Iowa in Third Place Before Placing Matches of Big Ten Wrestling Championships

By KJ Pilcher, Reporter

Iowa's Mike Kelly wrestles with Michigan State's Dan Osterman during their 149 pound extra match to qualify for the NCAA Tournament at the 2012 Big Ten Championships Sunday, March 4, 2012 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. Osterman won the match denying the Kelly the chance to wrestle at Nationals. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News) . (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

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By James Steward

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — The University of Iowa Hawkeyes sit in third place heading into the top placing matches of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships on Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena.

Minnesota started the second day in first, 4.5 points ahead of Iowa, which led defending champion Penn State by a point. The Nittany Lions grabbed the team lead after the consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches. Penn State has 126.5, Minnesota is second with 124 and Iowa has 116.

The Hawkeyes have six finalists, while the Golden Gophers have five and Penn State three. Iowa and Minnesota face off in two finals (McDonough vs. Sanders at 125 and Telford vs. Nelson at heavyweight). The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions will compete in the 165 final (Evans vs. Taylor). Minnesota and Penn State face off in the 149 and 174 championships.

Iowa’s Tony Ramos will face top-seeded Logan Stieber of Ohio State in the 133 finals. Montell Marion takes on Michigan’s top-seeded Kellen Russell at 141. Derek St. John reached his second straight Big Ten final and will wrestle No. 1 seed Jason Welch of Northwestern.

Iowa had two wrestlers compete in the consolation semifinals earlier Sunday. Ethen Lofthouse scored a decision over Jordan Blanton of Illinois at 174. He advanced with a 9-6 decision and will face Northwestern’s Lee Munster for third.

Iowa 184-pounder Grant Gambrall will wrestle for fifth place after a tough loss to Illinois’ Tony Dallago. Dallago scored a takedown in the final 20 seconds for a 5-3 win. Gambrall faces Michigan State’s Ian Hinton.

Iowa’s Mike Kelly competed in one of the opening bouts of the second day, vying for the ninth and final automatic NCAA berth at 149. Kelly dropped a 3-1 decision to Michigan State’s Dan Osterman, and did not qualify. The Hawkeyes will send eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships on March 15-17 at St. Louis, Mo.
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