and noted Iowa was in to meet the 'Cats, and, as a huge wrestling fan, couldn't pass that one up. I figured we'd win two matches (Lang and Herbert) and, well, I'd take that. It was IOWA after all.
(I also thought about going to the basketball game Sat AM but turned out my time was much better spent seeing the last set at a Chicago blues bar and sleeping late that watching bouncy-ball turn into the McGaw Bricklaying Co. again.)
And, wow. First, an electric atmosphere, helped hugely by a loud student section -- some of whom actually wore singlets, something in 20 years of watching wrestling I have never seen before. It got louder and louder as it became more and more clear the 'Cats could win. It was a huge lift for the 'Cats to have this kind of crowd.
Second, I cannot say enough about the clutch performances delivered by our guys. There was no margin for error and they delivered every time they had to beat the nation's most high-profile wrestling team, Dan Gable's school, a team we hadn't beaten in 37 years!
Clutch doesn't describe John Velez, wrestling with a bum shoulder in the final bout to win the match (he was so injured the coaches had weighed in an
alternative wrestler); Herbert and Lang with the big wins; Matt Delguyd pounding out a major decision; freshman Dustin Fox's escape with 15 seconds to go beat the No. 10 heavyweight in the country and, most of all, true frosh Mike Tamillow -- from Fenwick, from where a lot of fans showed up to watch him -- rallying from behind with a last-second takedown to beat the No. 5-ranked 184-pounder, a Midlands champion!.
We've talked about the lack of clutch performances from football and hoops at times. Perhaps they could learn from what these kids did Saturday night because the wrestlers redefined clutch.
The celebration was wild, with stunned bumblebees staggering away in horror (ohhh, TOO BAD!!!) as it was, truly, a Purple Haze in McGaw! Just a week
earlier the Cats had broken a five-year Big Ten losing streak on the mats and now they'd beaten Iowa!
I know this isn't a huge wrestling list but this is, for wrestling, equal to, perhaps even better, than beating Ohio State was for football. I know you're all NU fans, and, believe me, had you been at Welsh-Ryan Saturday you would never, ever be prouder of a bunch of 'Cats than of our glorious wrestlers.
I'll never forget it; it was one of the greatest nights as a sports fan I have ever, and will ever, have. And it's hard for me to say just how pleased and
proud and happy for our wrestlers I am. Go 'Cats!
Beat 'em All!
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