Iowa Grapplers In Big Hole After First Session

The Big Ten Wrestling Championships started today in Iowa City and after the first session Iowa sits in 5th place. Illinois leads with 56 ½ points, Minnesota is second with 55, Michigan is third with 54, surprising Indiana is fourth with 52, and Iowa has 47. contributor Dave Luze was on hand and offers his views on the first day of the Big Ten tournament, as well as his analysis on the rest of the meet.

Iowa had five pigtail matches. Alex Tsirtsis started Iowa off with a 4-2 decision over Jason Johnstone of Ohio State. Alex spent a lot of time on the bottom and had to fight from being turned to his back for much of the third period as Johnstone worked hard at rolling Alex over with a Half-Nelson.

Mark Perry got the Iowa crowd fired up with a first period fall against Jared Turner from Penn State.

Luke Lofthouse got manhandled against Jake Herbert from Northwestern, losing 16-1. Herbert turned Lofthouse to his back on four separate occasions getting 3-point near falls each time.

Adam Fellers pulled off an upset against Willie Breyer from Michigan winning 3-2 in an exciting match. The match ended with both wrestlers on their feet as Fellers fought off a few Breyer shots in the last minute. The key to this match was Fellers' getting an escape just before Breyer was able to push his riding time to one minute. Breyer ended the match with 59 seconds riding time, just missing out on the tying point.

Fields had a solid match against Lee Kraemer from Wisconsin winning 11-3. Fields had four takedowns, a reversal, and a riding time point.

In the first round Charlie Falck faced Kyle Ott from Illinois and lost a lopsided match 18-3. Falck had trouble keeping Ott off his legs and really looked overmatched.

Galanakis beat TJ Enright from Ohio State 2-0 in a match with not a lot of action. The first period ended with no scoring. Galanakis rode Enright the entire 2nd period but was unable to turn him to his back. Mario got an escape in the third period and the match ended with both wrestlers on their feet.

Alex Tsirtsis lost to Mike Simpson from Indiana 3-1, reversing the decision from a couple weeks ago in Iowa's last dual meet of the season. In the dual meet Alex completely dominated Simpson on top racking up over 3 minutes of riding time. This match was different as Simpson didn't allow Tsirtsis to ride him. Alex had many good shots but was never able to finish them.

Ty Eustice had no trouble beating Isaac Knable from Indiana 21-7. This match was a takedown clinic as Eustice seemed to be able to get them at will. The match was stopped for about a minute with 4 seconds left as it appeared Ty got poked in the eye.

Joe Johnston beat Tyler Turner from Wisconsin 7-3. Johnston had 3 takedowns and scored the other point on riding time.

Mark Perry had a forfeit in his second match of the day. Perry and John DeCeault from Purdue put on their red and green anklets, the ref blew the whistle to start the match and a second later he blew the whistle to end the match. I have never seen this done. Normally if one kid is going to forfeit the ref just raises the kid's hand in victory. For some reason they went through the trouble of putting on anklets and crouching down in a ready position.

Paul Bradley lost a very disappointing match to Ben Wissel from Purdue 3-1. Not much happened in the first period as the two butted heads and tied up. They exchanged escapes and with both on their feet with about 30 seconds left Wissel took Bradley down and rode him out.

Adam Fellers wrestled third seeded Delguyd from Northwestern tough but gave up a takedown late in the third period to lose 5-3. Fellers almost had a takedown earlier in the match but his feet were just out of bounds as he tackled Delguyd's legs.

Matt Fields lost to Dustin Fox from Northwestern for the 2nd time this season and the third since finishing High School. Fields lost to Fox in a summer tournament as well as the dual meet earlier in the year. Fields was taken down once and just could not get a good takedown attempt in losing 3-1.

As we enter the 2nd session Iowa only has four wrestlers that have qualified for nationals thus far in the meet. Falck wrestles Clum from Wisconsin who he beat in overtime the last time they faced each other. Falck still has to win two matches to make it to St. Louis.

Tsirtsis is a little better off because he has a bye in the next round of consolations. Alex still needs to win one more match to qualify.

Lofthouse faces an uphill battle as he now has to beat number 8 seed James Yonushonis from Penn State and then one other person to move on to nationals. Fellers has a bye in the next round of consolations but he still has to find one more win if he is going to qualify for nationals. Fields also has to win two more matches to move on.

Overall I thought Iowa wrestled much like they did during the course of the year. Tsirtsis once again had trouble getting out from underneath which seems to be a common thread among the freshman. Alex spent a lot of energy trying to stay off his back in his pigtail match, which may have affected him against Simpson.

This is a very close meet so far. Indiana has been kind of surprising and Minnesota seems to be peaking at the right time. The consolations will be huge and if Iowa can get a few guys into the third place matches they will have as good of a chance as anybody to take home the title.

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