Feb. 28, 2012
ON THE MAT
The University of Iowa wrestling team travels to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete at the 2012 Big Ten Championships on Saturday and Sunday. Purdue will host the conference tournament inside Mackey Arena. The two-day tournament begins Saturday at 9 a.m. (CT). Session II starts at 4 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. The third session begins at 12 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, and the finals will start at 2 p.m. (CT).
SATURDAY, MARCH 3
8 a.m. - Mackey Arena opens
9 a.m. - Start of Session I
4 p.m. - Start of Session II
SUNDAY, MARCH 4
11 a.m. - Mackey Arena opens
12 p.m. - Start of Session III
2 p.m. - Start of Session IV
*Times listed are Central.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
Brackets and team standings will be available throughout the tournament at bigten.org and purduesports.com.
The conference tournament will be broadcast in its entirety on AM-800 KXIC and streamed online at hawkeyesports.com via Hawkeye All-Access. Steven Grace and Mark Ironside will have the call live from Mackey Arena.
The Big Ten finals will be televised live on BTN. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks will have the call live from Mackey Arena.
Fans can follow the championship action via twitter @theiowahawkeyes or join the interactive conversation on the Official Iowa Wrestling Blog at hawkeyesports.com.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
The Hawkeyes' 104 Big Ten champions have won a total of 188 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 27 two-time winners. The Hawkeyes have won 34 team titles, twice as many as the next closest team (Illinois, 17). Iowa won 25 consecutive conference championships from 1974-1998.
PLANTING THE SEEDS
The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday that nine Hawkeyes earned preliminary seeds at the 2012 conference tournament. Junior Matt McDonough was the top-seeded 125-pounder for the second consecutive season. McDonough defended the top seed in 2011 by capturing the conference title. Other seeded Hawkeyes include sophomore Tony Ramos (133-2nd), senior Montell Marion (141-3rd), redshirt freshman Michael Kelly (149-10th), sophomore Derek St. John (157-6th), redshirt freshman Mike Evans (165-2nd), sophomore Ethen Lofthouse (174-3rd), junior Grant Gambrall (184-4th), and redshirt freshman Bobby Telford (285-6th).
MCDONOUGH GOING BACK FOR SECONDS
Junior Matt McDonough is aiming for his second Big Ten title in as many seasons. McDonough topped Northwestern's Brandon Precin, 3-1, to grab his first Big Ten championship in 2011. He lost 6-4 to Indiana's Angel Escobedo in the 2010 Big Ten finals. If he reaches the finals this season, he'll be the first Hawkeye since Brent Metcalf to reach the finals in three straight years. Metcalf won titles in 2008 and 2009 and finished runner-up in 2010.
2011 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS REVIEW
Iowa crowned a pair of individual champions and placed second overall in the tightest team race in conference history. Matt McDonough (125) and Blake Rasing (285) each earned top honors for the Hawkeyes, but Penn State captured its first wrestling conference title in school history, edging Iowa 139-138. The Hawkeyes had won the previous three Big Ten tournament titles. Derek St. John (157) and Luke Lofthouse (197) each finished runner-up in their respective weight classes. Tony Ramos (133), Aaron Janssen (165) and Ethen Lofthouse each placed third, while Montell Marion (141) placed fourth and Grant Gambrall (184) finished fifth.
MCDONOUGH HITS 19
Junior Matt McDonough enters the championships on a 19-match winning streak, his longest such streak since winning 32 straight to start the 2009-10 season. Other Hawkeyes with a minimum five-match winning streak include sophomore Tony Ramos (7), senior Montell Marion (7) and sophomore Ethen Lofthouse (5).
MARION HITS 80
Senior Montell Marion's 3-2 win over Minnesota's Nick Dardanes on Jan. 29 marked the 80th career victory for the 141-pound wrestler from Des Moines, Iowa. Marion owns an 85-19 career record, including a 24-2 mark this season. He leads Iowa with a team-best nine major decisions and is seeded third at the conference tournament. Only Matt McDonough (91) has more career victories among active Hawkeyes.
Four Hawkeyes will be making their Big Ten Championships debut, including senior Vinnie Wagner (197), and redshirt freshmen Michael Kelly (149), Mike Evans (165) and Bobby Telford (285). Since the conference started naming a freshman of the year in 1988, five Hawkeyes have earned the award, including Tom Brands (1989), Lincoln McIlravy (1993), Jeff McGinness (1994), Steve Mocco (2002) and Matt McDonough (2010).
Iowa's three lower weights have a combined 77-5 (.939) record this season with 45 bonus-point victories. Junior Matt McDonough (125) leads Iowa with nine pins. Sophomore Tony Ramos (133) owns a team-best seven technical falls and senior Montell Marion (141) leads the Hawkeyes with nine major decisions.
MCDONOUGH AMONG THE BEST
Junior Matt McDonough owns a career record of 91-4 (.958). Iowa's top wrestlers in program history based on winning percentage include:
1. T.J. Williams (98-1-0) .990
2. Brent Metcalf (108-3-0) .972
3. Lincoln McIlravy (96-3-0) .970
4. Tom Brands (158-7-2) .952
5. Terry Brands (137-7) .951
WRESTLER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Eight different Hawkeyes have been named Outstanding Wrestler of the Big Ten Championships. Head coach Tom Brands won the inaugural award in 1989 following his 126-pound conference title. Associate head coach Terry Brands won the honor following his 126-pound Big Ten title in 1992. Brent Metcalf was the last Hawkeye to earn the award. He is also the only Big Ten athlete to win the award twice (2008, 2009).
RAMOS IS DUAL DOMINANT
Sophomore Tony Ramos recorded five falls, four major decisions and three technical falls in 18 duals this season, racking up a team-high 74 points and a 17-1 dual record. He has just one loss in 30 career duals.
The Hawkeyes' 19-17 win over Minnesota on Jan. 29 marked Iowa's 10th dual win of the season. The Hawkeyes have won at least 10 duals in every season dating back to 1967-68 -- a span of 45 seasons. Iowa finished 2011-12 with 14 dual victories (14-4).
The Hawkeyes topped Nebraska, 24-9, on Jan. 13 to earn the 900th dual win in program history. Iowa owns a 906-219-31 (.797) dual record in 101 seasons. Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oregon State are the only other schools to record at least 900 dual wins.
MCDONOUGH EARNS CONFERENCE HONOR
Junior Matt McDonough earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors on Jan. 31. McDonough upset top-ranked Zach Sanders to help lead Iowa to a 19-17 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 29. He did not allow an offensive point while scoring two takedowns and a reversal against the previously unbeaten Sanders. The conference honor was the second of McDonough's career.
RAMOS NABS 2ND BIG TEN HONOR
Tony Ramos earned his second career conference honor when he was named Big Ten co-Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 10. Ramos, a sophomore from Carol Stream, Ill., pinned Indiana's Joe Duca in the second period at Indiana (1/6) before earning a 4-3 overtime decision against Oklahoma State's top-ranked Jordan Oliver (1/7). He had previously won the award after a pair of bonus point victories against No. 7 Illinois (12/2) and Iowa State (12/4). He posted a 13-5 major decision over the Illini's B.J. Futrell, then-ranked No. 2 in the country, and recorded a second period pin against Iowa State's Shayden Terukina. Ramos, currently ranked No. 3, owns a 26-2 record with four major decisions, seven technical falls and six pins.
Iowa finished the 2011-12 home schedule with an 8-1 record inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,400). The Hawkeyes outscored their opponents 258-63 and set a national attendance record, averaging 9,014 fans in six home dates (Iowa City Duals do not count toward national attendance figures). Iowa has a 196-19 (.910) record in the arena, including 19 undefeated seasons, since moving from the UI Fieldhouse in 1983. The dual wrestling attendance record for Carver-Hawkeye Arena is 15,955, set when Iowa defeated Iowa State (20-15) on Dec. 6, 2008.
BIG TEN GETS 74 AUTOMATIC BIDS
The Big Ten is receiving 74 automatic qualifiers for the March 15-17 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, more than any other conference and 10 more than it received a year ago. The Big Ten will receive at least five automatic qualifiers at every weight, including a conference-high 10 qualifiers at 285 pounds and a conference-low five qualifiers at 141 pounds. The top nine wrestlers at 149 and 174 earn automatic bids, as do the top eight wrestlers at 165. The top seven wresters at 133, 184 and 197 earn a berth, and the top six wrestlers at 125 and 157 automatically qualify.
NCAA RELEASES RPI RANKING
The NCAA released its 2012 RPI rankings on Feb. 23. The Hawkeyes have six wrestlers ranked in the top 10, including top-ranked Tony Ramos (133). Matt McDonough (125) and Ethen Lofthouse (174) were each ranked second at their respective weights. Montell Marion was ranked No. 5 at 141, and Mike Evans (165) and Bobby Telford (285) were each ranked tenth.
ATTENDANCE LEADERS AT IT AGAIN
Iowa hosted the third largest dual crowd in NCAA history (15,400) when Oklahoma State visited Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 7, 2012. In six home dates, the Hawkeyes averaged a national record 9,014 fans. That includes duals vs. Oklahoma State (15,400), Illinois (7,330), Northern Iowa (7,078), Northwestern (7,954), Minnesota (9,511) and Wisconsin (6,809). Prior to 2011-12, the Hawkeyes had led the nation in attendance for five straight seasons. This year's 9,014 average is expected to mark the sixth straight year Iowa has led the nation in attendance, and the fourth straight year Iowa averaged over 8,000 fans per dual.
The Hawkeyes have seven wrestlers with previous NCAA championships experience. Junior Matt McDonough has advanced to the NCAA finals each of the past two seasons, winning the championship in 2010 and finishing runner-up in 2011. Montell Marion is a two-time All-American at 141 pounds. The senior from Des Moines, Iowa, placed second in 2010 and earned a fourth place finish in 2011. Sophomore Derek St. John and junior Grant Gambrall also earned All-America honors in 2011. St. John placed fourth at 157 pounds, and Gambrall earned third place at 184 pounds. Sophomores Tony Ramos (133) and Ethen Lofthouse (174), and senior Blake Rasing (Hwt.) also earned NCAA berths last season.
HAWKEYE WRESTLING HISTORY
Iowa's overall dual meet record is 906-219-31 (.797) in 101 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 23 national titles and 34 Big Ten titles. Iowa's 51 NCAA Champions have won a total of 78 NCAA Individual titles, crowning six three-time and 15 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes' 104 Big Ten champions have won a total of 188 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 27 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa's 144 All-Americans have earned All-America status 291 times, including 17 four-time, 29 three-time and 38 two-time honorees.