Six Hawkeyes Advance To Big Ten Finals

March 6, 2010

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ANN ARBOR, MI — Six University of Iowa wrestlers advanced to the finals of the 2010 Big Ten Championships Saturday night in Ann Arbor, as the top-ranked Hawkeyes maintained their lead in the conference team race after the first two sessions of competition. Iowa tallied 137 team points with all 10 wrestlers still able to score points and earn automatic bids to the upcoming NCAA Championships. Minnesota is in second place with 104.5 points and four finalists and Ohio State is in third (86 points, three finalists). The Hawkeyes have won 33 Big Ten team titles, including the last two.

“When you put six guys in the finals – that is what you are after, getting six automatic (NCAA) qualifiers,” said Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands. “But we’ve got work to do. There are certain things that happened out there tonight that cannot ever happen, like lack of hustle or putting your head down on the mat. Across the board, those are things that we have to iron out during that year, and at this point in the year you have to have conversations because that’s not how you get yourself where you want to be. You get yourself where you want to be by hitting spectacular holds, and when you are down you have to keep hitting those spectacular holds and fighting. If you are behind and you think the lead is insurmountable, anything can happen in this sport. You cannot let up. You have to put yourself in the best position.”

Hawkeye senior Brent Metcalf (149) will be making his third-straight trip to the Big Ten finals, while seniors Phillip Keddy (184) and Dan Erekson (Hwt.) are each making their second conference finals appearance. Redshirt freshman Matt McDonough (125) and seniors Daniel Dennis (133) and Jay Borschel (174) are each competing in the Big Ten finals for the first time in their Hawkeye careers.

McDonough improved to 32-0 on the season with his 8-0 major decision over #3 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota in the semifinals. The #2 seed, McDonough led the match 3-0 after two periods. After a neutral start to the third period, the Hawkeye redshirt freshman scored a takedown, two late nearfall points and a riding time point for the major decision. McDonough will face #1 seed Angel Escobedo of Indiana in the finals. Escobedo is the two-time defending Big Ten champion and also enters the match with a 32-0 record. It will be the pair’s first collegiate meeting.

Dennis collected his 65th career win with a 5-4 thriller over #3 Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the semifinals. Tied at 2-2 in the third period, Dennis scored a takedown with 14 seconds left to take a 4-2 lead. Gomez reversed him to tie the score at 4-4, but a locked hands penalty was called on Gomez as time expired to give Dennis the 5-4 win. The Hawkeye senior will face top seed Jayson Ness of Minnesota in the finals. The #2 seed, Dennis holds a 2-1 career record against Ness, winning two two-point decisions (6-4, 9-7) last season, but Ness won the most recent meeting (8-4) at the dual in Minneapolis last month. Ness is a three-time Big Ten finalist and brings an undefeated season record of 24-0 to the match.

Metcalf earned his third straight trip to the Big Ten finals with a 12-3 major decision over #4 seed Frank Molinaro of Penn State Saturday night. The Hawkeye senior, who is the two-time defending Big Ten champion and seeded #1 at 149, scored three takedowns and two nearfall points in the third period to remain undefeated at 31-0 this season. He will face #2 seed Lance Palmer of Ohio State in the finals. Metcalf has a 4-0 career collegiate record against Palmer, winning the most recent decision (3-1) at the dual last month. Palmer is 23-2 this season and is making his first trip to the Big Ten finals.

Borschel held #5 seed Jordan Blanton of Illinois scoreless in the semifinal bout, posting a 6-0 win to remain undefeated at 31-0 this season. The top-seeded Hawkeye senior will face #3 seed Scott Glasser of Minnesota in the finals. Borschel is 2-0 against Glasser, winning an 11-3 major decision at the National Duals in January and a 14-2 major decision at the dual in Minneapolis last month. Glasser is 24-5 this season and is making his first conference finals appearance.

Keddy, who is seeded third, avenged an earlier season loss to #2 seed Dave Erwin of Penn State with a 4-1 semifinals victory. The Hawkeye senior scored a first-period takedown, a second-period escape and added a point for riding time in the win. Keddy will face top seed John Dergo of Illinois in the finals. Dergo, who has never wrestled Keddy in collegiate competition, is 22-2 this season and competing in his first Big Ten finals.

Erekson improved to 11-0 on the season with his 6-2 victory over #3 seed Cameron Wade of Penn State in the semifinals. After a scoreless first period, Erekson rode Wade the entire second period to bank two minutes of riding time and keep the score tied at 0-0. The #2 seeded Hawkeye senior opened up his offense in the third period, scoring two takedowns, a penalty point for Wade’s locked hands and a point for riding time. Erekson will face top seed Nate Everhart of Indiana in the finals. Everhart, who is making his first Big Ten finals appearance, is undefeated at 35-0 this season. It will be the first career meeting between the Hawkeye and the Hoosier.

Seniors Ryan Morningstar (165) and Chad Beatty (197), junior Jake Kerr (157) and sophomore Montell Marion (141) all lost their semifinal bouts, and all but Beatty will have to wrestle back through the consolation bracket to earn an automatic NCAA bid. Beatty’s weight class – 197 pounds – will automatically take seven qualifiers and he can place no lower than sixth. Morningstar, who is seeded second, lost a close 3-1 decision to #3 seed Colt Sponseller of Ohio State. The top-seeded Beatty fought back from a 4-1 first-period deficit against #5 seed Sonny Yohn of Minnesota, scoring a takedown as time expired to force the match into overtime. Neither wrestler scored during the sudden victory period, but Yohn was awarded a point during the first tiebreak period for Beatty’s locked hands and won the match, 7-6.

Sunday’s consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (CT) at Michigan’s Crisler Arena, with the championship finals, third-place and fifth-place matches getting underway at approximately 1 p.m. The Big Ten Network will air a live broadcast of the championships finals, with Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and former Hawkeye Head Coach Dan Gable calling the action. Hawkeye fans can listen to Steven Grace and former Hawkeye two-time NCAA champion and four-time all-American Mark Ironside call the action live on AM-800 KXIC Radio in Iowa City or using the XXL All-Access Subscription. Live results and updated tournament brackets will be available at and

Place Team – Points
1. Iowa – 137
2. Minnesota – 104.5
3. Ohio State – 86
4. Wisconsin – 82
5. Penn State – 66
6. Purdue – 65
7. Michigan State – 58.5
8. Indiana – 55
9. Illinois – 48.5
10. Michigan – 46.5
11. Northwestern – 17

Championship Semifinals
125 – #2 Matt McDonough (Iowa) maj. dec. #3 Zach Sanders (Minnesota), 8-0
133 – #2 Daniel Dennis (I) dec. #3 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State), 5-4
141 – #2 Mike Thorn (Minnesota) maj. dec. #3 Montell Marion (I), 12-3
149 – #1 Brent Metcalf (I) maj. dec. #4 Frank Molinaro (Penn State), 12-3
157 – #1 Colton Salazar (Purdue) dec. #4 Jake Kerr (I), 6-2
165 – #3 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State) dec. #2 Ryan Morningstar (I), 3-1
174 – #1 Jay Borschel (I) dec. #5 Jordan Blanton (Illinois), 6-0
184 – #3 Phillip Keddy (I) dec. #2 Dave Erwin (Penn State), 4-1
197 – #5 Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) dec. #1 Chad Beatty (I), 7-6 TB-1
Hwt. – #2 Dan Erekson (I) dec. #3 Cameron Wade (Penn State), 5-2

125 – #2 Matt McDonough (I) vs. #1 Angel Escobedo (Indiana)
133 – #2 Daniel Dennis (I) vs. #1 Jayson Ness (Minnesota)
149 – #1 Brent Metcalf (I) vs. #2 Lance Palmer (Ohio State)
174 – #1 Jay Borschel (I) vs. #3 Scott Glasser (Minnesota)
184 – #3 Phillip Keddy (I) vs. #1 John Dergo (Illinois)
Hwt. – #2 Dan Erekson (I) vs. #1 Nate Everhart (Indiana)

Complete Big Ten Brackets After Session Two in PDF Format