March 5, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With two sessions of competition in the books, the second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team is in second place in the team race at the 2011 Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Ill. The Hawkeyes, who have four wrestlers in the championship finals and another five still competing in the consolation bracket, tallied 109 points in the first two sessions of competition. Iowa trails team leader Penn State (110.5) by 1.5 points. Minnesota is in third with 96.5. The Nittany Lions have five finalists and four competitors in the wrestlebacks, while Minnesota has three in the finals and six in the consolations.
Advancing to the championship finals with wins in their semifinal bouts were sophomore Matt McDonough (125), redshirt freshman Derek St. John (157), senior Luke Lofthouse (197) and junior Blake Rasing (Hwt.). McDonough will be making his second straight Big Ten finals appearance, while St. John, Lofthouse and Rasing will be wrestling in their first.
McDonough advanced to the finals by pinning #5 seed Sean Boyle of Michigan in 1:24. The pin was McDonough's 13th of the season and his 11th straight victory. The top seeded Hawkeye sophomore will face #2 seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern in the finals. Precin handed McDonough his only loss of the season, winning a 3-1 decision at the 2010 Midlands finals. McDonough won the pair's last meeting, pinning Precin in 6:11 at the Iowa-Northwestern dual in January.
St. John, who is seeded second at 157, picked up his seventh straight win with a 5-2 decision over Northwestern's Jason Welch, who is seeded third. Welch scored a takedown in the first period to take a 2-0 lead, but St. John scored escapes in the first and second periods to tie things up. The Hawkeye redshirt freshman added a takedown in the second period and picked up the riding time point after riding Welch the entire third period for the win. St. John will face top seed David Taylor of Penn State in the finals. Taylor won their previous meeting, 12-4, at the Iowa-Penn State dual in January.
Lofthouse posted his 20th season victory with a 9-3 decision over #6 Logan Brown of Purdue in the semifinals. Lofthouse, who is seeded second and has won his last nine bouts, will face top seed Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin in the finals. Brandvold posted a 4-2 decision over Lofthouse in their only meeting at last season's Iowa-Wisconsin dual.
Rasing, who is seeded third, posted his fifth straight victory with a 2-0 decision over #7 Joe Rizqallah of Michigan State. After a scoreless first period, Rasing escaped in the second and rode Rizqallah the entire third to earn an extra point for riding time. The Hawkeye junior will face #4 Tony Nelson of Minnesota in the finals. Rasing is 2-0 against Nelson, including a 4-2 decision in their last meeting Feb. 20 at the Iowa-Minnesota dual.
Hawkeye redshirt freshmen Tony Ramos (133) and Ethen Lofthouse (174), junior Montell Marion (141), senior Aaron Janssen (165) and sophomore Grant Gambrall (184) lost their semifinal bouts, but are still alive in the tournament's consolation bracket.Three of Iowa's semifinal losses came in overtime and four were decided by two points or less.
Hawkeye sophomore Mark Ballweg (149) was eliminated from the tournament following a 7-3 loss to #5 Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin in the consolation first round. Ballweg must now earn one of the 48 at-large bids in order to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The at-large selections will be announced March 9 at 5 p.m. (CT) on NCAA.com.
The Hawkeyes have qualified eight wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. The Big Ten was allotted five automatic qualifiers at 165 pounds, so Janssen will have to place fifth or higher to automatically advance.
Sunday's consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (CT) at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena, with the championship finals, third-place and fifth-place matches getting underway at approximately 3 p.m. The Big Ten Network will air a live broadcast of the championships finals, with Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Lee Kemp calling the action. Hawkeye fans can listen to Steven Grace and former Hawkeye two-time NCAA champion and four-time all-American Mark Ironside call the action live on AM-800 KXIC Radio in Iowa City or www.hawkeyesports.com using the XXL All-Access Subscription. Live results and updated tournament brackets will be available throughout the championships at www.bigten.org and www.nusports.com.
BIG TEN TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SESSION TWO
Place Team - Points
1. Penn State - 110.5
2. Iowa - 109
3. Minnesota - 96.5
4. Wisconsin - 85.5
5. Michigan - 73
6. Northwestern - 53
7. Ohio State - 52.5
8. Illinois - 51
9. Purdue - 44.5
10. Michigan State - 38.5
11. Indiana - 35.5
IOWA'S BIG TEN SESSION TWO RESULTS (# indicates tournament seed)
125 - #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) pinned #5 Sean Boyle (Michigan), 1:24
133 - #2 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) dec. #3 Tony Ramos (Iowa), 3-1 SV-2
141 - #3 Mike Thorn (Minnesota) dec. #2 Montell Marion (I), 7-5 SV
157 - #2 Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. #3 Jason Welch (Northwestern), 5-2
165 - #1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) dec. #4 Aaron Janssen (Iowa), 3-2 TB
174 - #1 Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. #5 Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 3-2
184 - #2 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) dec. #3 Grant Gambrall (Iowa), 4-1
197 - #2 Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) dec. #6 Logan Brown (Purdue), 9-3
Hwt. - #3 Blake Rasing (Iowa) dec. #7 Joe Rizqallah (Michigan State), 2-0
149 - #5 Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin) dec. Mark Ballweg (Iowa), 7-3
IOWA'S BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS MATCH-UPS (# indicates tournament seed)
125 - #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. #2 Brandon Precin (Northwestern)
157 - #2 Derek St. John (Iowa) vs. #1 David Taylor (Penn State)
197 - #2 Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) vs. #1 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin)
Hwt. - #3 Blake Rasing (Iowa) vs. #4 Tony Nelson (Minnesota)