rivals around the rug. Perhaps this did not happen with Karchla.

Marinelli’s 14-0 start set a career record of 87-10, only one loss coming in a double competition (Vincenzo Joseph in January 2020). Incidentally, the schedule is broken so far, Marinelli hasn’t faced any of the main contenders at 165 lbs. His highest ranked opponent was #24 Brian Mayer (Lehigh). Although he won by a one-point decision over teammate Patrick Kennedy (Iowa), who would likely be a contender if he were the Hawkeyes player.

So, will Marinelli maintain his highest billing at 165 pounds in his home state, or will Kharchila continue to climb into the weight class and signal a potential Ranger change in the Congress’ power structure? We’ll have to tune in to the second half of the Big Ten doubleheader tonight!

125 lbs

#10 Drake Ayala (Iowa) vs. #18 Malik Henselmann (Ohio).

Hawkeye’s real new student, Ayala, continues his audition with an Ohio veteran, Heinselman. Expect a lot of humiliation here, as Ayala has the speed and gas tank, which will force action in the match. Can he beat the cunning of Heinselmann?

133 lbs

#3 Austin DeSanto/Colan Shriver (Iowa) vs. Will Bentancourt (Ohio State)

The big news regarding Hawkeye last week was that Cullan Schriever had been included in the starting line-up and his red shirt had been pulled. Since then, there has been little clarity regarding the situation. If American Austin DeSanto goes twice, Iowa can look for bonus points, while if Shriver, he should have a competitive match with Bentancourt.

141 lbs

#2 Jayden Ehrman/Drew Bennett (Iowa) vs. #23 Dylan De Emilio (Ohio State)

Once again, we could see a multi-time All-American debut in Iowa or the new face of Drew Bennett. Drew claimed his first double win last weekend against Illinois. If there is no Eierman, the advantage swings to Ohio State, as they have the 2021 NCAA Dylan D’Emilio qualifier. Dylan made a tough game for All-American Stevan Micic three times during his last run.

149 lbs

#10 Max Morin (Iowa) vs #2 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State)

Despite the close arrangement, the only time these two met during a team competition, Sami Sasso was victorious in the fall. Sasso, the 2021 Big Ten champion, has been nearly perfect this year, losing only to two-time National Champion Yanni Diacomallis at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Finals. Maureen is back in the top 10 after beating third-placed Yahya Thomas in 2021.

157 lbs

#12 Caleb Young (Iowa) vs. Jason Hubbard (Ohio State)

Iowa and Caleb Young may never make excuses, but he was the victim of a tough period on the schedule from mid-November through December. Young lost five of his seven matches, although all five were to wrestle in the top 11 nationally. Now, without such a cumbersome group of opponents, Young had three straight victories. Jashon Hubbard is knocking out last weekend’s title at the Purple Raider Open. His best double win of the season came against former teammate Elijah Cleary, who won the MatMen Open.

174 lbs

#2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. #7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State)

After the title match, it wasn’t time for the popcorn break because the next best match on the agenda is ready. It took Michael Kemerer a while to get back to Iowa, but he’s been excellent so far. It’s 4-0 with two falls and with technology. However, seeing Ethan Smith would be a huge leap forward in the competition. Smith is an All-American returner and already has three losses in the year. Don’t be fooled by this number. It’s a function of his competition as the three came up against the top six wrestlers.

184 lbs

#18 Abi Asaad (Iowa) vs. #7 Caleb Romero (Ohio)

Abby Lion and Caleb Romero both took time to join the squad, but both were worth the wait. The Lion had a four-game winning streak with wins over a pair of playoffs returning during that time. Romero, Olympic bronze medalist, pushed Miles Amin to the brink of the brink during Friday’s bout, before collapsing with a surprise victory. Buckeye made his season debut at the CKLV Invitational and knocked out the title.

197 lbs

#4 Jacob Warner (Iowa) vs. #20 Gavin Hoffman (Ohio State)

Jacob Warner’s seven-game winning streak has lifted the two-time NCAA All-American to fourth this week. This will be the first encounter between Warner and Hoffman, who are both huge recruits with international experience at their side. Warner took Bronze at the Cadet World in 2016 with a weight of 85 kg. A year later, Hoffman repeated the feat with the same weight.

285 lbs

#5 Tony Cassiope (Iowa) vs. No. 12 Tate Orndorf (Ohio State).

A clash between a pair of returning Americans will end the duo. Despite the high rankings and US honors for 2021, Orndorff struggled to compete with the big man at Iowa. The duo tangled three times in 2021 and all three times, Cassioppi came out on top, with bonus points per game. Should Ohio State pull off a surprise or two and keep things close en route to the final, Brands and the company have an ace in the hole.

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