Top-Ranked Hawkeyes Head To Big Ten Championships

March 4, 2009

The top-ranked Hawkeyes will vy for their 33rd conference team title at the 2009 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The event will be hosted by Penn State University, March 7-8, at the Bryce Jordan Center at University Park, PA.

Following is the Big Ten Championships event schedule. Times are Central.

Session- Day – Time (CT) – Competition
Session I – Saturday – 10 a.m. – Through quarterfinals and consolation 1st round
Session II – Saturday – 5 p.m. – Through championship semifinals and up to the consolation semifinals
Session III – Sunday – 11 a.m. – Consolation semifinals, followed by 7th place matches. Championship, 3rd, and 5th place matches for each weight will start at 1 p.m.

All-session tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students/youth. Fans can purchase tickets from the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office at 814-865-5555.

Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands will take part in a pre-Big Ten championships press conference Friday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m. (CT) at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center Media Room. Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan and Penn State Head Coach Troy Sunderland will also take part in the press conference.

Brands will meet with the Iowa media Tuesday, March 10 at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena Press Room at 3:15 p.m. (CT) to discuss Iowa’s performance at the Big Ten Championships, and the upcoming NCAA Championships. The Press Room is located on the arena’s ground floor. Hawkeye wrestlers and the rest of the coaching staff will be available for interviews and photo opportunities in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex practice room following the press conference.

Brackets and team standings will be available throughout the tournament at and

Radio – Steven Grace and two-time Hawkeye NCAA champion and four-time all-American Mark Ironside will call the action live on AM-800, KXIC and Broadcasts are available using the Hawkeye All-Access subscription ($14.95 per month or $119.95 per year).

Television – The Big Ten Network will air a live broadcast of Sunday’s finals at 1 p.m. (CT). Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Ken Chertow will call the action.

Internet – Press releases, meet results and audio broadcasts are available on the University of Iowa’s website, Current staff and student-athlete head shots can be found at

Three Hawkeyes earned top preliminary seeds for this weekend’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Penn State. Conference officials announced the preliminary seeds, which are determined by a vote of conference head wrestling coaches after consideration of regular-season results. The official Big Ten Championships brackets will be set on Friday.

Five different schools are represented as No. 1 seeds in the 10 weight classes. Iowa and Wisconsin lead the way with three top seeds, while Northwestern features two wrestlers atop the preliminary seeding chart. Overall, of the 10 No. 1 seeds, nine rank among the top three in the nation in the latest USA Today/NWCA/InterMat Poll.

Hawkeye juniors Daniel Dennis (133), Brent Metcalf (149) and Dan Erekson (Hwt.) earned the top pre-seeds at their respective weight classes. Metcalf brings a 29-0 record to the tournament and is on a 61-match winning streak. The defending Big Ten champion at 149 pounds, he was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and Wrestler of the Championships in 2008. Dennis enters the tournament with a 25-2 record and has won his last 10 matches. Erekson is 18-6 this season.

The other top pre-seeds are Zach Tanelli (141), Andrew Howe (165) and Dallas Herbst (197) from Wisconsin, Brandon Precin (125) and Jake Herbert (184) from Northwestern, Michael Poeta (157) from Illinois and Steve Luke (174) from Michigan.

Hawkeye senior Charlie Falck (125) and junior Jay Borschel (174) each earned the second seed at their respective weight classes, while senior Alex Tsirtsis (141) and juniors Ryan Morningstar (165), Phillip Keddy (184) and Chad Beatty (197) are seeded third.

The Big Ten Conference is alloted 61 automatic qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Championships, scheduled for March 19-21 in St. Louis, MO. The breakdown of qualifers per weight class is as follows: 125-7, 133-6, 141-7, 149-5, 157-7, 165-8, 174-6, 184-6, 197-4, Hwt. 5. The Hawkeyes advanced nine qualifiers in 2008.

After all of the national qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 52 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 11. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.

The Hawkeyes earned their second straight Big Ten regular season title Feb. 22 when they defeated Northwestern, 34-13, in Evanston,IL, going undefeated (24-0, 8-0 Big Ten) in dual competition for the 2008-09 season.

It was the first time the Hawkeyes posted an undefeated season since 1999-2000, and the team ended the regular season on a 37-match winning streak. The school record for consecutive dual wins is 42 (1994-97). The current streak ranks second in school history.

The Hawkeyes have posted 12 undefeated and untied seasons in school history, and the 2009 season produced the most victories ever.

The top-ranked Hawkeyes came back with a strong second-day performance to win their 32nd Big Ten team title at the conference championships in Minneapolis, MN. The Hawkeyes scored 127 points, while runner-up Minnesota tallied 112.5.

Sophomore Brent Metcalf became Iowa’s 101st Big Ten Champion when he won the 149-pound title. The Hawkeyes qualified nine wrestlers to the 2008 NCAA Championships. It was the first time Iowa had advanced nine competitors since 2004 when it qualified its entire 10-man lineup.

Iowa nearly swept the post-meet team awards as Metcalf was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships and Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, and Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Metcalf is the third Hawkeye to earn both honors in the same season. Former Hawkeyes Tom Brands (1989), Terry Brands (1992) and Mark Ironside (1997) also accomplished the feat. Brands is the third Hawkeye coach to earn the annual Big Ten honor. Former Hawkeye Head Coaches Dan Gable (1993, 1995, 1996) and Jim Zalesky (2000, 2004) also earned the honors for Iowa.

Metcalf, who is the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds, earned his first Big Ten title when he defeated two-time Big Ten champion and two-time all-American Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota, 5-3. It was the first collegiate meeting between the two. The Hawkeye sophomore scored his 30th season and career win and extended his winning streak to 27 matches with the decision over Schlatter, who was ranked third in the country. Schlatter scored the first takedown, but Metcalf countered with two escapes to tie the score at 2-2 after two periods. Schlatter escaped to start the third period, but Metcalf was awarded a point when the Golden Gopher junior was given his second stall warning of the match to tie the match at 3-3. Metcalf secured the win by scoring a takedown with 11 seconds remaining in the bout. Metcalf scored 24 team points at the two-day tournament, which was the most of all 110 competitors.

Senior 165-pounder Mark Perry wrestled in his fourth Big Ten finals match, but came up short in defending his 2007 conference title. Perry lost a 3-2 decision to Michigan’s Eric Tannenbaum. Perry, was the nation’s top wrestler at 165.

Hawkeye senior Matt Fields (Hwt.) and sophomores Joe Slaton (133), Jay Borschel (174) and Phillip Keddy (184) helped the team win its first conference title since 2004 when they wrestled back for third place at their respective weight classes. Fields won both of his Sunday matches in the tiebreak overtime, picking up his 90th career victory in the third-place match. Junior Charlie Falck placed fourth at 125 and sophomore Dan LeClere placed fifth at 141. Sophomore Ryan Morningstar picked up his 20th season win when he posted a 6-1 decision over Purdue’s Nick Bertucci to place seventh at 157 and automatically advance to the NCAA meet.

Iowa holds records in five of seven Big Ten Championship categories. The Hawkeyes hold records for most individual champions in one tournament (9 in 1983), most consecutive team titles (25 from 1974-98), most falls by a team in one tournament (12 in 1979), largest victory margin (118.5 points in 1983) and fastest fall in all matches (Bart Chelesvig’s 23-second pin over Illinois’ Keith Bolman in 1992).

The Hawkeyes have won the most Big Ten team titles (32) and crowned the most individual champions (182). Seven of the Big Ten’s 10 four-time conference champions were Hawkeyes, and Iowa has had 18 of the conference’s 47 three-time champions.

The Iowa wrestling team has earned several individual Big Ten honors since they were initiated in 1986. Thirteen Hawkeyes have been named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, eight have been named Wrestler of the Championships and four have been named Freshman of the Year. Only two Hawkeyes (Mark Ironside, 1996-97-98 and Royce Alger, 1987-88) have earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Year honors more than once. Three of Iowa’s head coaches (Dan Gable, Jim Zalesky and Tom Brands) have earned conference Coach of the Year honors a combined six times.

Three Hawkeyes – Ed Banach (1983), Barry Davis (1985) and Brent Metcalf (2008) have been named Jesse Owens Big Ten Conference Male Athlete of the Year. A total of seven wrestlers have been named Iowa’s Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year and eight were named Iowa’s Conference Medal of Honor winners.

For dates and more information about 2009 Iowa Wrestling Summer camps visit

Iowa set the national collegiate dual meet attendance record of 15,955 when it hosted #2 Iowa State Dec. 6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The previous record of 15,646 was set Feb. 1, 2002, when Minnesota hosted Iowa at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes won the Iowa State dual, 20-15.

Iowa’s overall dual meet record is 852-215-30 (.790) in 97 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 21 national titles and 32 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 49 NCAA champions have won a total of 76 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 14 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 101 Big Ten champions have won a total of 182 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 24 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 135 all-Americans have earned all-America status 273 times, including 17 four-time, 27 three-time and 33 two-time honorees.

The Hawkeye wrestling staff of Tom Brands, Terry Brands, Doug Schwab, Mike Zadick and Jared Frayer earned a total of one Olympic gold medal, one Olympic bronze medal, six NCAA titles, 11 conference titles and 15 all-America honors. Their combined college career wrestling record is 487-83-2 (.858).

The top-ranked Hawkeyes will vy for their 22nd NCAA team title at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships, March 19-21, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. The Scottrade Center was the site for the NCAA meet in 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2008. The NCAA, University of Missouri and the St. Louis Sports Commission will co-host the event.

Sessions I (11 a.m.) and II (6:30 p.m.) will be held Mar. 19, sessions III (10 a.m.) and IV (6 p.m.) will be Mar. 20, and session V (9:30 a.m.) and the championship finals (5:30 p.m.) are set for Mar. 21. Sessions III and V will be aired live on ESPNU, session IV will be shown live on ESPN2 and ESPNU and the championship finals will be aired live on ESPN. All-session tickets are priced based on seat location. The price breakdown is as follows: Plaza – $150, Mezzanine Center & Mezzanine Corner (1st 2 rows) – $120, Mezzanine Corner & Mezzanine End (1st 2 rows) – $95, Mezzanine End – $60.

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