Congratulations to the wrestlers and coaches on a phenomenal championship run over the last three days. Prior to this year I hadn't followed the wrestling program since the Lorenzo years so it was great to get back into it.
I'm sure psuwresfan and jtothep will have a lot more for us in the next couple of days but I'm sill riding the high of another national championship. There were a lot of ups- Friday nights semis, winning three out of four- and downs- injuries to Wade and Ruth- as the tourney ran it's course but mostly more ups than down.
Here's how you win a Championship. Iowa and Cornell matched PSU's total of 5 All-Americans, the difference was PSU had all five finish in the top 3 of their weight class versus two each for Iowa and Cornell.
Pataky, unseeded at 125, came up short sandwiching one win between two losses. He is the only Senior we'll be losing from this group.
Long, 133, 3 seed, wrestled well and racked up some bonus points before losing in the semifinals. He came back strong to finish third.
Andrew Alton, 141, 6 seed, looked good in his first two matches before losing to the eventual second place finisher and then knocked out in the consolation round to miss the podium. Young Andrew needs to hit the weight room this offseason. Each of his losses that I saw this year came to opponents that were physically stronger and out muscled him on many scoring opportunities. As a true freshman this should have been expected.
Frank Molinaro, 149 2 seed, was dominant before Dake of Cornell knocked him off in the finals. Dake looked like he wanted it more and Molinaro couldn't over come the length advantage of the taller Dake.
David Taylor, 157 3 seed, could find no magic against former teammate Bubba Jenkins in the finals. Much was made about the three undefeated wrestlers at this weight but Bubba made it through for the title.
Ed Ruth, 174 2 seed, defaulted due to a shoulder injury after falling behind in the quarters. Unlike Alton, Ruth was able to recover and dominate the consolation bracket for third place. Ruth was also recognized for scoring the most falls in the least total time.
Cameron Wade, HWT, also defaulted due to injury in the quarters. Wade let out a scream as his knee was wrenched by eventual champion Zach Rey of Lehigh. He tried to make it back in the consilation bracket but defaulted there as well.
Quentin Wright, Champion at 185, has been unstoppable from the beginning of the post season. Q lost his last three matches of the Dual season culminating with a pin by Travis Rutt (Wisc) on February 18. He was rightfully seeded 8th in the Big Ten Tournament (BTT) and then began his streak of vengeance. Including:
Major Dec. over Collins of Michigan (Q lost by fall in 24 seconds in their Feb. 6 match)
Dec. over Rutt, Wisc. (lost by fall 2/18)
Dec. over Dallago, Ill (lost by dec 2/11)
Dec. over Steinhaus, Minn in BTT final (lost by Maj Dec 2/13)
Dec. over Steinhaus again in NCAA 2nd round
Dec. over #1 Honeycutt, Edinboro NCAA Quarterfinal
Outrageous pin of Gambrall, Iowa in semis (L 8-3 on 1/30)
Dec 5-2 over #2 Hamlin, Lehigh in NCAA Championship Final (L 4-3 on 11/14/10)
Things came together perfectly for Wright as he returned from redshirting last year and a shoulder injury.
A few weeks ago we were discussing that Sanderson has raised the program ahead of schedule but it's still not where we all want it to be. That schedule accelerated through the BTT and NCAA titles however this is far from a finished product. Seven of the eight NCAA qualifiers and all 5 All Americans return next year and all will need to improve on this seasons results. There will be holes to be filled at 125, 165 and 197. It will be interesting to see how this develops, who's going to move up in weight class? Is redshirt Cowburn the answer at 165? Can Nico come in as a true freshman and succeed at 125? When the Hawkeye lovers, like Rambler, tell you that Iowa was in a rebuilding year this year be sure to remind them that Sanderson's building project is far from complete.