Cyclones Qualify Eight for NCAA Championships

<b>Omaha, Neb. -</b> The Iowa State wrestling team placed second and qualified eight for the NCAA Championships as Nate Gallick and Kurt Backes claimed conference titles at the Big 12 Championships Saturday in Omaha at the Qwest Center. Oklahoma State claimed its seventh conference championship in nine years and seven conference titles with 95.5 points followed by ISU with 49, Nebraska with 47.5, Oklahoma with 45 and Missouri with 35. The Cyclones last finished runner-up in 2000.

"We had a good tournament, not a great tournament," Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas said. "Nate Gallick and Kurt Backes were outstanding. This is the toughest conference in the country and a great many of the placewinners will be All-Americans in two weeks.

Gallick, the 2004 Big 12 champion, defeated Oklahoma's Teyon Ware for his third career win against the 2003 national champion. Ware escaped with 0:01 remaining on the clock as time in the first overtime period expired. Gallick countered with an escape at the 0:16 mark to tie the score at two and put the match into sudden victory. Gallick and Ware swapped escapes in the second overtime session to tie the match at three but Gallick's 12-second cumulative riding time advantage gave him the 4-3 win after seven minutes of regulation and six overtime sessions and totaled an additional four minutes.

"Every time we wrestle each other and you know that opponent so well it is going to be a conservative match," Gallick said. "(Ware) is a dangerous wrestler and is very explosive and you have to be aware of that at all times. I knew I had the riding time advantage in the last overtime and was kind of surprised that he wasn't more aggressive in the final seconds. The season is going well."

Backes captured his first Big 12 title at 184 pounds with the tournament's third pin. The sophomore All-American scored an early first period takedown before a scramble took place and Backes pinned Pascoe in 2:13. Backes, now 25-4, had beaten Pascoe for third-place at the 2004 Big 12 Championships but had suffered just his third loss of the season this year to Pascoe in ISU's last dual, 9-6. "This was payback," Backes said. "He tied me up and I tried to bow with it. Once it happened I just rolled with it and he ended up on his back. I have worked really hard and I did have the memory of our last match in my mind.

Senior All-American Scott Coleman placed second at heavyweight, dropping a 9-4 decision to Steve Mocco. Coleman, to make his third NCAA Championships appearance, became the first wrestler to score points on Mocco this season other than escape points with a reversal in the second period.

Jesse Sundell qualified for his first NCAA Championships with a third-place finish at 133 pounds. Sundell scored a 6-4 overtime victory over Oklahoma's Joe Comparin with takedown halfway into the extra period. Trent Paulson also finished third with a major decision against Nebraska's B.J. Wright, 12-4, to earn his second straight NCAA appearance.

Grant Nakamura (125), Travis Paulson (165) and Nick Passolano (174) earned wild-card berths with fourth-place finishes. Nakamura will be making his third straight national tournament and Paulson, a 2004 All-American, will compete in his second national championships. Passolano qualified for his fourth NCAA Championships appearance in as many years.

Oklahoma State's true freshman Coleman Scott was named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler after he dealt Oklahoma's No. 1 rated Sam Hazewinkel his first loss of the season with a 2-1 overtime victory in the 125-pound final.

Fox Sports Midwest will air the Big 12 Championships Thursday at noon and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. next week. The Cyclones' eight national qualifiers will compete at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis at the Savvis Center March 17-19.

AllCyclones Top Stories