2013 MIDLANDS RECAP: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE REST

Tessa Hursh, Daily Iowan

Iowa won the 2013 Midlands -- how'd they do it? And what's it all mean?

When is a record-setting performance not all it's cracked up to be? When it could -- and perhaps should have -- been so much more. Iowa wrapped up the 51st annual Midlands Championships Monday night with their 23rd team title, demolishing the field at the event and finishing with a score 187.5, breaking their own team scoring record (185, set in 2007). Iowa placed seven wrestlers in the finals but, alas, there is where our discontent begins; Iowa went just 3-4 in those matches, with the results ranging from the fairly shocking (Tony Ramos getting pinned at 133) to the sadly predictable (Ethen Lofthouse losing a close, offense-free match). The losses of Ramos and Lofthouse (as well as Nick Moore and Bobby Telford) were disappointing and a clear indicator that Iowa still has work to do and improvement to make.

And yet it feels dumb to spend too much time berating this team for what they didn't do after a performance like this. We did plenty of that after the dual meet loss to Penn State a few weeks ago, after all. Certainly, there are areas to improve on and wrestlers who need to make adjustments based on their performances at this tournament, but there were lots and lots of things to like about Iowa's showing here. Like Thomas Gilman, beating the defending NCAA champion at 125 lbs. (Illinois' Jesse Delgado) Monday afternoon and then beating another 2013 All-American (former Virginia Tech wrestler Jarrod Garnett) for a Midlands championship Monday night. Like Iowa claiming third place -- and fourth place --- at 149 lbs. and upsetting several wrestlers on the way there. Like Derek St. John cooly dismantling a wrestler (Indiana's Taylor Walsh) who entered the match with 22 pinfall victories already this season. Like Mike Evans laying waste to the field at 174 lbs. and ending things with a pin in the finals.

There's no doubt that Iowa needs to do better than they did at times at Midlands if they want to add some more prestigious hardware to their trophy case this year. But overall this tournament was still a hugely successful experience for Iowa, a massive rebound from the disappointing Penn State dual, and a great way to move forward into 2014.

125

Thomas Gilman (4-0, CHAMPION)

125: 4-seed Thomas Gilman MAJ DEC (14-4) Billy Watterson (Brown-UN)
125: 4-seed Thomas Gilman DEC (6-3) 5-seed Dylan Peters (UNI)
125: 4-seed Thomas Gilman DEC (3-1) 1-seed Jesse Delgado (Illinois)
125: FINALS -- 4-seed Thomas Gilman DEC (6-1) 2-seed Jarrod Garnett (Bison WC)

Gilman wrestled the second-fewest matches of any Iowa wrestler at Midlands (Walt Gillmor wrestled the fewest, with 2, although Mike Kelly also wrestled just 4 matches here) but he took home the most impressive honors with the 125 lbs. championship. Gilman benefited from a bye in round one, but then he rattled off a major decision, and three straight wins over wrestlers ranked in the top 10 (or who would be if eligible, in Garnett's case). All by a combined score of 15-5. Not too shabby for Iowa's "other" 125er. Gilman beat Delgado by getting a vital escape from the bottom position in the second period and then riding him hard in the third period, eventually even turning him for two nearfall points. Gilman did a masterful job of avoiding Delgado's tricky, explosive offense all match. Against Garnett, Gilman was simply dominant -- he scored two impressive takedowns and rode Garnett into the mat over the course of three periods. It was a spectacular pair of back-to-back performances for Gilman and one that certainly throws the starting job at 125 into some doubt.

Cory Clark (3-3, 6TH PLACE)

125: 3-seed Cory Clark FALL (4:03) Dominic Olivieri (Illinois-UN)
125: 3-seed Cory Clark FALL (1:35) Garrison White (Northwestern)
125: 3-seed Cory Clark DEC (8-1) 6-seed Robert Deutsch (Rider)
125: 2-seed Jarrod Garnett (Bison WC) DEC (10-8 SV) 3-seed Cory Clark
125: 5-seed Dylan Peters (UNI) WINS BY MED FORFEIT over Cory Clark
125: 5th place match -- Sean Boyle (Michigan) WINS BY MED FORFEIT over Cory Clark

We entered this year's Midlands tourney thinking that we might wind up praising an Iowa 125er, but we thought it would be Clark rather than Gilman. Clark is, after all, the nominal starter at this weight. And through the early going, Clark seemed well on his way to duplicating his impressive performance at last year's Midlands -- he grabbed falls in his first two matches and added an easy decision win in his quarterfinal match. He started well in his semifinal against Garnett, bursting out to a solid early lead. And then came the third period, when the match (and, apparently, the tournament) fell apart for Clark; Garnett picked up a series of takedowns (including the winner, in sudden victory overtime) to pull off the come back win against a fading Clark. Clark then took a medical forfeit out of his final two matches, in the consolation bracket, dropping to sixth place. From the sounds of things, the cut down to 125 has been a problem for Clark; he brings a lot of good things to the table at 125, but if the weight cut is too draining for him, he might not be the answer here for the rest of this season. Time will tell. In the meantime, we're left with a disappointing tournament for Clark, one that looked like it could have been so much better.

133

Tony Ramos (4-1, 2ND PLACE)

133: 2-seed Tony Ramos MAJ DEC (13-5) Cashe Quiroga (Purdue)
133: 2-seed Tony Ramos MAJ DEC (23-8) Chasen Tolbert (Utah Valley)
133: 2-seed Tony Ramos MAJ DEC (14-5) 10-seed Devon Lotito (Cal Poly)
133: 2-seed Tony Ramos DEC (5-0) 6-seed Alan Waters (Missouri-UN)
133: FINALS -- 4-seed Joe Colon (UNI) FALL (2:37) 2-seed Tony Ramos

I said before the tournament began that one of the possible matches I was looking forward to seeing here was Colon taking on Ramos; they had been two of the best 133ers over the last two years, separated only by a few miles on I-380, yet their paths had never crossed on the mat. Be careful what you wish for, eh? Ramos and Colon finally clashed in Monday night's final... and Colon won decisively. He bullied Ramos for most of the first period, eventually getting him in a cow catcher and taking him to his back for an emphatic pin. It was shocking -- and disappointing -- to see Ramos manhandled like this, although credit is due to Colon; he's been a bit under the radar at 133, but that should (deservedly) change after winning the title here, knocking off the #s 1 and 2-ranked wrestlers, and earning the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament award. For Tony, it's another bitter defeat in a championship match; he's come up short in the past against the likes of Devin Carter and Logan Stieber and winning that first individual championship as a Hawkeye continues to elude him.

Tony had looked really good in the lead-up to that finals match, too. He earned major decisions in his first three matches, then controlled things on his way to a decisive 5-0 win over Alan Waters. And then the wheels came off against Colon. It's up to Ramos to make adjustments before Big Tens and NCAAs if he wants to win titles there. Ramos certainly can win titles at this weight, but it's not going to be easy. There's a very strong field of contenders at 133; I thought a clear path to the top had opened up for Tony with Logan Stieber's move up to 141, but that's not the case. Whoever wins a title at 133 this year is really going to earn it.

141

Josh Dziewa (4-2, 3RD PLACE)

141: 7-seed Josh Dziewa DEC (8-4) Kevin Fanta (NIU)
141: 7-seed Josh Dziewa DEC (5-2) Todd Preston (Harvard)
141: 7-seed Josh Dziewa DEC (6-1) 2-seed Rick Durso (F&M)
141: Steve Rodrigues (Illinois) DEC (4-3) 7-seed Josh Dziewa
141: 7-seed Josh Dziewa DEC (11-9 SV) 9-seed Ethan Raley (Indiana)
141: 3rd place match -- 7-seed Josh Dziewa DEC (3-1) 2-seed Richard Durso (F&M)

In the lead-up to Midlands, I said I wanted to see Dziewa show us something -- meaning, get a significant win. Beat a good opponent. Mission accomplished there -- Dziewa beat 2-seed Rick Durso (#5 nationally) not once, but twice -- first in the quarterfinals and then again in the 3rd place match in the consolation bracket. Of course, he then followed up his first win over Durso by losing to an unranked and unseeded oppoennt, Steve Rodrigues of Illinois. One step forward... Dziewa was also one of three Iowa wrestlers who didn't record a single bonus point victory (Walt Gillmor and Alex Meyer were the others) here. Given the quality of the tournament (good, but not great, especially at 141), that's a little bit alarming. Dziewa has a considerable amount of ability, but he needs to be more consistent for Iowa to get the results they need/want out of him.

149

Brandon Sorensen (7-1, 3RD PLACE)

149: Brandon Sorensen DEC (6-4) Andrew Crone (Wisconsin-UN)
149: 3-seed Dave Habat (Edinboro) DEC (9-7 SV) Brandon Sorensen
149: Brandon Sorensen TECH FALL (19-4) Curt Delia (RIder)
149: Brandon Sorensen DEC (1-0) 11-seed Brandon Nelsen (Purdue)
149: Brandon Sorensen DEC (7-6) 4-seed Zach Neibert (Va Tech)
149: Brandon Sorensen MAJ DEC (13-3) Chad Walsh (Rider-UN)
149: Brandon Sorensen DEC (10-3) Blake Roulo (George Mason-UN)
149: 3rd place match -- Brandon Sorensen DEC (4-2) Brody Grothus

Brody Grothus (6-2, 4TH PLACE)

149: Brody Grothus DEC (12-6) Mike LeHolm (Eastern Michigan)
149: 4-seed Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) DEC (3-2) Brody Grothus
149: Brody Grothus DEC (4-2) John Fahy (Illinois)
149: Brody Grothus MAJ DEC (10-0) Frank Goodwin (Maryland)
149: Brody Grothus FALL (1:38) 3-seed David Habat (Edinboro)
149: Brody Grothus DEC (8-4) Rylan Lubeck (Wisconsin)
149: Brody Grothus DEC (3-2) 1-seed Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern)
149: 3rd place match -- Brandon Sorensen DEC (4-2) Brody Grothus

Mike Kelly (2-2, DNP)

149: 7-seed Mike Kelly DEC (5-1) Gunnar Wolfensperger (UNI)
149: 10-seed Blake Roulo (George Mason-UN) DEC (8-7) 7-seed Mike Kelly
149: 7-seed Mike Kelly MAJ DEC (13-5) Coleman Hammond (CSU-Bakersfield)
149: Chad Walsh (Rider-UN) FALL (2:38) 7-seed Mike Kelly

Let's just cover all of Iowa's 149ers in one burst. All three entrants began Midlands with a win. Then, in the second round, all three lost and dropped into the consolation bracket. That kicked off a predictable (and deserved) round of wailing and gnashing of teeth about Iowa's curse at this weight. But a funny thing happened on the way to another disappointing showing at 149 -- Iowa's 149ers started winning matches. And they won a lot of matches. Brody Grothus and Brandon Sorensen combined to win ten consecutive matches after dropping into the consolation bracket, leading to an all-Iowa showdown in the third-place match Monday night. No, really. It happened. At 149!

And they beat good wrestlers, too. Grothus picked up a quick pin on 3-seed David Habat (#8, nationally), a wrestler who had beaten Grothus by major decision earlier this season. Then he one-upped that accomplishment by beating Northwestern's Jason Tsirtsis (#2, nationally) by a 3-2 score. Sorensen beat 4-seed Zach Neibert (#12, nationally) in a wild 7-6 match. Hell, they not only managed to win, but win with bonus points. Kelly earned a major decision among his two wins, Grothus had a major decision and a pin among his wins, and Sorensen had a major decision and a technical fall among his wins. That sort of offensive prowess -- and point-scoring ability -- has been lacking at 149 lbs. for a long, long time.

There are still reasons to be a little skeptical of some of Iowa's performances here -- Kelly didn't wow anyone, some of Iowa's opponents may have been limited by inexperience or illness, a few solid wins don't erase entire track records of underwhelming performances -- but Iowa entered Midlands looking for a spark at this weight, for signs of life. They found that -- and then some -- in the results here; the job now is to see if that spark can turn into a full-fledged fire or not. At least we have reason to be hopeful about 149 again, which is a victory in its own right.

157

Derek St. John (5-0, CHAMPION)

157: 1-seed Derek St. John MAJ DEC (10-1) Danny Orem (Maryland)
157: 1-seed Derek St. John DEC (6-2) Isaiah Martinez (Illinois-UN)
157: 1-seed Derek St. John MAJ DEC (10-2) 8-seed John Greisheimer (Edinboro)
157: 1-seed Derek St. John DEC (5-3 SV) 4-seed Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin)
157: FINALS -- 1-seed Derek St. John DEC (9-3) 3-seed Taylor Walsh (Indiana)

This wasn't a particularly noteworthy field for DSJ to face; the highest-ranked wrestler was Indiana's Walsh (#7, nationally). But St. John can't control who he faces; what he can do is take care of business against the guys in front of him and he did that all tournament long. In that way, it was a prototypical DSJ tournament experience -- the bonus points didn't flow freely (just two major decisions), there was a hairy, uncomfortably close match that required some OT heroics (the semifinal against Jordan), but the end result was solid. It would always be nice to get more bonus points from DSJ -- it hurts when one of Iowa's best wrestlers doesn't rack up more bonus points -- but good results are their own reward and St. John gets those regularly. The win also gave DSJ the final piece in the collegiate wrestling "triple crown": Big Ten title, NCAA title, Midlands title. Well done.

165

Nick Moore (4-1, 2ND PLACE)

165: 2-seed Nick Moore MAJ DEC (13-3) David Meza (CSU-Bakersfield)
165: 2-seed Nick Moore MAJ DEC (14-4) Jud Zeigler (Princeton)
165: 2-seed Nick Moore DEC (7-4) 7-seed Pierce Harger (Northwestern)
165: 2-seed Nick Moore DEC (4-3) 3-seed Taylor Massa (Michigan-UN)
165: FINALS -- 1-seed Steven Monk (North Dakota State) DEC (4-2) 2-seed Nick Moore

Much like Josh Dziewa's results at 141, Nick Moore's results at 165 at this event seemed like a case of one step forward and two steps back -- or at least one step forward and one half-step back. Moore didn't really regress here, but he didn't consolidate his success and build upon it, either. After picking up one of the better wins of his career in the semifinals, over 2-seed Taylor Massa (a Michigan redshirt and potential future stud who would likely be ranked in the top 5-8 at this weight if eligible), Moore followed that up by losing to 1-seed Steven Monk in the finals. Losing to Monk is nothing to be ashamed of (he's a good wrestler and multi-time NCAA qualifier and losing via 4-2 decision is preferable to getting pinned in 1:52, which is what happened when Monk and Moore wrestled a few years ago), but it was another missed opportunity for Moore. Moore had jumped up to the #4 ranking after beating Iowa State's Michael Moreno earlier in the season and the matches against Massa and Monk were an opportunity for him to prove that that ranking was deserved. Mission... not quite accomplished.

The Monk match was also frustrating because Moore seemed to revert to the more passive, less offensive wrestler he's been in the past, which has prevented him from achieving greater success. Consider: he beat Massa in the semis because he got a third-period takedown and because he wrestled so aggressively that he was able to force the referee to call a stall point -- the match-winning stall point, no less -- against Massa. Refs typically hate to do that. And yet the Moore who wrestled Monk in the finals wasn't that same aggressive, confident wrestler doing so much to try and initiate the action -- and his performance suffered for it as a result. Moore has some pretty good offense... when he actually goes to it. Moore is definitely making steady progress from where he was a year ago (I don't think he would have beaten Massa in that match a year ago), but it seems like he's just a step or two from being even better yet and it would be fantastic to see him actually hit that level.

Walt Gillmor (0-2, DNP)

165: 8-seed Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) DEC (8-6) Walt Gillmor
165: Cedric Gibson (UW-White) DEC (10-3) Walt Gillmor

You never like to see any Iowa wrestler go 0-2 BBQ at a tournament, so it was disheartening to see Gillmor stumble here.

174

Mike Evans (6-0, CHAMPION)

174: 1-seed Mike Evans FALL (2:16) Mike Curby (E Michigan)
174: 1-seed Mike Evans FALL (2:45) Monte Schmalhaus (Utah Valley)
174: 1-seed Mike Evans DEC (6-0) Ryan Callahan (Princeton)
174: 1-seed Mike Evans MAJ DEC (12-4) 9-seed Scott Liegel (Wisconsin)
174: 1-seed Mike Evans MAJ DEC (10-1) 12-seed Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech)
174: FINALS -- 1-seed Mike Evans FALL (2:14) Shane Hughes (Columbia)

St. John faced a mediocre field at 157, but it was practically loaded with all-stars in comparison to the field of challengers Mike Evans saw at 174. At least DSJ's field included a handful of top-10 guys; outside of Evans himself, the highest-ranked opponent at 174 was 4-seed Bryce Hammond (#15, nationally). Upsets conspired to make Evans' path to a Midlands title even easier; the highest-seeded wrestler he faced in the entire tournament was 9-seed Scott Liegel in the quarterfinals and Evans was the only wrestler to face an unseeded opponent in the title match. To his credit, Evans did exactly what you'd expect him to do against a field so middling: he dominated, grabbing three falls (most of any Iowa wrestler), a pair of major decisions, and an easy 6-0 decision win. This tournament didn't tell us anything about Evans' ability to crack into the top tier at this weight, but given the composition of the field here, that option was never on the table anyway. Evans dominated the guys in front of him; that's all we could really ask of him here. And if you're wondering where all the good 174ers were... they're at the Southern Scuffle.

Alex Meyer (6-2, 7TH PLACE)

174: 2-seed Hayden Zillmer (North Dakota State) DEC (9-7 SV) Alex Meyer
174: Alex Meyer DEC (8-5) Mike Curby (E Mich)
174: Alex Meyer DEC (7-3) John Dickson (Va Tech)
174: Alex Meyer DEC (9-4) 5-seed Cody Caldwell (UNI)
174: Alex Meyer DEC (1-0) Ricky McDonald (Brown)
174: Alex Meyer DEC (5-3 SV) 3-seed Elliot Riddick (Lehigh)
174: 2-seed Hayden Zillmer (North Dakota State) DEC (7-2) Alex Meyer
174: 7th place match: Alex Meyer FALL (2:54) Monte Schmalhaus (Utah Valley State)

Peculiar tournament for Meyer; he suffered a close OT loss to 2-seed Hayden Zillmer (#16 nationally) in his first match, then rattled off five wins in the consolation bracket in response, before meeting up with Zillmer again... and losing again, too. He rebounded from his second loss to ZIllmer with a pinfall win in the 7th place match. Along the way, Meyer picked up a few solid wins (over Caldwell, #17 nationally, and Riddick) and generally had a pretty nice showing here. If he continues to improve, he'll certainly have a shot to replace Evans as the starter at 174 in two years.

184

Ethen Lofthouse (4-1, 2ND PLACE)

184: 1-seed Ethen Lofthouse MAJ DEC (16-5) Mark Fiala (Neb-K-UN)
184: 1-seed Ethen Lofthouse DEC (7-4) Rick Robertson (Wisconsin-UN)
184: 1-seed Ethen Lofthouse DEC (7-4) 9-ssed Niko Reyes (Illinois)
184: 1-seed Ethen Lofthouse DEC (8-2) 5-seed Ophir Bernstein (Brown)
184: FINALS -- 2-seed Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) DEC (3-1 SV) 1-seed Ethen Lofthouse

Ethen gonna Ethen -- do we really need to say more than that? Was it maddening to watch Lofthouse do virtually nothing in the finals against Sheptock? Of course. Was it remotely surprising? Of course not. I don't really know what more there is to say about him right now; he's not going to change his style with three months left in his college career. He's going to wrestle a lot of ugly, boring, low-scoring matches and he's probably going to win a lot of them. He'll also probably lose a few matches that drive us batty. That's how it goes with EL.

Sammy Brooks (4-3, 6TH PLACE

184: 7-seed Sam Brooks MAJ DEC (13-1) Ethan Smith (Utah Valley)
184: 7-seed Sam Brooks WIN VIA MED FORFEIT Pat Downey (Nebraska-UN)
184: 2-seed Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) DEC (3-2) 7-seed Sam Brooks
184: 7-seed Sammy Brooks DEC (11-4) Rick Robertson (Wisconsin-UN)|
184: 7-seed Sammy Brooks DEC (2-1 OT) 12-seed Kurt Julson (North Dakota State)
184: 5-seed Ophir Bernstein DEC (10-8) 7-seed Sammy Brooks
184: 5th place match -- Keegan Mueller (D1 Fit) WINS VIA MED FORFEIT over 7-seed Sammy Brooks

Cory Clark and Thomas Gilman are the two redshirt freshmen who have generated most of the buzz for Iowa this year, but there's another celebrated and highly regarded member of the 2012 recruiting class who's been strutting his stuff this year, too -- Mr. Sammy Brooks. The Midlands represented a somewhat rare opportunity for Brooks this season: a chance to wrestle at this natural weight class of 184 lbs. Brooks has gamely been filling in for Nathan Burak at 197 for much of this season (to mixed results), but this was a chance to see him compete at the weight that he's supposed to go at. The results were... not bad. They may not have been as eye-popping as Gilman's results, but Brooks did show off his scoring ability in 13-1 and 11-4 wins (and a 10-8 loss), as well as his grit in a 2-1 OT win over 12-seed Kurt Julson and a 3-2 loss to 2-seed Jimmy Sheptock. But Brooks' results aren't quite as spectacular enough to get him to earn the starting honors at 184.

197

Nathan Burak (4-2, 3RD PLACE)

197: 3-seed Nathan Burak MAJ DEC (13-3) Charles Johnson (S Oregon)
197: 3-seed Nathan Burak DEC (8-3) Abe Ayala (Princeton)
197: 3-seed Nathan Burak DEC (9-7 SV) 6-seed Chris Penny (Virignia Tech)
197: 2-seed Christian Boley (Maryland) DEC (3-2) 3-seed Nathan Burak
197: 3-seed Nathan Burak DEC (5-3) 5-seed Alex Polizzi (Northwestern)
197: 3rd place match -- 3-seed Nathan Burak DEC (3-1) 9-seed John Bolich (Lehigh)

Burak was one of the most intriguing Iowa wrestlers at Midlands -- even if he wasn't technically an Iowa wrestler at the event. He competed unattached (i.e., not officially affiliated with Iowa) in order to preserve his ability to take a redshirt this season, if needed. After this performance, though, I don't think a redshirt is terribly likely. Burak was one of the last remaining question marks this season -- an undisclosed medical issue had kept him out of competition all season so far, meaning that it was unclear how much (if at all) he had improved from his 2012-13 campaign. The exact extent of his improvement is still TBD, but based on his showing at Midlands, Burak seems good enough to give Iowa very solid production at 197 this year. He opened the tournament with a few easy victories, then won a wild 9-7 OT match over 6-seed Chris Penny before dropping a squeaker (3-2) to 2-seed Christian Boley of Maryland. Burak rebounded well in the consolation bracket, beating a pair of seeded wrestlers to claim 3rd place.

Burak still has some improvement to make if he's going to earn All America honors this year (which is the sort of improvement he needs to make to really boost Iowa's team title aspirations) -- he's going to need to beat guys on Boley's level (ranked #10, nationally) to make it on the podium -- but he doesn't look all that far away and he certainly seems close enough to that level to burn his redshirt and let him compete. The argument for keeping him redshirted would be that he was still hobbled by the medical condition and that there was very little likelihood of him being able to compete at a high level for Iowa this season; that doesn't seem to be likely at this point.

285

Bobby Telford (4-1, 2ND PLACE)

285: 1-seed Bobby Telford DEC (6-0) Steve Dwyer (Beebe)
285: 1-seed Bobby Telford MAJ DEC (10-2) Cody Krumweide (UNI-UN)
285: 1-seed Bobby Telford DEC (6-1) 8-seed Adam Fager (Utah Valley)
285: 1-seed Bobby Telford DEC (4-2) 4-seed J.T. Felix (Boise State)
285: FINALS -- 3-seed Adam Coon (Michigan) DEC (3-2) 1-seed Bobby Telford

When Northwestern heavyweight Mike McMullan, #2 at this weight nationally and initially announced as a pre-seed for this event, was held out from the competition due to an injury, the biggest obstacle to Bobby Telford claiming a Midlands championship was removed from his path. Alas, McMullan wasn't his only obstacle -- there was also the small matter of Michigan super-freshman Adam Coon. It's rare that a true freshman steps into the heavyweight ranks and is successful from the word go -- even current heavyweight kingpin Tony Nelson redshirted as a freshman and went 34-8 as a redshirt frosh -- but Coon is certainly proving that he's legit. He won the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas earlier this season and he just added a Midlands title to his accomplishments. As so many heavyweight matches do, his win over Telford came down to one key shot and takedown; Coon was able to convert it after a brief scramble and that was that. The gap between Telford and Coon doesn't look insurmountable -- nothing Coon does is as unstoppable as Nelson's spiral ride from the top position and his defense doesn't look quite as impenetrable as Nelson's (yet) -- but he's yet another very good Big Ten heavyweight that Telford is going to need to get past if he wants to claim some hardware this season. Prior to the loss to Coon, Bobby had been having a successful tournament -- he picked up four wins, including a win over top-10 ranked Felix.

NEXT: Iowa heads to Bradley, IL (don't ask) to face Purdue in a dual meet on Friday night, then returns home to CHA to face Michigan State on Saturday night. There will be blood (and, hopefully, pins).

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