Marr gets hot at perfect time

by Sarah Mitchell

This weekend might leave Gophers wrestler Troy Marr smiling a bit more often.
The senior seems to be hitting his stride just in time for the Big Ten tournament, and has a pair of wins from the team’s two home dual meets against No. 7 Illinois and Ohio State to prove it.
“Marr just keeps on getting better,” junior Delaney Berger said. “It’s great.”
Marr climbed a psychological mountain on Sunday, defeating the Buckeyes Jeff Bucher 2-1 in double overtime. The Gophers grappler had never beaten Bucher in three previous matches.
But in the mind of Ohio State coach Russ Hellickson, controversy surrounded Marr’s victory.
In the first overtime, the referee made a premature call, signaling a takedown for Marr. Just as quickly as the referree waved his two fingers in the air, he pulled them down, ruling that Marr didn’t have the takedown.
Marr, however, saw the takedown signal and slowed down. But Bucher kept on going.
“I stopped wrestling, wanted to get up and wondered why he kept hanging on to me,” Marr said. “Then I saw the call.”
As Marr attempted to get on his feet — not knowing the referee had withdrawn the takedown call — Bucher pulled Marr down for a takedown of his own. The referree awarded Bucher two points, which at the time gave him the win.
After talking with Gophers coaches, no points were awarded to Bucher.
“I don’t think you can change the call,” a visibly-upset Hellickson said of the takedown given to Bucher. “You wrestle until the whistle blows.”
Gophers coach J Robinson said he saw the situation differently.
“Marr changed everything when he saw the call,” Robinson said. “If you’re going to take the two points away from him then it makes sense to take the two away from Bucher. They wipe each other out.”
With the ruling made, the match went into a second overtime period. As the defensive wrestler, Marr escaped in 12 seconds to gain one point and secure the win.
“I blame the official,” Hellickson said. “Maybe he shouldn’t make his calls so fast. It’s a sad way to end a match between two very talented wrestlers.”
Marr’s win against Bucher ended a drought against the Buckeyes wrestler, but Marr’s victory on Friday showed the senior can compete with the nation’s top 149-pounders.
Facing Illinois, the 15th-ranked Marr upset No. 7 Adam Tirapelle 6-2. Down 2-1 in the third, Marr surged back behind an escape, a takedown and the riding-time advantage to defeat Tirapelle.
With the postseason approaching, Marr has started to give his team an emotional lift with victories like the ones he tallied this weekend.
“It’s inspiring. Marr just keeps on getting better,” Berger said. “He didn’t just beat the other guy, he broke him. It just makes you want to smile.”