After an incredibly dominant performance in the semifinal round tonight (five wins in five matches), the Iowa wrestling team officially clinched the 2010 National Championship. It's Iowa's third-straight national championship and twenty-third overall. We're still twelve behind Oklahoma State for the overall lead in national championships (although 19 of theirs came when they were something called "Oklahoma A&M," and claiming those titles is just the sort of underhanded shenanigans we expect out of people best known for illegally grabbing land), but the Brands machine is a-rollin' now.
There were many highlights for the Hawks in the semifinal round, like the continued pwnage of everyone in his path by McDonough, Dennis earning a fourth-straight win over Franklin Gomez with yet another late takedown off a wild scramble, Marion getting a late reversal to secure his win, and Metcalf bein' Metcalf (as much as he could against an opponent intent to hug the out-of-bounds line as much as humanly possible), but unquestionably the most exhilarating, stunning, and flat-out HOLY FUCK DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN moment of the semis (and the win that may have officially clinched the team title for Iowa; I'm not sure) was Borschel's amazing come-from-behind 10-9 win over Virginis'a Christopher Henrich (3-seed).
He was down 5-0 within the opening minute and down 9-3 at one point in the second period. Henrich's strategy seemed to be to shock and awe Borschel at the start of the match and try like hell to hang on. It wasn't a terrible strategy, considering that Borschel has rarely been behind in his matches this year and it wasn't clear how he'd react. Fortunately, he reacted by getting back to the fundamentals of Iowa wresting under Gable/Brands: never stop attacking. Borschel kept coming at Henrich and he was rewarded handsomely, with two takedowns and two points off stall calls on Henrich (and who probably could have been nailed with another one in the closing minute of the third period when he was utterly lifeless on the mat as JayBo rode him out for victory). He scored his final takedown with just enough time remaining to secure a riding time point if he could ride him out... which is exactly what he did. An unbelievable win that highlighted a dream-like run through the semifinals. The team hardware is locked up; tomorrow night's all about individual glory now. A year ago, the Hawks won the national title with zero national champions and went home glum. This year they'll have five shots to rectify that. After tonight's efforts, we're sure as hell not betting against 'em.
SEMIFINAL ROUND -- CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
125 - #3 Matt McDonough MAJ DEC (14-3) UN Cashe Quiroga (PUR)
133 - #2 Dan Dennis DEC (5-3, OT) #3 Franklin Gomez (MSU)
141 - #6 Montell Marion DEC (7-6) #10 Tyler Nauman (Pitt)
149 - #2 Brent Metcalf DEC (6-2) #3 (Okla)
174 - #2 Jay Borschel DEC (10-9) #3 Christopher Henrich (Virginia)
FINALS -- CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
125 - #3 Matt McDonough vs. #5 Andrew Long (ISU)
133 - #2 Dan Dennis vs. #1 Jayson Ness (Minny)
141 - #6 Montell Marion vs. #1 Kyle Dake (Cornell)
149 - #2 Brent Metcalf vs. #1 Lance Palmer (fOSU)
174 - #2 Jay Borschel vs. #1 Mack Lewnes (Cornell)
FOURTH ROUND MATCHES -- CONSOLATION BRACKET
165 - #7 Ryan Morningstar DEC (3-2) UN Justin Kerber (Cornell)
184 - #9 Phil Keddy MAJ DEC (14-5) UN Andrew Saunders (UNC Greensboro)
197 - #5 Trevor Brandvold (Wisco) DEC (7-4) #9 Chad Beatty (no All-America for Beatty)
Hwt - #5 Dan Erekson DEC (4-1) #6 Nathan Everhart (Indiana)
FIFTH ROUND MATCHES -- CONSOLATION BRACKET
165 - UN Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) DEC (2-0) #7 Ryan Morningstar
184 - #5 Clayton Foster (Okie State) DEC (5-3) #9 Phil Keddy
Hwt - #9 Mark Ellis (Mizzou) DEC (3-1) #5 Dan Erekson
All three guys (Morningstar, Keddy, and Erekson) will wrestle in the 7th place match tomorrow morning.