Hawkeyes Wrestling For 35th Big Ten Title

March 1, 2011

The second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team will compete for its fourth-straight and 35th overall conference team title at the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The event will be hosted Saturday and Sunday by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

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 – 1 p.m. – Consolation semifinals, followed by 7th place matches. Championship, 3rd, and 5th place matches for each weight will start at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available from the NU ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE. Fans may request to be seated in a specific school’s designated seating areas. All session tickets are $40 for reserved seats, $36 for adult general admission and $24 for youth general admission. Single session ticket prices are as follows: Session I – $15 for adult general admission and $12 for youth general admission; Session II – $18 for reserved seating, $15 for adult general admission and $12 for youth general admission; Session III – $20 for reserved seating, $18 for adult general admission and $15 for youth general admission.

Brackets and team standings will be available throughout the tournament at bigten.org and nusports.com.

Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands is scheduled to participate in two post-season press conferences. Brands will meet with the media Tuesday, March 8 from 2:40-3:20 p.m. at the UI Field House Practice Facility in Iowa City to discuss the 2011 Big Ten Championships and the upcoming NCAA Championships. Hawkeye wrestlers and the rest of the coaching staff will be will also be available for interviews during this time. The Field House is located on South Grand, just west of Rienow and Slater Residence Halls and just east of Kinnick Stadium and University Hospitals. Parking is available in Lot 6 underneath the South Gym, or in Lot 14, a parking lot southeast of the Field House. The main entrance to the Field House is Main Street, the area between the swimming pool and South Gym. The Field House can be accessed from the east or west doors leading into the Main Street area.

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 hawkeyesports.com. Web audio broadcasts are available using the XXL All-Access subscription ($14.95 per month or $119.95 per year).

Television – The Big Ten Network will air a live telecast of Sunday’s finals at 3 p.m. (CT). Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Lee Kemp will call the action.

Internet – The 2010-11 Hawkeye wrestling media guide, press releases, meet results, and audio broadcasts are available on hawkeyesports.com. Current wrestling staff and student-athlete head shots are available at pics.hawkeyesports.com.

Hawkeye sophomore Matt McDonough has earned the top preliminary seed at 125 pounds for this weekend’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Northwestern. All matches will be held at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston. Conference officials announced the preliminary seeds Monday, which are determined by a vote of conference head coaches. The official Big Ten tournament brackets will be set Friday afternoon.

Four different schools have No. 1 seeds in the 10 weight classes. Penn State leads the way with five top seeds, while Wisconsin has three, and Iowa and Michigan each have one. Nine of Iowa’s 10 wrestlers earned pre-seeds, which are assigned to the top eight wrestlers in each weight class.

McDonough enters the tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation by Intermat and W.I.N. Magazine, and No. 2 by Amateur Wrestling News with a 20-1 record. He went 16-0 in dual competition and 8-0 in Big Ten duals, scoring 80 team points in dual competition and scoring bonus points in 17 bouts. The Marion, Iowa, native leads the team with 11 pins this season. In 2010, McDonough was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after placing second at 125 at the conference meet. He went on to win his first NCAA title.

The other top Big Ten pre-seeds are Andrew Long (133), Frank Molinaro (149), David Taylor (157), Ed Ruth (174) and Cameron Wade (Hwt.) of Penn State; Andrew Howe (165), Travis Rutt (184) and Trevor Brandvold (197) of Wisconsin; and Kellen Russell (141) of Michigan.

Hawkeye senior Luke Lofthouse (197), junior Montell Marion (141) and redshirt freshman Derek St. John (157) all earned second seeds, while junior Blake Rasing (Hwt.), sophomore Grant Gambrall (184) and redshirt freshman Tony Ramos (133) are seeded third. Also earning pre-seeds are Iowa senior Aaron Janssen (165-4th) and redshirt freshman Ethen Lofthouse (174-5th).

Luke Lofthouse enters his second Big Ten tournament with a 17-4 record and a six-match winning streak. Ranked No. 6 by Intermat and No. 7 by AWN and WIN, he went 13-2 in dual competition with a spotless 7-0 Big Ten dual record. Marion, who placed third at the 2010 conference meet, is ranked second by AWN and Intermat, and fourth by WIN. He posted a 7-1 season record after being reinstated to the team in January. St. John brings a 15-3 record to his first Big Ten tournament. The Parnell, Iowa, native is ranked No. 7 by Intermat and No. 8 by AWN and WIN, with a 14-1 dual and 7-1 Big Ten dual record. Rasing, Gambrall, Ramos, Janssen and Ethen Lofthouse will also be making their Big Ten Championships debut. Rasing is ranked No. 10 by Intermat, No. 13 by WIN and No. 15 by AWN with a 14-5 record, going 13-3 in duals and 5-3 in Big Ten duals. He knocked off two ranked opponents (Michigan’s Ben Apland and Minnesota’s Tony Nelson) in the last two weeks of the regular season. Gambrall is ranked 11th in the nation with a 17-5 record, going 14-2 in duals and 7-1 in Big Ten duals. Ramos, who posted a 3-2 decision over top-seed Andrew Long in the Iowa-Penn State dual in January, enters the tournament with a perfect 8-0 Big Ten dual mark and an 18-3 season record. He is ranked seventh by Intermat and 10th by AWN and WIN. Janssen has a 22-6 season record, earning a No. 14 ranking by Intermat, and No. 16 by AWN and No. 18 by WIN. Lofthouse is ranked No. 12 by AWN, No. 13 by WIN, and No. 14 by Intermat with a 15-7 season record.

Only three of Iowa’s 10 wrestlers slotted for competition at the 2011 Big Ten Championships have previous conference tournament experience. Sophomore Matt McDonough placed second at 125 at the 2010 meet, posting a 3-1 record. Junior Montell Marion placed third last season at 141, going 4-1 at the tournament in Ann Arbor. Senior Luke Lofthouse went 0-2 at 174 as a true freshman at the 2005 championships in Iowa City. The rest of Iowa’s lineup – senior Aaron Janssen (165), junior Blake Rasing (Hwt.), sophomores Mark Ballweg (149) and Grant Gambrall (184), and redshirt freshmen Tony Ramos (133), Derek St. John (157) and Ethen Lofthouse (174) will all be making their first Big Ten tournament appearance.

The Big Ten Conference is alloted 64 automatic qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Championships, scheduled for March 17-19 in Philadelphia, PA. The breakdown of qualifers per weight class is as follows: 125-5, 133-8, 141-6, 149-8, 157-6, 165-5, 174-8, 184-6, 197-6, Hwt.-6. The Hawkeyes advanced 10 qualifiers in 2010.

After all of the national qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 48 at-large qualifiers. The qualifiers will be announced on the NCAA Division I Wrestling selection show, which will be broadcast on broadband via on NCAA.com March 9 at 5 p.m. 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.

Iowa earned its fourth straight Big Ten regular season title Feb. 20 with a 19-12 win over Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes posted a 15-0-1 (8-0 Big Ten) dual record for 2010-11, marking the third straight season that Iowa has posted an undefeated record, and the fourth straight year that Iowa has gone 8-0 in Big Ten duals. The win over Minnesota extended Iowa’s unbeaten dual-match streak to 77, which is a school record. The Hawkeyes have now posted 21 undefeated seasons in school history.

University of Iowa seniors Jay Borschel (174) and Dan Erekson (Hwt.) wrestled their way to conference titles at the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. The duo helped the top-ranked Hawkeyes win their third-straight Big Ten title and the school’s 34th overall. Iowa scored 156.5 points en route to the team title, which is its highest point total since 1995 (185), and the Big Ten’s highest since Minnesota scored 174 in 2002. Iowa also qualified its entire 10-man lineup for the 2010 NCAA Championships for the 18th time in school history and the first time since 2004.

Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third straight year. He became the first coach in conference history to earn the honor in three consecutive seasons. Iowa redshirt freshman Matt McDonough, who placed second at 125 pounds, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He is the fifth Hawkeye in school history to earn the honor and the first since Steve Mocco in 2002.

Borschel, who was the tournament’s top seed at 174, picked up his first Big Ten title with an 8-1 win over Minnesota’s Scott Glasser in the finals. The Iowa senior controlled the match, scoring a takedown in each period, a second-period escape and a point for accumulating 2:59 of riding time. Borschel’s won Iowa’s first Big Ten title at 174 pounds.

Erekson became Iowa’s 27th two-time conference champion with his 9-6 win over top-seeded Nate Everhart of Indiana in the finals. Erekson took Everhart to his back right off the opening whistle, scoring a takedown and three nearfall points to take a 5-0 lead. Everhart, who entered the bout with a 35-0 record, scored two escapes, but Erekson took a 6-2 lead when he was awarded a penalty point for Everhart fleeing the mat. Erekson started the third period with an escape, but Everhart rallied with two takedowns. Erekson held off the rally and added a point for 1:01 riding time.

McDonough, and seniors Daniel Dennis (133), Brent Metcalf (149) and Phillip Keddy (184) all earned second-place finishes for the Hawkeyes. Sophomore Montell Marion (141) placed third, while junior Jake Kerr (157) and senior Ryan Morningstar (165) placed fourth, and senior Chad Beatty (197) placed sixth.

McDonough, who was making his first Big Ten Championships appearance, lost a close 6-4 decision to three-time Big Ten champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana in the finals. Both wrestlers entered the bout with undefeated 32-0 records. After two periods full of scrambles, Escobedo led 1-0. McDonough escaped early in the third period to tie the score at 1-1, but Escobedo scored a quick takedown to take a 3-1 lead. McDonough escaped with 40 seconds left, but Escobedo scored another takedown to make the score 5-2. McDonough reversed the top-seeded senior with 13 seconds left to pull within one (5-4). He let Escobedo up, but ran out of time before he could score again.

Dennis, who was also wrestling in his first Big Ten finals, lost to two-time Big Ten champion Jayson Ness of Minnesota, 9-3, in the 133-pound finals. Ness, who was the top seed and undefeated at 25-0, scored a first period takedown to take a 2-0 lead. Dennis chose the neutral position to start the second period and neither wrestler scored. Ness chose the down position to start the third period, scoring an escape, takedown and two nearfall points to go up 7-0. Dennis escaped and scored a takedown of his own, but Ness escaped and added a riding time point for the 9-3 win.

Metcalf was going for his third-straight 149-pound Big Ten title, but Ohio State’s Lance Palmer spoiled the effort with a 9-3 victory in the finals. Metcalf led 3-1 after the first two periods, but Palmer had 1:33 in riding time going into the third. Palmer chose down to start the third period, and was awarded a penalty point after Metcalf was called for locked hands during a scramble. Metcalf held on to get the riding time under one minute, but Palmer escaped to tie the score at 3-3. The pair scrambled after an offensive flurry and Palmer came out on top, scoring a takedown and three nearfall points when he caught Metcalf on his back. Palmer held on to get the riding time point back and win his first Big Ten title. The Buckeye handed Metcalf (31-1) his first season loss while scoring his first win over Metcalf in five attempts.

Keddy placed second for the second-straight year, losing a 5-2 decision to top seed John Dergo of Illinois in the 184-pound finals. The Hawkeye senior put the first points on the board with an escape to start the second period. Dergo followed with a takedown, but Keddy quickly escaped to tie the score at 2-2. Dergo started the third period in the down position and escaped to grab a 3-2 lead. Keddy had several offensive attempts, and Dergo capitalized on the last one, scoring a takedown for the win.

The Hawkeyes had some key matches early in Sunday’s consolation round to ensure 10 national qualifiers. The NCAA only allocated four automatic qualifiers at 141 and 157 pounds, which meant that Marion and Kerr needed to win their first round matches to earn a trip to the NCAA meet. Morningstar’s 165-pound class allowed for five qualifiers, meaning that he needed to win at least one match to make the national trip, and the 197-pound class took seven qualifiers so Beatty was guaranteed to go regardless of his finish.

Marion was the only Hawkeye to win two matches on the day, posting an 11-6 decision over Wisconsin’s Cole Schmitt in the consolation semifinals and a 5-2 win over Purdue’s Juan Archuleta in the third-place match. Against Schmitt, Marion led 4-2 at the start of the third period, but the Badger escaped and scored a takedown to take a 5-4 lead. Marion reversed Schmitt to take a 6-5 lead with 42 seconds remaining. Schmitt escaped to tie the score at 6-6 and had 1:06 of riding time banked, but Marion’s takedown with 12 seconds left and three additional nearfall points as time expired gave him the 11-6 win.

Kerr scored a 5-3 decision over Michigan’s David Johnson in the consolation semifinals, but lost a 6-4 decision in overtime to Michigan State’s Anthony Jones to place fourth. Morningstar held off a late charge from Indiana’s Paul Young to post a 4-3 win in the consolation semifinals. He was tied 2-2 with Penn State’s Dan Vallimont in the third-place bout, but was injured going out of bounds and was forced to default the match and take fourth place. Beatty, who was wrestling in his first competition since December due to injury, posted medical forfeits in each of his matches to place sixth.

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 (34) and crowned the most individual champions (186). Seven of the Big Ten’s 10 four-time conference champions were Hawkeyes, and Iowa has had 18 of the conference’s 51 three-time champions.

Iowa led the nation in average dual attendance for the fifth straight season, averaging 8,209 fans in six home duals in 2010-11. That figure breaks the previous national average record of 8,125, which Iowa set in 2009-10. The Hawkeyes also posted the largest dual crowd of the 2010-11 season when they drew 11,895 against Iowa State on Dec. 3. Over the past three seasons, Iowa has averaged over over 8,000 fans per dual.

When calculating national attendance averages, team must host a minimum of four duals to qualify and only single or double duals are counted toward the average, which disqualifies Iowa’s season-opening Iowa City Duals.

Senior Luke Lofthouse (197) and sophomore Matt McDonough (125) earned Big Ten Wrestler fo the Week honors during the 2010-11 season. It was the first time that either wrestler earned the weekly conference honor during their Iowa careers.

Lofthouse earned the last weekly honor of the regular season with his Feb. 20 decision over Minnesota’s Sonny Yohn. Lofthouse, who is ranked sixth in the nation by Intermat and seventh by Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. Magazine, closed out his collegiate dual career with a 7-4 victory over Yohn, helping the second-ranked Hawkeyes to their fourth-straight Big Ten regular season title. Iowa also extended its unbeaten dual streak to 77 with its 19-12 win over No. 5 Minnesota, ending the regular season with a 15-0-1 record. Iowa had a narrow 13-12 lead over the Golden Gophers, when Lofthouse, who entered the dual ranked eighth in the nation, took the mat against Yohn, who was ranked between fourth and seventh. Trailing Yohn, 3-2, at the start of the third period, the Hawkeye senior scored a quick escape to tie the score and added two takedowns in the final minute to give Iowa a 16-12 lead going into the final bout.

McDonough earned the honor Feb. 1, after recording two pins to help Iowa beat No. 18 Northwestern (31-9) Jan. 28 in Evanston and top-ranked Penn State (22-13) Jan. 30 in University Park. Iowa’s wins over Northwestern and Penn State extended its streak of unbeaten duals to 73, and helped the Hawkeyes jump to No. 2 in the next week’s NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll. McDonough entered the Northwestern dual against top-ranked and undefeated Wildcat Brandon Precin ranked second by Intermat and WIN, and third by AWN. Precin handed McDonough his first season loss and second career loss at the 2010 Midlands Championships in December, taking over the top ranking. Precin took a 3-0 lead Friday night and had the riding time point locked up mid-way through the third period when McDonough took the Wildcat senior to his back and recorded a pin in 6:11 to hand Precin his first loss of the season. Against Penn State, McDonough got the Hawkeyes out to a strong 6-0 start and kept the sold-out Rec Hall crowd quiet when he pinned Penn State’s Nate Morgan in 4:16 to open the dual. The Hawkeyes held Penn State to its lowest point total of the season, while handing the Nittany Lions their first loss.

Iowa is unbeaten in its last 77 dual matches, which is a school record. The current streak started with a win over Cornell (32-3) on Jan. 12, 2008, which was the first match after Iowa lost to Oklahoma State (19-14) on Jan. 5. The Hawkeyes are unbeaten in 47 consecutive road duals, which is also a school record. That streak started with a 20-13 win at Iowa State on Dec. 9, 2007.

Iowa’s 15-15 tie with Oklahoma State on Jan. 16, 2011, broke the Hawkeyes’ 69-match winning streak that started with a win over Cornell (32-3) on Jan. 12, 2008. That streak is an Iowa school record and ranks second-best in NCAA wrestling history behind an Oklahoma State streak. The Cowboys won 76 straight duals from 1937-51. Oklahoma State is tied with Iowa in second place, tallying two 69-match streaks (1921-32 and 1996-99).

Against Big Ten foes, the Hawkeyes have won their last 35 duals, including 16 at home and 19 on the road. All three rank second in school history. Iowa’s school record for consecutive Big Ten wins is 98 (12/13/1975-1/28/1989), while the records for Big Ten home wins is 63 (1/17/1975-1/3/1998) and road wins is 54 (1/19/1974-1/28/1989).

Iowa has won its last 33 duals at home. That streak, which ranks fourth-best in school history, started with a 27-13 win over Penn State on Jan. 20, 2008, which was also the first home match after the loss to Oklahoma State. The school record for home wins is 55 (1/9/1977-12/18/1983).

The Hawkeye wrestling staff of Tom Brands, Terry Brands, Mike Zadick, Kurt Backes and Danny Song earned a total of one Olympic gold medal, one Olympic bronze medal, five NCAA titles, nine conference titles and 12 All-America honors.

For dates and more information about 2011 Iowa Wrestling Summer camps visit www.iowawrestlingcamps.com.

The 2010-11 Hawkeyes posted a perfect 8-0 dual record in their home venue of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, marking Iowa’s 19th undefeated season in the facility since moving from the UI Fieldhouse in 1983. Iowa has a 188-18 (.913) record in the arena, which seats 15,500, and has won its last 33 duals at Carver-Hawkeye. Iowa’s last home loss was 19-14 to Oklahoma State on Jan. 5, 2008. The 2009-10 Hawkeyes went 11-0 at Carver-Hawkeye, which is the school record for most home wins in a single season. The dual wrestling attendance record for Carver-Hawkeye Arena is 15,955, set when Iowa defeated Iowa State (20-15) on December 6, 2008.

Iowa’s overall dual meet record is 892-215-31 (.797) in 101 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 23 national titles and 34 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 51 NCAA champions have won a total of 78 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 15 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 102 Big Ten champions have won a total of 186 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 27 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 140 all-Americans have earned All-America status 286 times, including 17 four-time, 29 three-time and 37 two-time honorees.

A retirement celebration for former University of Iowa Head Wrestling Coach Dan Gable has been planned for June 4th. The Hall of Fame coach will be honored with a reception and banquet at the Coralville Marriott hotel. The reception is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and a program filled with memories and speakers to follow.

Gable is considered by most to be the best collegiate wrestling coach in history. He was Iowa’s head coach for 21 years and compiled a 355-21-5 record that included 15 national team titles. More information on the retirement celebration will be released in the coming weeks.

Seven Hawkeye wrestlers combined for 25 individual open tournament titles while competing unattached this season.

True freshman Bobby Telford won the most individual titles (6), winning the heavyweight brackets at the Northern Iowa, William Penn, Glen Brand, Pat “Flash” Flanagan, Grand View and DuHawk Opens. Telford won his last 16 matches, pinned 13 opponents and posted a 23-4 record.

True freshman Mike Evans won five titles at 174 – Kaufman-Brand, Northern Iowa, William Penn, Pat “Flash” Flanagan and DuHawk Opens – while going 22-2 and pinning 12 opponents. Evans ended the season on a 10-match winning streak.

True freshman Michael Kelly won four titles – Kaufman-Brand, Northern Iowa, William Penn and Glen Brand Opens – while wrestling at 157 pounds. He was 25-5 at 157 and 165.

Juniors J.J. Krutsinger (133) and Vinnie Wagner (184) each won three titles while competing unattached. Both won at the William Penn and DuHawk Opens, while Krutsinger won at the Grand View Open and Wagner won at the Glen Brand Open. Krutsinger went 14-1, while Wagner posted a 17-3 mark.

True freshmen Nick Moore (157/165) and Matt Gurule (125) have each won two titles. Both won at the DuHawk Open, while Moore won at the Pat “Flash” Flanagan Open and Gurule won at the William Penn Open. Moore went 20-4, winning his last eight bouts, while Gurule posted a 19-9 record.

On the 2010-11 Hawkeye wrestling team, there are three sets of brothers, two wrestlers whose fathers wrestled at Iowa and two uncle-nephew combinations.

Senior Matt Ballweg (149), sophomore Mark Ballweg (141/149) and freshman Jacob Ballweg (141) are brothers who hail from Waverly. They are the fifth set of three brothers to wrestle at Iowa, and the third set to be on the roster at the same time. The other sets of three brothers to compete for the Hawkeyes are Ed Banach, Lou Banach and Steve Banach; Marty Kistler, Harlan Kistler and Lindley Kistler; Mike Uker, Ben Uker and Joe Uker; and Lenny Zalesky, Larry Zalesky and Jim Zalesky.

Matt and Mark Ballweg are the 12th set of brothers to wrestle together in the Hawkeye lineup since the 1950s. The other 11 sets are Don and Tom Huff (1961), Mark and Scott Trizzino (1981), Lenny, Larry and Jim Zalesky (1981-82), Ed and Lou Banach (1981-83), Marty and Lindley Kistler (1984-85), Jim and John Heffernan (1987), Tom and Terry Brands (1989-92), Troy and Terry Steiner (1991-93), Ryan and Randy Fulsaas (2001) and Luke and Ty Eustice (2003-04).

Junior Stew Gillmor (149/157) and freshman Walt Gillmor (165) are brothers from Donahue, while sophomore Nate Moore (133) and freshman Nick Moore (157/165) are brothers from Iowa City.

Sophomore Matt McDonough (125/133) and redshirt freshman Nick Trizzino have fathers who wrestled for the Hawkeyes. Mike McDonough wrestled at Iowa from 1974-76, while Mark Trizzino was an All-American (1984) and four-year letterwinner (1981-84) for the Hawkeyes.

Senior Luke Lofthouse (197) is the uncle of Hawkeye redshirt freshman Ethen Lofthouse (174). Nick Trizzino’s uncle, Scott Trizzino, was a three-time All-American (1978-79-81) and four-time letterwinner (1977-79, 1981) for the Hawkeyes.

There have also been five sets of twins to wrestle at Iowa. They are Ed and Lou Banach, Tom and Terry Brands, Ben and Brett Stedman, Troy and Terry Steiner, and Randy and Ryan Fulsaas.

Iowa City has been selected to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling. The event will be held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa from April 21-22, 2012.

Iowa City was one of three finalist cities to make final presentations on their bid to a selection committee on Jan. 12. The committee included USA Wrestling staff and athletes, as well as representatives from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The other cities to make finalist presentations were Columbus, OH, and Council Bluffs, IA.

Initially, seven cities bid to host the competition. Those cities which were not selected for finalist presentations were Greensboro, NC; Hampton, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; and Pontiac, MI.

“We are unbelievably pleased and humbled with the response we received from cities wishing to host our most valuable event property,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “We would like to thank the leaders from all three finalist cities for their outstanding presentations. We hope that all of these cities continue to be involved with USA Wrestling and host wrestling events in years to come.”

The initial bid proposal for the event also included the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting. Due to a scheduling conflict, USA Weightlifting could no longer hold Trials on the selected dates and stepped out of the bid process.

The event will feature competition in the three Olympic styles of the sport – men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle. The competition will determine the U.S. athletes who will qualify to represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

The local organizing committee is led by the University of Iowa Athletics and the Iowa City/Coralville Area CVB and includes leaders from the City of Iowa City, City of Coralville and City of North Liberty. Among those serving on the host committee are legendary collegiate and Olympic wrestlers Dan Gable, Tom Brands, Terry Brands, Lincoln McIlravy and Cornell College coach Mike Duroe.

“I believe this is a good decision for the future of wrestling at all levels. This will help increase the visibility of our sport. I see more growth for wrestling as a result. It gets me very excited,” said wrestling legend Dan Gable from the local organizing committee.

“The Iowa City local organizing committee was selected based upon their proven track record of hosting large and successful wrestling events, as well as a history of drawing strong fan support,” said Bender. `We are committed to working tirelessly with the organizing committee and the entire community to host the most successful U.S. Olympic Team Trials in our history.”

“This community is fired up to welcome our nation’s best to Carver Hawkeye Arena and will come together as they have so many times to produce a Trials that is remembered for years to come,” said Joshua Schamberger, President of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau “Our entire community couldn’t be more excited by this news. We look forward to creating an athlete and fan experience that will carry on through London.”

Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which is located on the University of Iowa campus, serves as the home arena for Iowa’s wrestling team, as well as Iowa’s basketball and volleyball squads. The arena seats 15,000 for wrestling and is named after long-time wrestling supporter Roy J. Carver. The $47 million Carver-Hawkeye Arena – Addition and Renovation Project is underway to expand and upgrade facilities, and is scheduled for completion in time for the 2011-12 athletic year.

This is the first time that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling has been hosted in Iowa since USA Wrestling has served as National Governing Body in 1984. Carver-Hawkeye Arena hosted the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships four times (1986, 1991, 1995, 2001). The total attendance figures for the 1995 (80,389), 2001 (79,477) and 1991 (70.163) NCAA Championships rank ninth, 11th and 15th, respectively among NCAA Wrestling Championships. It also hosted the Big Ten Wrestling Championships three times (1983, 1994, 2005).

A preliminary U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifying event for wrestling was held in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 1984. Other major wrestling competitions held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena include two NWCA All-Star Classics (1993, 1996) and two Cliff Keen NWCA National Duals (1998, 1999).

The Field House at the University of Iowa hosted the first USA Wrestling Junior National Championships in 1971, and served as venue for the competition from 1971-1982. Iowa City also hosted USA Wrestling’s Greco-Roman National Championships three times (1975, 1977, 1978). Iowa City also hosted the 1983 USA Wrestling Freestyle World Team Trials.

“We are thrilled and excited with this remarkable opportunity to stage an event that will have the full attention of wrestling community not only in the state of Iowa and the Heartland, but the United States and the world. We are also delighted with the opportunity to showcase the revitalized Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Rest assured, the University of Iowa, the UI Athletics Department, and our city partners are ready to stage an event that USA Wrestling will be very, very proud of,” said Gary Barta, Athletics Director of the University of Iowa.

1984 – Allendale, Mich.
1988 – Pensacola, Fla.
1992 – Pittsburgh, Pa. (FS); Concord, Calif. (GR)
1996 – Spokane, Wash. (FS); Concord, Calif.(GR)
2000 – Dallas, Texas
2004 – Indianapolis, Ind.
2008 – Las Vegas, Nev.
2012 – Iowa City, Iowa

The Hawkeyes will travel to the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, which are scheduled for March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The NCAA, Rider University and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will co-host the event. Tickets to the event are sold out. Session times are as follows: Session 1 – Thursday at 10 a.m., Session 2 – Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Session 3 – Friday at 9:30 a.m., Session 4 – Friday at 6 p.m., Session 5 – Saturday at 10 a.m. and Session 6 – Saturday at 5:30 p.m. All session times are Central.

Iowa has won 23 NCAA team titles, including the last three. Iowa’s 51 NCAA champions have won a total of 78 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 15 two-time champs.

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