9 Hawkeyes in B1G Semifinals
March 9, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The fifth-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team is leading the 2013 Big Ten Championships with 79 points through the quarterfinals. The Hawkeyes were 13-1 in Saturday's opening session and advanced nine wrestlers to tonight's semifinals.
"I'm not sure where we're at but I know we won some big matches," said head coach Tom Brands. "We've got to keep it going and we've got to get tougher. We have big matches coming up and we need to solidify some things next round."
Penn State is in second place with 62 points and Minnesota sits in third with 49. The 2013 conference championships are being contested inside Illinois' Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill.
The Hawkeyes drew five pigtail matches and went 4-1 in the preliminary round with three falls. Second-seeded Tony Ramos recorded a pin in 2:02 over Michigan State's Brandon Fifield at 133 pounds. No. 3 seed Mark Ballweg pinned Indiana's Alex Gregory in 2:55 at 141, and top-seeded Derek St. John pinned Collin Zeerip of Michigan in 4:07 at 157. Iowa also picked up a decision from Nathan Burak. The freshman used 19 seconds of riding time to top Nebraska's Caleb Kolb in the second tiebreaker.
Iowa's lone loss was at 149, where sophomore Josh Dziewa dropped a 3-2 decision to fifth-seeded Andrew Alton from Penn State.
Iowa went a perfect 9-0 in the quarterfinals. Senior Matt McDonough got things started with a 5-4 decision at 125 pounds. The two-time Big Ten champion topped eighth-seeded Dom Malone from Northwestern. McDonough erased a 4-1 deficit and tied the match, 1-1, heading into the second period. He escaped in the second frame to grab a 5-4 lead and held on to the advantage by riding Malone out in the third.
Ramos scored three takedowns and compiled 1:19 riding time in a 9-5 decision of Purdue's Cashe Quiroga.
Ballweg used a pair of takedowns and 2:42 of riding time to beat Nebraska's Ridge Kiley, 6-1.
St. John scored a first period takedown and opened the second with a reversal to earn a 5-1 decision over Minnesota's Danny Zilverberg.
Fourth-seeded Nick Moore used a third period takedown to defeat Minnesota's Cody Yohn for the third time this season, 5-4.
In Iowa's most dominate quarterfinal match, second-seeded Mike Evans scored a major decision over Purdue's Chad Welch. Evans, who finished runner-up at the 2012 conference championships, compiled 3:16 riding time in the 12-3 win at 174 pounds.
Fifth-seeded junior Ethen Lofthouse atoned for a regular season loss by outlasting fourth-seeded John Rizqallah. Lofthouse's first period takedown held up in a 2-1 victory.
Burak won his quarterfinal match with a 3-2 decision over Illinois' returning Big Ten champion Mario Gonzalez. After trading escapes in the second and third period, Burak scored the winning takedown with 23 seconds remaining to advance to the semifinals.
"I threw my head in quick and went for the corner," said Burak. "It feels good to finish. I always knew I could do it. I've been doing it in practice, and doing it out here is good for the confidence."
Sophomore Bobby Telford punched Iowa's ninth ticket to the semifinals with a 4-0 decision over Michigan State's Mike McClure. Telford, who finished runner-up at the 2012 Big Ten Championships, accumulated 3:35 RT to earn Iowa's final win of the morning session.
The Hawkeyes are favored in four of their nine semifinals matches. Action resumes at 5 p.m. (CT) inside Assembly Hall.
BIG TEN TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SESSION I
BIG TEN SESSION I RESULTS (# indicates tournament seed)
CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS