Marion wrestling `doggone tough'

Jan. 21, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following article first appeared in the Jan. 18 edition of the Official Sports Report (OSR) for the University of Iowa. OSR is a daily e-newsletter exclusively about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Click HERE to learn more.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa way, the Tom Brands way, is to wrestle hard for 420 seconds. The last time Hawkeye 141-pounder Montell Marion took the mat, he was there a whopping 42 seconds…and lost by fall to Mike Thorn of Minnesota on Jan. 10.

Marion gave way to senior Dan LeClere in the ensuing dual, a 19-12 Iowa victory over Iowa State in the championship of the Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals. Less than a week later, Marion returned to the top of the depth chart and his 4-0 upset over fifth-rated Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State lifted the Hawkeyes to a 19-16 victory.

Montell Marion goes out there and he shut (Parks) down,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “Not only did he shut him down, but he was also firing. That was a big-time shot when he hit it and that’s Montell Marion firing on all cylinders. When he wrestles solid and focused and free and not trying to take on the whole world, he’s doggone tough.”

After a scoreless first period, Marion escaped and completed the match’s lone takedown within the first 40 seconds of the second period. Marion was the aggressor the entire bout, rode Parks the final 3:16 and even drew a stall warning against the Cowboy.

“After the national duals the coaches told me that I couldn’t get my head down. There were minor mistakes that led to the pin,” Marion said. “I had to pick myself right back up and be ready to go. I trained like I was the guy throughout the week.”

Marion improved to 17-4 overall (12-2 against collegiate competition) and made a statement of his own as the varsity Hawkeye at 141.

“Up to this point I haven’t fully shown that in competition, but I tried to put a change to that,” Marion said. “I wanted to let the coaches know, let the fans know and let the rest of the nation know that I’m the guy and I’m going after it.”

On paper, Marion’s shutout over Parks was the only “upset” win for Iowa over Oklahoma State. Parks (20-4) had won 11 of his last 12 matches and five of those outings were against nationally ranked competitors. After Saturday’s win, Marion made a festive loop around the edge of the mat.

“I felt kind of bad because I’m not really supposed to be celebrating after matches,” Marion said. “I kind of let my emotions take over. I need to realize that this isn’t the NCAAs, this isn’t (the month of) March right now. I’m looking toward March. That’s when the big ones are going to come.”

Matt McDonough (major decision at 125), Brent Metcalf (technical fall at 149) and Jay Borschel (major decision at 174) scored bonus points against the Cowboys during Iowa’s 52nd consecutive dual victory.

“Fifty-two straight wins, that’s what we have right now?” Marion said. “That sounds good. We need to get that count higher, though. I had no idea. I don’t keep up on the stats. I let everybody else blog and do that stuff.”

The Hawkeyes will go for win No. 53 in a row Friday, Jan. 22, at Michigan. The dual in Ann Arbor begins at 6 p.m.