Alex Marinelli has been a staple title contender at the 165lb weight class. He has been the #1 seed 3 times and the 2 times the tournament actually happened he was upset in the quarters by an 8 seed. In 2019 he was stunned by Mekhi Lewis in the quarters who went on to defeat Evan Wick of Wisconsin, and finally 2x NCAA Champion Vincenzo Joseph in the finals. In 2021 he was stunned by Shane Griffith who went on to win a National title as well defeating Jake Wentzel in the finals.
Marinelli has been consistently the most impressive 165 pounder in the country throughout the regular season but has failed to be able to put it together in the post season numerous times. This is his last run, what does he need to do to get it done?
Just my thoughts looking at Iowa’s entire lineup they peak too early. This includes everyone, yes Spencer Lee also even though he won. My main reasoning for this is other schools are great at making adjustments and a good amount of them have so much injuries and other things plus fatigue by the time nationals roll around it is hard to replicate success. Spencer Lee won but even with that he was having closer matches. This is mostly due to the ACL tears that he had suffered prior, even that being said he was much more dominant and just started to look fatigued throughout the tournament where I have never seen him look that way.
Now let us talk about the competition. Mekhi Lewis and Shane Griffith have to be the main guys here. However they both said they would be bumping up a weight which seems interesting looking how stacked that would make 174 pounds with Starocci, Kemerer, Valencia and now Griffith and Lewis. It seems logical that one of them would move down a weight and maintain their title chances. A guy that is often going to get left out because of his transfer is Evan Wick who is from Cal Poly. He has wins over Marinelli in the past but Marinelli has had his number in the recent meetings, but just slightly by a point or so, and they were battles.
Predictions, I do in fact think it is finally going to be the year that Alex Marinelli puts together a national title run should Griffith not be in the weight class. I do believe that he can win the rematch against Mekhi Lewis should it go down and he should be fine against Jake Wentzel. Nonetheless it’s going to be a great tournament to watch and I can’t wait!