A disappointing weekend for those of us who were praying for an NCAA Championship this year. Although Iowa ended up winning, it was disappointing for them as they won by a narrow margin, and didn't have a single NCAA champion (Metcalf lost in the finals).
Here are the final team standings:
- Iowa 96.5
- Ohio State 92.0
- ISU 84.5
Here's how each of our guys did:
125: Clark -> 1-2. Improved from last year. I am looking forward to a big year next year
133: Fanthorpe -> 2-2. A little disappointing, but he ran into some bad luck as well.
141: Gallick -> 3rd place. He beat #2 Tanelli (Wisconsin) 5-3 in the 3rd place match. He did a nice job this weekend
- 149: Mueller -> 3-2. He did better than I thought he would to be honest..
157: Sanderson -> 3-2. Ran into some bad luck, but he could've done better. He struggled down the stretch this year.
- 165: Reader -> 4th place. He lost to #3 Morningstar (Iowa) 7-5.
- 174: Burk -> 1-2. He did about what I would expect.
- 184: Ward -> 0-2. I was hoping he'd do better, but I guess I didn't expect him to. Just a good overall experience for him and I think he'll be much better next year.
- 197: Varner -> NCAA Champ! He beat #1 Brester (Nebraska) 2-1
- HWT: Zabriskie -> 5th place. I would say it was a pretty disappointing weekend for Big Z. After losing a tough match to Dudziak in the Semis, he started off today by getting pinned by #7 Erekson (Iowa). Kind of surprising since he's gone 3-0 against Erekson in his career...He beat #3 Porter (Kent State) 4-2 in the 5th place match.
In the end, Iowa did what they had to do. They got bonus points, and had some of the other guys perform better than expected to make up from some of the disappointments from individuals (like Metcalf losing in the finals).
Overall, it was a more balanced year at the top than I had expected. Iowa had 5 All-Americans, Ohio State with 4, ISU with 4, Cornell with 4, Missouri with 4. Also, no team had more than 1 NCAA champion, and Iowa had 0. Those were expecting Iowa to walk away with it, but really they had to sweat a little and Erekson's pin on Zabriskie was a key moment for them.
Next year, I hope we can do a little bit better. I look at Fanthorpe, Gallick, Reader, Varner (obviously since he just won), and Zabriskie as all NCAA Champion-Caliber. Providing they can improve, I think Clark, Mueller, and Ward could all be All-Americans as well. We have too much talent to not have at least half the team as All-Americans and a couple of guys in the finals. It's do or die time for ISU next year. We'll have a team loaded with Juniors and Seniors, so it's really a good opportunity. I realize that Iowa and Nebraska will have a lot of upperclassmen as well, and it really will be interesting to see how we do next year in the Big 12, and Nationally.
I am happy that Varner won as he deserved to be a champ. I hope he can repeat next year and have more guys on that podium as well.