Iowa does just enough to win
ST. LOUIS -- Top-ranked Iowa relied on a deep roster to take its second straight NCAA wrestling title Saturday night, sewing up its 22nd championship without winning a weight class and losing a point to penalty.
The pre-meet favorites did just enough scoring away from the spotlight to win even though 149-pound Brent Metcalf, the Hawkeyes' lone finalist, had his 69-bout winning streak ended and then was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct. Iowa, which became the first school to win the team title without an individual titlist since Minnesota in 2001, built a 9.5-point lead earlier in the day and finished with 96.5 points, 4.5 points ahead of runner-up Ohio State.
Iowa State was third with 84.5 points, followed by Nebraska with 78.5 and Cornell with 73.5. Iowa romped to the title last year with a 38.5-point victory margin and Ohio State again finished second.
"Last year was a lot more fun," coach Tom Brands said. "This year, we did what we had to do and we found out what we're made of; a lot of guts going out there."
Ohio State's 3.5-point lead entering the final day evaporated Saturday morning when Iowa got a third-place finish from Ryan Morningstar at 164, fourths from Philip Keddy at 184 and heavyweight Daniel Erekson and a seventh from Daniel Dennis at 133.
J Jaggers repeated as champion at 141 for Ohio State, which led after the first two rounds, although he confessed to being unaware of the title implications while cruising to a 10-4 victory over eighth seed Ryan Williams of Old Dominion.
"Who would have predicted that at 149?" Jaggers said of Metcalf's loss. "In hindsight I would have tried to fire off a couple more takedowns, try to get that major."
Brands defended Metcalf, noting the match wasn't over when the collision occurred and he was penalized.
"He wrestled to the very end and that clock was not out when he went after that guy," Brands said. "I'll stick up for my guy there. He did not quit."
The Buckeyes had three finalists, most in the field, but lost to unbeaten top seeds at 133 and 184 pounds. Top seed Franklin Gomez (27-2) of Michigan put an early dent in Ohio State's title hopes with a 5-4 decision at 133 over Reece Humphrey, who also lost to Gomez for the Big Ten title.
Northwestern's Jake Herbert, the unbeaten top seed at 184, wrapped up a perfect year and ended Ohio State's slim title chances with a 6-3 victory over second seed Mike Pucillo. The Buckeyes needed a major decision in that match and Herbert noted the huge Iowa fan following was in his corner.
"That was great," Herbert said. "Just knowing I had them on my side, that gave me three-fourths of the arena really rooting for me."
Herbert (34-0) has won 65 straight matches and 102 of 103, taking a redshirt year last year to try out for the U.S. Olympic team after winning in 2007. He opened the meet with a pin and three major decisions.
Three others finished unbeaten season, Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs (35-0) at 157, Michigan's Steve Luke (32-0) at 174 and Cornell's Troy Nickerson (15-0) at 125.
Burroughs had a 5-1 decision over Illinois' Mike Poeta, who finished second for the second straight year. Luke improved on his runnerup showing from 2008 with an 8-4 decision over seventh seed Mike Miller of Central Michigan and Nickerson ended another unbeaten run with a 2-1 decision over top seed Paul Donohoe of Edinboro.
Donohoe was a 2007 champion at Nebraska, transferring after getting kicked off the team for appearing on a pornographic Web site.
Jarrod King of Edinboro, the 12th seed at 165 and the lowest seed to make the finals, won by a 3-2 decision over freshman Andrew Howe of Wisconsin, the second seed.
Jake Varner of Iowa State, the runnerup at 197 last year, decisioned top seed Craig Brester of Nebraska 2-1. Missouri heavyweight Mark Ellis decisioned Konrad Dudziak of Duke 3-2 in a tiebreaker.
The three-day meet set an event attendance record of 97,111. St. Louis was host site for the fifth time this decade and owns the top four attendance marks. ... Oklahoma State, which has won 34 titles, went without even a semifinalist for the first time in school history. The Cowboys finished 16th. ... Arizona State's Anthony Robles, born without a right leg, received a huge ovation on the medal stand for finishing fourth at 125. ... Nickerson and Donohoe were the first former champions to face each other since Iowa's Lincoln McIlravy beat Iowa State's Chris Bono in 1997.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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