The Big Ten Tournament got underway in Madison this morning; how'd it go for Iowa? Well, things started well -- Iowa only had three wrestlers going in round one (the other seven received byes), but all three won. Not only did all three win, but all three also picked up bonus points. Josh Dziewa got things going with a 14-2 major decision (nearly missing on a potential technical fall) at 141 and Brody Grothus and Nathan Burak kept things rolling with pinfalls at 149 and 197, respectively.
Iowa also got off to a hot start in the quarterfinals, with Cory Clark steamrolling his opponent, Nebraska's Tim Lambert, for a 10-2 major decision and Tony Ramos making quick work of Michigan's Rossi Bruno, pinning him in just 1:33. Things went a bit sideways for Iowa after that, though; Dziewa fell 7-0 to Michigan's Steve Dutton and Grothus compounded the Iowa misery with a disappointing 4-1 loss to Eric Grajales (in a match that was a sad follow-up to their 17-14 barnburner in a dual meet last month).
Derek St. John turned things around for Iowa at 157, narrowly beating Penn State's Dylan Alton after getting a clutch takedown on the edge of the mat in the third period. Nick Moore got Iowa back on the bonus point train with a 16-5 major decision win over Indiana's Ryan LeBlanc and Mike Evans continued Iowa's momentum with a gritty 8-0 major decision win (secured with back points in the final seconds) over Ohio State's Mark Martin. (There was a little post-match pushing and shoving between Martin and Evans, too; Martin took affront to Evans making him eat a bit of mat, apparently.) Ethen Lofthouse ground out a 4-1 decision win over Ohio State's Kenny Courts at 184 and Nathan Burak won Iowa's only real toss-up match of the morning session, a 5-4 decision over Purdue's Braden Atwood (reversing a 5-4 loss to Atwood from earlier in the season). Unfortunately, the morning session ended on a down note when Tony Nelson stalled his way to a deja vu-inducing 2-0 win over Bobby Telford.
In all, Iowa went 10-3 in the morning session (and picked up bonus points in 7 of those wins, including 3 pins), which isn't bad... but probably isn't good enough to claim a Big Ten title, either. Iowa sits in third place after the morning session, two points back of Penn State and nine points back of Minnesota. Iowa probably needs an absolutely gangbusters semifinal round to have a hope of bringing home hardware tomorrow. Hopefully, tonight Iowa's wrestlers -- in both the championship round and the consolation rounds -- remember that they need to get to their own offense early and often. Of Iowa's nine wins, I believe only one (St. John's win at 157) didn't feature a first period takedown. In Iowa's three losses, they combined to score 1 point -- an escape by Grothus. Needless to say, that won't cut it.
141: #5 Josh Dziewa MAJ DEC (14-2) Pat Greco (jNW)
149: #4 Brody Grothus FALL (4:52) Eric Roach (IND)
197: #5 Nathan Burak FALL (3:46) #12 Garret Goldman (IND)
125: #3 Cory Clark MAJ DEC (10-2) #6 Tim Lambert (NEB)
133: #1 Tony Ramos FALL (1:33) #8 Rossi Bruno (MICH)
141: #4 Steve Dutton (MICH) DEC (7-0) #5 Josh Dziewa
149: #5 Eric Grajales (MICH) DEC (4-1) #4 Brody Grothus
157: #4 Derek St. John DEC (4-1) #5 Dylan Alton (PSU)
165: #2 Nick Moore MAJ DEC (16-5) #7 Ryan LeBlanc (IND)
174: #3 Mike Evans MAJ DEC (8-0) #6 Mark Martin (OSU)
184: #3 Ethen Lofthouse DEC (4-1) #6 Kenny Courts (OSU)
197: #5 Nathan Burak DEC (5-4) #4 Braden Atwood (PUR)
285: #5 Tony Nelson (MIN) DEC (2-0) #4 Bobby Telford
Coming up tonight...
125: #3 Cory Clark vs. #2 Jesse Delgado (ILL)
133: #1 Tony Ramos vs. #4 Cashe Quiroga (PUR)
157: #4 Derek St. John vs. #1 Isaac Jordan (WIS)
165: #2 Nick Moore vs. #6 Danny Zilverberg (MIN)
174: #3 Mike Evans vs. #2 Matt Brown (PSU)
184: #3 Ethen Lofthouse vs. #2 Kevin Steinhaus (MIN)
197: #5 Nathan Burak vs. #1 Morgan McIntosh (PSU)
CONSOLATION ROUND MATCHES
141: #5 Josh Dziewa vs. Brian Gibbs (MSU)
149: #4 Brody Grothus vs. Caleb Ervin (ILL)
285: #4 Bobby Telford vs. #11 Alex White (PUR)
1) Minnesota 77.0 (9 wrestlers in championship bracket, 1 in consolation bracket)
2) Penn State 70.0 (7 wrestlers in championship bracket, 3 in consolation bracket)
3) Iowa 68.0 (7 wrestlers in championship bracket, 3 in consolation bracket)
Penn State also managed to score the most significant upset of the tournament, with #8 seed Jon Gingrich knocking off #1 seed Adam Coon (Michigan) at 285 lbs. Because when it rains, it pours...
Session II, which comprises the semifinal round on the championship half of the bracket and two sets of consolation rounds on the bottom half of the bracket, gets underway at 5 PM CT. We'll have full coverage for you here.
Here's the updated BRACKET for the tourney, too.