This is probably the best college sports weekend outside of College Football, that's because it's the Men's Wrestling NCAA Tournament. Day one is in the books, and here's how Iowa fared:
125 - #3 Matt McDonough TECH FALL (16-0) Jason Lara (Oregon State)
133 - #2 Dan Dennis DEC (6-2) Kevin Smith (Buffalo)
141 - #6 Montell Marion DEC (11-8) Cole Von Ohlen (Air Force)
149 - #2 Brent Metcalf MAJ DEC (15-6) Trenton Washington (UNI)
157 - UN Jake Kerr DEC (8-7) Tejovan Edwards (Arizona State)
165 - #7 Ryan Morningstar DEC (4-2, OT) Donald Jones (West Virginia)
174 - #2 Jay Borschel DEC (7-1) Scott Giffin (Penn)
184 - #9 Phil Keddy MAJ DEC (11-3) Michael Salopek (Virginia)
197 - Alan Gelogaev (Okie State) DEC (4-2, 2OT) #9 Chad Beatty
Hwt - #5 Dan Erekson DEC (11-6) Clayton Jack (Oregon State)
Iowa: 21.5 points after Session I
125 - #3 Matt McDonough DEC (10-6) Anthony Zanetta (Pitt)
133 - #2 Dan Dennis DEC (4-0) Kelly Kubec (Oregon St)
141 - #6 Montell Marion DEC (10-5) Conor Beebe (Cent Mich)
149 - #2 Brent Metcalf MAJ DEC (20-7) Kyle Borshoff (American)
157 - #1 J.P. O'Connor (Harvard) DEC (8-1) UN Jake Kerr
165 - #7 Ryan Morningstar DEC (3-1) #10 Alex Meade (Okie St)
174 - #2 Jay Borschel MAJ DEC (10-0) Daniel Rinaldi (Rutgers)
184 - #9 Phil Keddy DEC (8-2) #8 Louis Caputo (Harvard)
Hwt - #5 Dan Erekson FALL (2:37) #12 Scott Steele (Navy)
197 - #9 Chad Beatty DEC (5-4) Dennis Drury (UNC)
A few random thoughts after the jump:
Since I did not get to watch the First Session this afternoon, Iowa looked very solid overall in the Second Session (from what NCAA.com's feed showed). There were a few hiccups along the way though.
165: Ryan Morningstar - Following his injury in the Big Ten's, Morningstar is sporting a massive brace on his right knee. Throughout his match against Meade, he was predictably timid to shoot, and was warned for stalling late into the third period. He did just enough to get the win in the Second Session, so I won't fault him for that. At the same time, we've become very accustomed to a close Morningstar match, but at some point in the near future it is going to come back to bite him. This brace looks to have decreased his mobility and strength in any postion. Throughout the match, he looked like he had a lot of trouble getting an escape when Meade had the advantage on him.
197: #9 Chad Beatty - After getting out to an early lead (3-0), Beatty got tied up with allowing a couple of escapes in the second and third periods. Drury scored a takedown late into the third, and was leading 4-3 with :11 left in the third period. Beatty went into the down position, needing an escape to tie the match after going out of bounds. After a good start by Drury, Beatty was able to score a reversal with :05 left in the match to win. If you wish to read the thread, you can see how bored people got waiting to see this consolation matchup, and it was definitely an exciting match to wait for. After what I read/heard/watched, Beatty doesn't look like he's back to 100% (you can't really blame him after he went out in the Cliff Keen Duals). In the end, he stays alive, and that is all that really matters for our wrestlers.
Clearly, there were matches that shouldn't shock anyone reading the scores.
125: #3 Matt McDonough - This match was never in doubt. McDonough gave up some escapes and a couple of takedowns, but looked solid throughout the meet. While it is maddening to watch the NCAA.com stream switch away mid-match at times, what we did see of him, he looked really solid.
149: #2 (The) Brent Metcalf - This was another match that was cut away from at the end, but it was clear that Metcalf was destroying Borshoff. Metcalf continued to let Borshoff get escapes so he could score more takedowns, and in turn, run up the score. If Palmer and Metcalf can make it to the Finals, that will be an exciting match to watch. The one thing that Metcalf will have to control is his aggresiveness. That is clearly what cost him the match against Palmer at the Big Ten's, and it is probably something that he will use to his advantage if there is a re-match.
157: Jake Kerr - Going into the match, my expectations weren't very high. Without seeing a single moment of this match thanks to the feed, I am not shocked Kerr lost to #1 O'Connor. 157 has been a struggle for Iowa all season, and Kerr had done a yeoman's job in his spot for the matches that he's wrestled at. Not much more can be said about this.
174: #2 Jay Borschel - This was another match with limited live coverage of. Borschel was up 6-0 if my recollection is correct when they cut to him. Viewers got to see one takedown, and then it was cut away from for more exciting wrestling. Borschel continues to be clean and methodical in his quest for a title at 174.
Hwt: #5 Dan Erekson - This match was one where Erekson was in control throughout. He scored three Near Fall points on Steele quickly, and used that positioning to finish him off just as fast. Watching this, you could just tell that this match was going to end with the period expiring, or Erekson getting the Fall. In the end, he got the Fall, and he continues to as one commenter put it: "doesn't look like a Heavyweight when he wrestles."
What does this mean for tomorrow?
At the conclusion of the Second Session, Iowa finishes with 34.5 team points. Here's how the scores break down:
1. Iowa: 34.5 team points
2. Oklahoma State: 26 team points
3. Iowa State: 24 team points
4. Ohio State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin: 23 team points
7. Cornell: 22 team points
8. Minnesota: 20 team points
9. Missouri: 18.5 team points
10. Central Michigan, Lehigh, Penn State, Virginia: 17 team points
Yes, we have an 8.5 point lead at the moment, but that doesn't mean much once we start hitting the All-American Matches. This is still a very close race, and while we have eight wrestlers still in Championship contention, Iowa State and Oklahoma State both have five. At this point, we're not the team who is a shoe-in, but we are the team to beat. As noted above, Morningstar is a real concern tomorrow, and there are a few others that didn't have overly impressive wins.
An interesting note from today:
My NCAA Bracket is completely fucked, but who's isn't? Besides, we don't really care about that.
Iowa was helped out by the collective field with several of the decisions. One of the key factors for a school other than Iowa winning the 2010 Championship was the field helping out. Today, the field didn't help out the other contenders, but it certainly helped Iowa. There were several "upsets" today, and only one of them came against a Hawkeye. Plus, several of those upsets opened Iowa's side of the bracket for it's respective wrestler. After the first day, I can live with that.
That's all I have tonight, I'm sure Ross will have a great preview for tomorrow. I'm off to watch the end of [NAME REDACTED]'s team vs. [TEAM I WILL FORGET AFTER 2006]. It will require lots of booze to stomach the ending.