April 27, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa junior Matt McDonough has been named winner of the Mike Howard Most Valuable Player Award for the UI wrestling team. The announcement was made tonight at the team's annual awards banquet.
McDonough, a junior from Marion, Iowa, won the 125-pound title at the Big Ten and NCAA Championships this season. He finished the season with a 28-match winning streak and posted a 36-1 overall record that included a team-best 23 bonus point victories. He strung together four straight wins at the conference tournament to earn his second Big Ten title in as many seasons, and he recorded a pair of pins and two major decisions en route to his second career national title. His 4-1 win in the NCAA finals was his 100th career victory. He owns a 100-4 career record and has the fourth-highest career winning percentage (.962) in school history.
McDonough was also presented the Dan Gable Most Pins Award (12), the John and Dorothy Sill Award, given to the most dedicated wrestler, and was one of six Hawkeyes honored with an All-American Award. Senior Montell Marion, sophomores Ethen Lofthouse, Tony Ramos and Derek St. John, and redshirt freshman Bobby Telford also earned All-American Awards.
Marion placed second at the NCAA Championships and posted a 30-4 overall record. He was the Big Ten runner-up and owned a 16-1 record in dual competition. His 10 major decisions tied for the team lead.
Ramos placed third at the NCAA Championships and second at the Big Ten tournament. He posted a 33-4 overall record, including a perfect 9-0 mark at home, and led the team with seven technical falls.
Telford placed fifth at the NCAA Championships, second at the Big Ten tournament, and recorded a 29-9 overall record that included nine pins, the second-highest total on the team. Lofthouse placed seventh at the NCAA tournament and posted a 28-9 overall record. He scored 53 dual points, the fifth-highest total on the team.
St. John and senior Vinnie Wagner shared the Mike J. McGivern Award for most courageous wrestler. St. John won a Big Ten title and placed second at the NCAA Championships after returning from a knee injury suffered in early December. He returned to the mat full-time at the National Duals Tournament and won a pair of decisions at the Mat Mayhem Final Four. He then ran through the top three seeds to earn the 157-pound title at the Big Ten Tournament. He entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 2 seed and extended his winning streak to nine matches en route to a runner-up finish. He ended the season with a 21-3 overall record.
Wagner split time between 184 and 197 pounds this season. He placed seventh at the Midlands Championships, but perhaps his greatest feat was balancing Hawkeye wrestling with his biomedical engineering studies at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. His academic efforts were recognized with the J. Donald McPike Senior Award, given annually to the Hawkeye senior with the highest grade-point average.
Redshirt freshman Mike Evans was named the winner of the Most Improved Award. Evans finished the year with a 26-8 overall record, including five major decisions, three technical falls and seven pins. A native of Enola, Pa., Evans was undefeated in nine matches at home, posted a 14-4 dual record, and finished with 61 points in dual competition, the third-highest total on the team.
The Coaches Appreciation Award was shared by redshirt freshman Nick Moore and seniors Tyler Clark and Blake Rasing. The trio combined for a 42-16 record while contributing to an intensely competitive training environment on the road and inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2011-12 season with one national champion and two Big Ten champions. Iowa finished third at the NWCA National Duals, the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Championships. Six Hawkeyes earned All-America honors and a school-record 12 wrestlers earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
2011-12 University of Iowa Wrestling Team Awards
Mike Howard Award (Most Valuable): Matt McDonough
J. Donald McPike Award (Highest GPA): Vinnie Wagner
Mike J. McGivern Award (Most Courageous): Derek St. John, Vinnie Wagner
John and Dorothy Sill Award (Most Dedicated): Matt McDonough
All-American Award: Ethen Lofthouse, Montell Marion, Matt McDonough, Tony Ramos, Derek St. John, Bobby Telford
Most Improved Award: Mike Evans
Dan Gable Most Pins Award: Matt McDonough
Coaches Appreciation Award: Blake Rasing, Tyler Clark, Nick Moore