March 7, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa wrestling team will send eight qualifiers to St. Louis next week for the 2012 NCAA Championships. The event will be held March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center. The official tournament brackets were released today by the NCAA.
Matt McDonough (125), Tony Ramos (133), Montell Marion (141), Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (165), Ethen Lofthouse (174), Grant Gambrall (184) and Bobby Telford (285) earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships following their performances at the conference tournament March 3-4.
Seven of Iowa's eight qualifiers earned seeds at the national tournament, and all seven are seeded in the top five -- more than any other school. McDonough is Iowa's highest seeded wrestler. He earned the top spot at 125 following his Big Ten title run. McDonough won the 125-pound national title in 2010 and finished runner-up in 2011. He enters the tournament with a 23-match winning streak and a 31-1 overall record.
Returning All-Americans Marion (141) and St. John (157) enter the tournament as the #3 and #2 seeds at their respective weights. Marion finished runner-up at the national tournament in 2010 and placed fourth in 2011. St. John also placed fourth in 2011. He enters this year's tournament as the 157-pound Big Ten champion. He opened the season ranked No. 2 in the country, but fell out of the rankings after he missed extended time due to injury. He won the Big Ten title as the #6 seed.
Ramos earned the #3 seed at 133. He'll be making his second appearance at the national tournament. He did not place in 2011, but finished runner-up at last week's Big Ten tournament and owns a 28-3 record heading into the national tournament.
Lofthouse (174) battled back through the consolation bracket of the conference tournament to finish third and earn #5 seed at NCAAs. He'll be competing in his second national tournament, and he's one of three Hawkeyes to earn a #5 seed.
Evans (165) and Telford (5) each enter their first NCAA tournament seeded fifth at their respective weights. Evans owns an overall record of 25-6, while Telford owns a 24-7 mark. Both redshirt freshmen placed second at the Big Ten tournament.
Gambrall, an All-American at 184 in 2011, has competed in just six matches at 184 pounds this season. He advanced to the national championships following a fifth place finish at the conference tournament. He is the only unseeded Hawkeye in the tournament.
McDonough and Telford both open the tournament against opponents they've already faced this season. McDonough scored a 13-4 major decision against Eastern Michigan's Jared Germaine at the 2011 Midlands. Telford recorded a 12-0 major decision against Northern Iowa's Blayne Beale in a Dec. 8 dual.
Iowa has sent at least eight athletes to the NCAA Championships in each of head coach Tom Brands' six seasons.
The NCAA Championships begin at 10 a.m. March 15 inside the Scottrade Center. Hawkeye fans can follow the action online at Hawkeye All-Access, hawkeyesports.com and ESPN3. The finals will air live on ESPN.
IOWA'S FIRST ROUND NCAA MATCHUPS (# indicates tournament seed)
125 - #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. Jared Germaine (EMICH)
133 - #3 Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. Brian Owen (Boise)
141 - #3 Montell Marion (Iowa) vs. Mike Morales (WVU)
157 - #2 Derek St. John (Iowa) vs. Drake Houdashelt (Mizz)
165 - #5 Mike Evans (Iowa) vs. Kyle Blevins (App. St.)
174 - #5 Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) vs. Dave Foxen (Brown)
184 - Grant Gambrall (Iowa) vs. #8 Ryan Loder (UNI)
285 - #5 Bobby Telford (Iowa) vs. Blayne Beale (UNI)