One Week Until NCAA Championships

March 8, 2012

NCAA Championship Notes

The University of Iowa wrestling team competes at the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis beginning March 15. The three-day event, hosted by the Scottrade Center, begins Thursday at 11 a.m. Session II starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Sessions III and IV begin Friday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Session V begins Saturday at 10 a.m., and the finals begin Saturday at 6:30 p.m. All times listed as Central.

For the fourth year, ESPN3 will provide an exclusive four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling on the multi-screen sports network. Beginning March 15 at 11 a.m. (CT), ESPN3 viewers will have the opportunity to view hundreds of individual matches throughout the three-day tournament. Shawn Kenney and Jim Gibbons will voice sessions one and two on ESPN3.

For the sixth consecutive year, two of the four quarterfinals, as well as the semifinals, will be televised on ESPNU in a revised side-by-side format to maximize the HD viewing experience, allowing viewers to catch the action in two matches at the same time.

ESPNU will televise the Championship medal round and the individual weight class championships on Saturday, March 17, with the finals at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN. During the Finals, two referees per match will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access and understanding of the action.

The NCAA tournament will be broadcast in its entirety on AM-800 KXIC and streamed online at via Hawkeye All-Access. Steven Grace and Mark Ironside will have the call live from Scottrade Center.

Two-time All-American Montell Marion


Thursday, March 15
11 a.m. ESPN3
6:30 p.m. ESPN3

Friday, March 16
10 a.m. ESPNU/ESPN3
6 p.m. ESPNU/ESPN3

Saturday, March 17
10 a.m. ESPNU/ESPN3
6:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3
ESPN announcers include Shawn Kenney, Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson and Adam Amin.

Fans can follow the championship action via twitter @theiowahawkeyes or join the interactive conversation on the Official Iowa Wrestling Blog at

The NCAA announced Wednesday that eight Hawkeyes earned berths to the NCAA Championships. Matt McDonough (125), Tony Ramos (133), Montell Marion (141), Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (165), Ethen Lofthouse (174), Grant Gambrall (184) and Bobby Telford (285) earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships following their performances at the conference tournament March 3-4.

Seven of Iowa’s eight qualifiers earned seeds at the national tournament, and all seven are seeded in the top five — more than any other school. Iowa’s seeded wrestlers include Matt McDonough (1st-125), Tony Ramos (3rd-133), Montell Marion (3rd-141), Derek St. John (2nd-157), Mike Evans (5th-165), Ethen Lofthouse (5th-174), and Bobby Telford (5th-285).

Junior Matt McDonough claimed his second career conference title at the Big Ten Championships on March 4. He’ll aim for his second national title at the NCAA Championships. McDonough won the 2010 NCAA title with a 3-1 decision over Iowa State’s Andrew Long. He finished runner-up in 2011, dropping a 7-1 decision to Arizona State Anthony Robles. McDonough enters the 2012 tournament as the top-seeded 125-pounder. If he reaches the finals again this season, he’ll be the first Hawkeye since Brent Metcalf to reach the finals in three straight years. Metcalf won titles in 2008 and 2010 and finished runner-up in 2009.

Sophomore Derek St. John ran through the three top seeds to earn the title at the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. A runner-up at last year’s conference tournament, St. John entered this season’s championship as the No. 6 seed after missing most of the season with an injured knee. He topped Nebraska’s third-seeded James Green, 6-4, in the quarterfinals before defeating Penn State’s second-seeded Dylan Alton, 4-2, in the semis. Both wins were decided in the first sudden victory period. He then scored a takedown in the closing seconds to defeat Northwestern’s top-seeded Jason Welch 4-3 in the finals. St. John was one of only two wrestlers not seeded No. 1 to win a Big Ten title (#5 Mario Gonzalez, Ill., 197 lbs.).

Junior Matt McDonough enters the championships on a 23-match winning streak, his longest such streak since winning 32 straight to start the 2009-10 season. McDonough’s last loss was an 11-7 overtime decision to Illinois’ Jesse Delgado (Dec. 2). He has since defeated Delgado twice. First at the National Duals tournament (6-3) and most recently in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament (4-3).

Two Hawkeyes will be making their NCAA Championships debut, including redshirt freshmen Mike Evans (165) and Bobby Telford (285). Both Hawkeyes earned automatic bids to national tournament by placing second at the Big Ten Tournament March 3-4.

Sophomore Tony Ramos recorded five falls, four major decisions and three technical falls in 18 duals this season, racking up a team-high 74 points and a 17-1 dual record. He has just one loss in 30 career duals.

The Hawkeyes have seven wrestlers with previous NCAA championships experience. Junior Matt McDonough has advanced to the NCAA finals each of the past two seasons, winning the championship in 2010 and finishing runner-up in 2011. Montell Marion is a two-time All-American at 141 pounds. The senior from Des Moines, Iowa, placed second in 2010 and earned a fourth place finish in 2011. Sophomore Derek St. John and junior Grant Gambrall also earned All-America honors in 2011. St. John placed fourth at 157 pounds, and Gambrall earned third place at 184 pounds. Sophomores Tony Ramos (133) and Ethen Lofthouse (174), and senior Blake Rasing (285) also earned NCAA berths last season.

2011 All-American Derek St. John

The Hawkeyes won their first NCAA title in in 1975. They won a total of 23 since, their last coming in 2010. Iowa’s 51 NCAA Champions have won a total of 78 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 15 two-time champions. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 27 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 144 All-Americans have earned All-America status 291 times, including 17 four-time, 29 three-time and 38 two-time honorees.

10 different Hawkeyes have been named the NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler. They include Chuck Yagla (1976), Bruce Kinseth (1979), Jim Zalesky (1984), Barry Davis (1985), Mary Kistler (1986), Tom Brands (1992), Terry Steiner (1993), Lincoln McIlravy (1997), Joe Williams (1998) and Brent Metcalf (2008).

The Hawkeyes have crowned at least one All-American every year since 1972, a span of 40 seasons. Iowa totaled 235 All-America honors during that stretch. The Hawkeyes return four of five All-Americans from last year. Matt McDonough (2nd-125), Montell Marion (4th-141), Derek St. John (4th-157) and Grant Gambrall (3rd-184) return from last year’s squad. Luke Lofthouse (5th-197) was lost to graduation. Iowa’s record for All-Americans in a single season is nine – the Hawkeyes crowned nine All-Americans six times, most recently in 1995.

Since 1974, the year Iowa won its first NCAA team title, only seven schools have captured the NCAA Championship. During that 38-year span, the Hawkeyes have won 23 team titles, including nine straight from 1978-86. The other schools include Oklahoma State (7), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), Arizona State (1), Oklahoma (1) and Penn State (1). The Hawkeyes have had 117 NCAA finalists since 1974, 44 more than any other school; and 66 national champions, 22 more than any other school.

Senior Montell Marion’s 3-2 win over Minnesota’s Nick Dardanes on Jan. 29 marked the 80th career victory for the 141-pound wrestler from Des Moines, Iowa. Marion owns an 87-20 career record, including a 26-3 mark this season. He leads Iowa with a team-best 10 major decisions and is seeded third at the national tournament. Only junior Matt McDonough (95) has more career victories among active Hawkeyes.

1-2-3 PUNCH
Iowa’s three lower weights have a combined 85-7 (.924) record this season with 49 bonus-point victories. Junior Matt McDonough (125) leads Iowa with 10 pins. Sophomore Tony Ramos (133) owns a team-best seven technical falls and senior Montell Marion (141) leads the Hawkeyes with 10 major decisions.

Junior Matt McDonough owns a career record of 95-4 (.960). Iowa’s top wrestlers in program history based on winning percentage include:

1. T.J. Williams (98-1-0) .990
2. Brent Metcalf (108-3-0) .972
3. Lincoln McIlravy (96-3-0) .970
4. Tom Brands (158-7-2) .952
5. Terry Brands (137-7) .951

Iowa crowned a pair of individual champions and placed third overall at the Big Ten Championships March 3-4 on the campus of Purdue. Junior Matt McDonough (125) and sophomore Derek St. John (157) each captured tournament titles. The Hawkeyes advanced a league-high six wrestlers to the conference finals, but Tony Ramos (133), Montell Marion (141), Mike Evans (165) and Bobby Telford (285) all had to settle for runner-up honors. Ethen Lofthouse (174) and Grant Gambrall (184) placed third and fifth, respectively. Iowa’s eight place-winners earned automatic bids to the 2012 NCAA Championships. Penn State won its second straight conference title and Minnesota placed second. Both schools earned nine automatic qualifying bids.

2011 All-American Grant Gambrall

The Hawkeyes accounted for eight of the 74 automatic bids decided by the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. The Big Ten’s 74 automatic qualifiers were more than any other conference and 10 more than it received a year ago. The Hawkeyes automatic qualifiers include Matt McDonough (125), Tony Ramos (133), Montell Marion (141), Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (165), Ethen Lofthouse (174), Grant Gambrall (184) and Bobby Telford (285).

The Hawkeyes’ 19-17 win over Minnesota on Jan. 29 marked Iowa’s 10th dual win of the season. The Hawkeyes have won at least 10 duals in every season dating back to 1967-68 — a span of 45 seasons. Iowa finished 2011-12 with 14 dual victories (14-4).

The Hawkeyes topped Nebraska, 24-9, on Jan. 13 to earn the 900th dual win in program history. Iowa owns a 906-219-31 (.797) dual record in 101 seasons. Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oregon State are the only other schools to record at least 900 dual wins.

Junior Matt McDonough earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors on Jan. 31. McDonough upset top-ranked Zach Sanders to help lead Iowa to a 19-17 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 29. He did not allow an offensive point while scoring two takedowns and a reversal against the previously unbeaten Sanders. The conference honor was the second of McDonough’s career.

Tony Ramos earned his second career conference honor when he was named Big Ten co-Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 10. Ramos, a sophomore from Carol Stream, Ill., pinned Indiana’s Joe Duca in the second period at Indiana (1/6) before earning a 4-3 overtime decision against Oklahoma State’s top-ranked Jordan Oliver (1/7). He had previously won the award after a pair of bonus point victories against No. 7 Illinois (12/2) and Iowa State (12/4). He posted a 13-5 major decision over the Illini’s B.J. Futrell, then-ranked No. 2 in the country, and recorded a second period pin against Iowa State’s Shayden Terukina. Ramos, currently ranked No. 3, owns a 28-3 record with five major decisions, seven technical falls and six pins.