15,000 fans for the first round and pigtails of the NCAA Wrestling Tournament. That's insane. If I were a Hawkeye Wrestler, I would feel the hatred flowing from the 70% of the crowd that isn't pro-Iowa. Every time an Iowa wrestler lost, there was a huge ovation from all the other fans, lead by the Minnesota contingent. Iowa's noise level was still quite respectable.
As we get into some of the more meaningful matches, it'll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts, and which matches the crowd as a whole chooses to follow.
125 – Charlie Falck
Charlie let a match where he should have gotten bonus points become dangerously close at the end. He's obviously been working on finishing shots immediately, as he has a tendency to let guys drape over his back too often. Next up, Falck has Mark McKnight, who pulled the slight upset of Tyler Shinn in the round of 32. Charlie needs to be sure to stay fundamentally solid, even when trying to extend his lead. He wasn't the only Hawkeye guilty of this in the first round.
133 – Joey Slaton
Slaton dominated his match, start to finish, showed the ability to ride, the ability to score off shots (both his own and his opponents) and looked very sharp. Nebraska's Kenny Jordan only had an 8-8 record coming into the tournament, so hopefully, Slaton can earn the Hawks some more bonus points heading into Saturday.
141 – Dan LeClere
This story seems all too familiar. LeClere seemingly has a match in hand before a mental lapse late in the third period puts him out. The roar when he was defeated was deafening. He'll have to wrestle back tough to keep earning the Hawks points, Drouin, LeClere's first wrestleback opponent, took LeClere to overtime before Dan won 10-8 in sudden victory. This is very important for LeClere to win, to keep pace with other teams who have more wrestlers alive in the championship side of the bracket.
149 – Brent Metcalf
This match was going on at the same time as the Slaton match, so I was unable to catch much of a view of it, but it looked like Metcalf did what he does. Wore his opponent down, and took him apart. I looked up at one point and saw Metcalf had lifted his opponent completely off the ground, before setting him back down, en route to the pin he had in the first. Metcalf gets Kurt Kinser of Indiana next. Metcalf scored a major decision in Carver against Kinser, who's known as a big-move guy, mainly with a headlock throw.
157 – Ryan Morningstar
Morningstar wrestled hard, but didn't get the call late in the match. He rode his opponent well, nearly scoring back points a few times, but really was unable to finish shots. In the sudden victory, it appeared as if Ryan had the match won with a takedown, but the referee ruled it was still a neutral situation, before his opponent turned the tides and came out with the victory. Morningstar gets Christopher Stout of American University next.
165 – Mark Perry
Mark Perry took more shots in the first 45 seconds of that match than he took all weekend at the Big Ten Championships, ‘nuff said. Perry's back, now with offense! Look out Stephen Crozier, Perry's on a mission.
174 – Jay Borschel
Jay Borschel looked incredible in his match. He was a bit more careful about leaving his lead leg out, and thus, created much tighter scramble situations, that he came out on top of each and every time. Next up, Borschel will get Dergo, who he majored two weeks ago at the Big Tens, to win his way into the 3rd place match.
184 – Phil Keddy
Phil Keddy looked a little unsure early on, pushing a bit too hard with the underhooks, but eventually got his mind straightened out, working primarily on counters, coming around for takedown after takedown on his way to the major. Next up is Kirk Smith, who Keddy narrowly edged out 3-2 in the dual season. That's setting up a possible HUGE match in the quarterfinals with Mike Pucillo, the #2 seed.
285 – Matt Fields
It wasn't one of Matt's prettier offensive performances, but it got the job done. He gets Nathan Everhart of Indiana next, who he defeated 7-3 on February 15th.