Hawkeye Grapplers Win Big Ten Title

The Iowa wrestling team came back with a strong performance Sunday to win its 32nd Big Ten team title. The Hawkeyes scored 127 points to Minnesota's 112.5. Brent Metcalf became Iowa's 101st Big Ten Champion when he won the 149-pound title, and Iowa qualified nine wrestlers to the upcoming NCAA Championships.

The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team came back with a strong performance Sunday to win its 32nd Big Ten team title at the conference championships in Minneapolis, MN. The Hawkeyes scored 127 points, while runner-up Minnesota tallied 112.5. Sophomore Brent Metcalf became Iowa's 101st Big Ten Champion when he won the 149-pound title, and the Hawkeyes qualified nine wrestlers to the upcoming NCAA Championships. It is the first time that Iowa has advanced nine competitors since 2004 when it qualified its entire 10-man lineup.

Iowa nearly swept the post-meet team awards as Metcalf was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships and Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, and Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Metcalf is the third Hawkeye to earn both honors in the same season. Former Hawkeyes Tom Brands (1989), Terry Brands (1992) and Mark Ironside (1997) also accomplished that feat. Brands is the third Hawkeye coach to earn the annual Big Ten honor, as former head coaches Dan Gable (1993, 1996) and Jim Zalesky (2000, 2004) each earned the honor twice.

                "We had a good (first) session, then a not-so-good (second) session and ended with a good (third) session, which is what you want," explained Brands. "We won the team title and had a lot of fans at the arena. We also had a lot of guys stay tough in the wrestlebacks."

Metcalf, who is the nation's top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds, earned his first Big Ten title when he defeated two-time Big Ten champion and two-time all-American Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota, 5-3. It was the first collegiate meeting between the two. The Hawkeye sophomore scored his 30th season and career win and extended his winning streak to 27 matches with the decision over Schlatter, who is ranked third in the country. Schlatter scored the first takedown, but Metcalf countered with two escapes to tie the score at 2-2 after two periods. Schlatter escaped to start the third period, but Metcalf was awarded a point when the Golden Gopher junior was given his second stall warning of the match to tie the match at 3-3. Metcalf secured the win by scoring a takedown with 11 seconds remaining in the bout.

"Brent Metcalf did an outstanding job." said Brands. "He is a great example of what I want all our guys to aspire to. Duplicate Brent Metcalf."

                Senior 165-pounder Mark Perry wrestled in his fourth Big Ten finals match, but came up short in defending his 2007 conference title. Perry lost a 3-2 decision to Michigan's Eric Tannenbaum. Perry, who is the nation's top wrestler at 165, is now 2-2 against the Wolverine senior, who is ranked third in the country.

                Hawkeye senior Matt Fields (Hwt.) and sophomores Joe Slaton (133), Jay Borschel (174) and Phillip Keddy (184) helped the team win its first conference title since 2004 when they wrestled back for third place at their respective weight classes. Fields won both of his Sunday matches in the tiebreak overtime, picking up his 90th career victory in the third-place match. Junior Charlie Falck placed fourth at 125 and sophomore Dan LeClere placed fifth at 141. Sophomore Ryan Morningstar picked up his 20th season win when he posted a 6-1 decision over Purdue's Nick Bertucci to place seventh at 157 and automatically advance for the NCAA Championships.

                Iowa's final competition of the season will be at the NCAA Championships, March 20-22 in St. Louis, MO. All matches will be held at the Scottrade Center. The finals will be televised live on ESPN. Tickets to the event are available at (866) 646-8849 or www.ticketmaster.com.



Place     Team                                     Points

1.            Iowa                                      127.0

2.            Minnesota                          112.5

3.            Michigan                             97.5

4.            Illinois                                  94.0

5.            Ohio State                          92.5

6.            Wisconsin                           85.5

7.            Penn State                          84.5

8.            Indiana                                 80

Northwestern                   80

10.          Purdue                                 51.5

11.          Michigan State                  34.0



149 - Brent Metcalf (Iowa) dec. Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota), 5-3

165 - Eric Tannenbaum (Michigan) dec. Mark Perry (Iowa), 3-2



125 - Gabe Flores (Illinois) dec. Charlie Falck (Iowa), 3-1

133 - Joe Slaton (Iowa) dec. Mack Reiter (Minnesota), 3-0

174 - Jay Borschel (Iowa) maj. dec. Nick Hayes (Northwestern), 10-2

184 - Phillip Keddy (Iowa) dec. Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin), 6-3

HWT. - Matt Fields (Iowa) dec. Kyle Massey (Wisconsin), 3-1 TB

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