Dec. 29, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The University of Iowa wrestling program sits in first place with 38.5 points following the opening session of the 2011 Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. Of the Hawkeyes' 10 scoring competitors, eight are still competing in the championship bracket and two are alive in the wrestlebacks. Tournament host Northwestern is in second place with 34.5 points.
Tournament scorers Matt McDonough (125), Tony Ramos (133), Tyler Clark (133), Montell Marion (141), Mike Evans (165), Ethen Lofthouse (174), Grant Gambrall (197) and Bobby Telford (Hwt.) all advanced to the quarterfinal round. Michael Kelly (149) and Blake Rasing are still competing in the consolation bracket.
Ramos, the tournament's top seed at 133 pounds, and Clark, the No. 9 seed, face each other in the quarterfinals. Ramos has outscored his opponents 43-12 en route to a pair of technical falls.
Marion, the top seed at 141 pounds, advanced to the quarters with a pin and a 9-6 decision. Marion's fall 43 seconds into the match against Eastern Michigan's Corey Phillips was the fastest pin of his career.
McDonough, the tournament's No. 2 seed at 125 pounds, used an opening round pin (6:01) and an 11-5 decision to advance to the quarterfinals. Lofthouse also scored an opening round pin and added a major decision to advance to the quarters. Evans, Gambrall and Telford each recorded a major decision en route to the quarterfinal round.
Vinnie Wagner is also alive in the championship bracket. The tournament's eighth-seeded 184-pounder received an opening round bye before blanking Wisconsin's Timmy McCall with a 13-0 major decision. Mark Ballweg recorded a second-period pin (3:24) in his opening bout but later dropped an 18-4 decision to fall into the 141-pound consolation bracket.
Iowa totaled four falls, two major decisions and a technical fall to advance 12-of-16 wrestlers past the opening round. Brody Grothus (149), Nick Moore (157), Jeremy Fahler (184) and Tomas Lira (197) dropped their opening bouts and fell into the consolation bracket. Grothus, Moore and Fahler combined for five wins in the wrestlebacks and are still wrestling. Lira dropped his second match, 11-9, and was eliminated from competition.
Session II of the Midlands Championships begins at 7 p.m. tonight. Steven Grace will call the action live from Welsh-Ryan Arena on AM-800 KXIC and at hawkeyesports.com via Hawkeye All-Access. Updated team standings and complete tournament brackets are available throughout the tournament at nusports.com.