March 3, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The University of Iowa wrestling team advanced six wrestlers to tomorrow's Big Ten Championships finals following semifinal competition at today's conference tournament. The Hawkeyes went 6-2 in the semifinals, including 2-1 in overtime bouts.
Matt McDonough (125), Tony Ramos (133), Montell Marion (141), Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (165) and Bobby Telford (285) will compete for Big Ten titles tomorrow at 3 p.m. (ET). The event will be televised live on BTN.
"We have six guys in the finals and we need to take care of business tomorrow," said head coach Tom Brands. "We need to be ready to wrestle. We need to get tough and we need to win championships."
Junior Matt McDonough will return to the Big Ten championship match for the third straight year following a 4-3 decision over Illinois' fourth-seeded Jesse Delgado in the 125-pound bracket. McDonough found himself down 1-0 heading into the third. After a quick escape, he posted the bout's only takedown to grab a lead that he wouldn't lose. McDonough will face Minnesota's second-seeded Zach Sanders in the finals. The defending Big Ten champion owns a career record of 6-0 against Sanders with two of those wins coming this season.
Sophomore Tony Ramos will make his first appearance in the Big Ten finals after topping Illinois' third-seeded junior, B.J. Futrell. Ramos scored a takedown in the second and third periods to record his fifth consecutive win over Futrell. Ramos will see the 133-pound bracket's top seed, Logan Stieber of Ohio State, in the finals. Their only previous meeting came during a dual this season where Stieber finished on top, 7-0.
Montell Marion will also compete in the first Big Ten finals match of his career. The third-seeded senior earned a thrilling 3-1 sudden death victory over Ohio State's second-seeded Hunter Stieber. With an escape apiece, Marion and Stieber went into sudden victory tied 1-1. With a takedown 31 seconds into the period, Marion earned a chance to wrestle for the 141-pound title Sunday evening. Marion's win avenged a 4-2 loss in their only other meeting earlier this season. He will take on Michigan's top-seeded Kellen Russell in the finals.
Sophomore Derek St. John will return to the 157-pound title match after his second sudden victory win of the tournament. With just six matches under his belt after returning from a knee injury, St. John upset Penn State's second-seeded Dylan Alton. Similar to the Marion/Stieber match-up, the bout went into sudden victory tied 1-1. St. John earned the takedown 27 seconds into the period to punch his ticket into the finals for a second consecutive year. He will go up against top-seeded Jason Welch of Northwestern. St. John has bested Welch in all three of their meetings, including a 3-0 decision at the 2011 Big Ten Championships.
Iowa's most dominating match of the session came from second-seeded redshirt freshman Mike Evans. The Enola, Pa., native dominated Nebraska's third-seeded Robert Kokesh to the tune of a 17-2 technical fall. Evans will see the 165-pound bracket's top seed, Penn State sophomore David Taylor, in the finals. Evans fell to Taylor, 9-4, earlier this season.
Redshirt freshman Bobby Telford earned an impressive semifinal victory, making him Iowa's sixth wrestler in the finals. With a 5-0 decision over Penn State's second-seeded Cameron Wade, Telford will compete for the title against Minnesota's top-seeded Tony Nelson. Coming into the tournament as the sixth seed, Telford ties fellow teammate St. John as the highest-seeded competitor to reach the finals.
Sophomore Ethen Lofthouse and junior Grant Gambrall both dropped their semifinal matches and will attempt to work their way back for third place during Sunday's third session. Lofthouse's setback came in a 6-2 sudden victory loss to second-seeded Logan Storley from Minnesota at 174. Gambrall ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 decision against Minnesota's No. 1 seed, Kevin Steinhaus at 184.
Senior Vinnie Wagner put a cap on his Iowa career with a 6-4 loss to Nebraska's James Nakashima in the consolation bracket. Redshirt freshman Michael Kelly was eliminated from the tournament following a 14-7 loss to Northwestern's Kaleb Friedley. With nine automatic bids up for grabs at 149 pounds, Kelly returned to the mat in a four-person wrestle-off. Following a win over Nebraska's Skylar Galloway, Kelly will have a chance to earn the Big Ten's final automatic berth. He'll face Michigan State's Don Osterman at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
BIG TEN TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SESSION ONE
Place Team - Points
1. Minnesota - 117.0
2. Iowa - 112.5
3. Penn State - 111.0
4. Illinois - 81.5
5. Ohio State - 76
6. Northwestern - 61.5
7. Nebraska - 56.5
8. Michigan - 50.0
9. Purdue - 47.5
10. Indiana - 35.5
Michigan State - 35.5
12. Wisconsin - 9.0
IOWA'S BIG TEN SESSION ONE RESULTS (# indicates tournament seed)
149 - #8 Kaleb Friedley (Northwestern) def. #10 Michael Kelly (Iowa), 14-7
197 - #7 James Nakashima (Nebraska) def. Vinnie Wagner (Iowa), 6-4
125 - #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) def. #4 Jesse Delgado (Illinois), 4-3
133 - #2 Tony Ramos (Iowa) def. #3 B.J. Futrell (Illinois), 6-1
141 - #3 Montell Marion (Iowa) def. #2 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State), 3-1 (SV1)
157 - #6 Derek St. John (Iowa) def. #2 Dylan Alton (Penn State), 3-1 (SV1)
165 - #2 Mike Evans (Iowa) tech. fall #3 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska), 17-2
174 - #2 Logan Storley (Minnesota) def. #3 Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 6-2 (SV1)
184 - #1 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) def. #4 Grant Gambrall (Iowa), 3-2
Hwt. - #6 Bobby Telford (Iowa) def. #2 Cameron Wade (Penn State), 5-0
IOWA'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH-UPS
125 - #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. #2 Zach Sanders (Minnesota)
133 - #3 Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State)
141 - #3 Montell Marion (Iowa) vs. #1 Kellen Russell (Michigan)
157 - #6 Derek St. John (Iowa) vs. #1 Jason Welch (Northwestern)
165 - #2 Mike Evans (Iowa) vs. #1 David Taylor (Penn State)
Hwt. - #6 Bobby Telford (Iowa) vs. #1 Tony Nelson (Minnesota)