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Iowa wrestlers try to defend Big Ten title after long layoff

The top-ranked Iowa wrestling team will enter the Big Ten tournament this weekend after having not wrestled since Feb. 7.
Credit: AP
FILE - Iowa's Alex Marinelli, left, wrestles Ohio State's Ethan Smith at 165 pounds during a NCAA Big Ten Conference wrestling dual in Iowa City, Iowa, in this Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, file photo. The interruption to the season led to the cancellations of two duals, meaning the top-ranked Hawkeyes will go into the Big Ten championships having not competed since Feb. 7. The meet is Saturday and Sunday in State College, Pennsylvania. The Hawks won last year’s conference title and Marinelli, 125-pounder Spencer Lee and 149-pounder Pat Lugo took individual championships.(Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The top-ranked Iowa wrestling team will enter the Big Ten tournament this weekend after having not wrestled since Feb. 7. 

The defending conference champion Hawkeyes had to pause team activities for 10 days because of positive COVID-19 tests. 

During that time all the Hawkeyes could do was run outdoors to maintain their conditioning. The pause coincided with the record cold spell in the Midwest.

 Alex Marinelli says he couldn't imagine athletes in other sports going out for runs when the temperature was 15 degrees below zero. 

The Hawkeyes shared the Big Ten regular-season title with Penn State.