Finally -- VICTORY! After a long, painful decade of waiting, the Iowa wrestling team has once again triumphed over the dastardly ruffians of Oklahoma State within the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena (which housed far more people than witnessed the hoopyball triumph over Penn State earlier in the day). Oh, and that school-record 52-meet winning streak stayed alive, too. That's pretty cool. The meet itself was a predictably tense affair, with some guys stepping up big and some sadly (although not surprisingly) shrinking from the moment. Each team won five bouts, so bonus points wound up being crucial -- and in that respect, Iowa's three most consistently excellent performers this year (Matt McDonough, Brent Metcalf, and Jay Borschel) once again came through in the clutch. Full results and some analysis after Ze Jump.
FULL RESULTS (Iowa wrestlers listed first; rankings from InterMat
125: #4 Matt McDonough maj. dec. #9 Chris Notte, 13-4 (4-0 Iowa)
133: #6 Jordan Oliver dec. #4 Dan Dennis, 3-2 (4-3 Iowa)
141: #11 Montell Marion dec. #6 Jamal Parks, 4-0 (7-3 Iowa)
149: #1 Brent Metcalf tech. fall Quinten Fuentes, 21-5 in 5:15 (12-3 Iowa)
157: #13 Neil Erisman maj. dec. Aaron Janssen, 16-7 (12-7 Iowa)
165: #12 Alex Meade dec. #3 Ryan Morningstar, 5-3 (12-10 Iowa)
174: #2 Jay Borschel maj. dec. #7 Mike Benefiel, 9-1 (16-10 Iowa)
184: #9 Phil Keddy dec. #13 Clayton Foster, 3-2 (19-10 Iowa)
197: #7 Alan Gelogaev dec. Luke Lofthouse, 3-2 (19-13 Iowa)
Hwt: #1 Jared Rosholt dec. Blake Rasing, 7-5 (19-16 Iowa)
Not to toot my horn too much, but... that's the exact score I called in my preview, although I only got 8/10 winners right (I had Marion losing and Morningstar winning) and didn't get the bonus points quite right. Still: bask in the glow of my awesomeness. BASK, DAMMIT.
- Matt McDonough continued his incredible season by kicking off the meet with a critical major decision win. He's done an incredible job kickstarting duals for Iowa this season, and this was no exception. He jumped on Notte from the outset and never let up. He's now an amazing 20-0 on the season and he can add another win over a top ten wrestler to his accomplishments. With mainstays like Keddy and Morningstar having a few struggles this season and guys like Dennis, Beatty, and Erekson dealing with injuries, new faces have needed to step up to help Iowa keep on winning -- and no new face has been more impressive than McD, who continues to just light it up.
- Another new face that stepped up and provided critical points was Montell Marion. Marion's been in the thick of Iowa's most competitive (and confusing) weight (141) all season, alternating breathtaking performances with groan-inducing performances... thankfully, this was one of the former. And it came at the perfect time, too -- after Oliver's last second win at 133, a win here for Okie State would have given them serious momentum for the remainder of the dual... but Marion did a great job of smothering Oliver on his way to victory. On one hand, this didn't do much to totally clear up the confusion at 141 -- but it probably guaranteed Marion a few more starts to strut his stuff.
- What more can be said about Metcalf? The dude's just an unstoppable machine. The team needed him to get as many points as he could, and while he didn't get a pin, he did get a completely dominant 21-5 technical fall in just over five minutes. In just over five minutes, he notched seven takedowns and picked up a ton of riding time in addition to two separate nearfalls. In the immortal words of the Iron Shiek, he broke his back and made him humble (NSFW).
- Along with McD and Metcalf, Jay Borschel has been the other pace-setter for Iowa this season and he didn't disappoint in this meet. Well, you could quibble with the fact that it seemed to take him a little too long to start cutting Benefiel in order to get enough takedowns to guarantee the major decision, but ultimately he did get the major decision and, all in all, he submitted another thoroughly dominating performance against a fellow top ten wrestler. Stache or no stache, JayBo is on quite a tear.
- Credit also to Luke Lofthouse and Blake Rasing, the fill-ins at 197 and Heavyweight. At that point in the meet, Iowa led 19-10 and while wins from either guy would have been nice (and been tremendous upsets, particularly in Rasing's case), the most important thing was simply to avoid giving up too many bonus points (i.e., DON'T GET FUCKING PINNED). And, indeed, they managed to do just that, losing a couple of perfectly respectable close decision losses. Luke "The Leg" Lofthouse (so named for his inability to finish many of the multiple single leg takedowns he initiates) an Blake "Man-Bear" Rasing (so named 'cause he's fucking huge) had a simple remit: DON'T FUCK UP and not only did they accomplish that, but they went slightly above and beyond the call of duty by being right in the matches until the very end. Good show, guys.
- And last, but not least, big props to Phil Keddy, who provided the crucial final three points for Iowa with an incredibly hard-fought 3-2 win over Clayton Foster. Nagging injuries were apparently a primary reason behind his lackluster results earlier in the season and while he's still not the Keddy of old, he's getting closer every meet. This wasn't a pretty win, but for coming up with a win when his team badly needed it, Keddy deserves nothing but praise.
- After multiple weeks on the sideline, Dan Dennis made an unexpected (but appreciated) return to the lineup and gave a solid showing, even while dealing with some inevitable rust and a lack of conditioning. Let's be honest: with Nate Moore laid up in the ICU with a nasty staph infection, the only real option was redshirt freshman Mark Ballweg if Dennis couldn't give it a shot. And no offense to young Ballweg, but the odds of him keeping the match as close as Dennis did are about as good as Andrew Brommer winning a free throw-shooting contest. That said... giving up a takedown as time expires to lose the match is pretty inexcusable for a fifth-year senior, rust or not. Running away in a wrestling match is typically a tactic that annoys the shit out of me, but sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor. The one thing Dennis couldn't afford with five seconds to go was for Oliver to get his hands on him and take him down... so, of course, that's precisely what happened.
- 157 is still a goddamn mess. Janssen is the best option, but that isn't really saying much. Maybe someday Iowa will again have a decent option at 157 lbs... >sigh<
- And Morningstar... oh, Morningstar, why even get exasperated any more? You do that thing you do, and sometimes it works and sometimes it fails... and tonight, well, tonight it failed. Morningstar: loads of talent, but a painful unwillingness to cut loose. Ergo: close match after close match and, in this case, a painful loss. Thank God it didn't wind up costing Iowa the meet.
- Those Oklahoma State singlets are pretty fucking garish. Way too much orange, especially on a dude as big as Rosholt. Oh, and the mascot remains a creepy fucker.
- No live TV coverage. Like anyone really wanted to watch jNWU basketball instead, BTN. Oh, and thanks for tape delaying it twenty-six hours. You couldn't have just thrown it on late tonight? Really? Oh well. If you do want to catch the action, it's on at 9PM CST on BTN Sunday night.
All that said, there's no way of getting around the fact that this was a great, great win. With two starters out (Erekson and Beatty), another still not up to par (Dennis), and a presumptive favorite at yet another class unable to wrestle (Slaton), Iowa still managed to go out and pick up a strong win over their main nemesis -- and end that painfully long Okie State winning streak in CHA. Well done, boys. Next up is Michigan on Friday evening (no TV coverage); time to pound some LOLverine ass.