DES MOINES, Iowa - The University of Iowa wrestling team won seven of nine bouts in the opening session of the NCAA Championships today inside Wells Fargo Arena. The Hawkeyes are in fourth place with 10 points after one round. Penn State (14.5) and Oklahoma State (13) are in first and second place, respectively.
"We got seven out of nine through, but we're not scoring enough points," said head coach Tom Brands. "Bonus points are a premium in this tournament. We need to get into the action and come ready to wrestle."
Senior Matt McDonough earned an opening round major decision at 125 pounds, topping Cleveland State's Ben Willeford, 10-2, with 3:55 riding time. McDonough scored a takedown in each of the first two periods, followed by a reversal in the third. The three-time NCAA finalist didn't give up an offensive point in the match.
Second-seeded junior Tony Ramos got off to a quick start with a first period fall over Bloomsburg's Nick Wilcox. Ramos scored a takedown off a single-leg attempt just 30 seconds into the match before locking up the cradle and ending the bout in 1:56. The pin was Ramos' 13th this season.
Senior Mark Ballweg will stay on the championship side of the bracket after a 3-0 decision over Lock Haven's Daniel Neff. Wrestling from the seventh-seed at 141 pounds, Ballweg scored off a low single-leg midway through the third period to clinch the match.
Junior Derek St. John advanced to the second round with a 9-3 decision over Matthew Frisch of Citadel. After giving up a takedown early in the match, second-seeded St. John escaped and responded with a double-leg takedown. He later scored takedowns in both the second and third periods and finished the match with 2:24 of riding time.
Sophomore Mike Evans used a second-period escape to defeat Central Michigan's Craig Kelliher at 174 pounds. Competing as the No. 3 seed, Evans rode Kelliher out for the entire third period and finished the 2-0 victory with 1:50 riding time.
Junior Ethen Lofthouse came out on top of an impressive 8-2 decision over Boaz Beard of Iowa State in the opening round. The 12th-seeded Lofthouse scored a takedown in all three periods and used 2:07 of riding time to advance to the second round.
Sixth-seeded sophomore Bobby Telford will also move on to the second round with an 8-1 (1:46 RT) decision over Bucknell's Joe Stolfi. Telford scored on two single leg attempts in the first period before turning Stolfi for a three-point near fall.
Sophomore Nick Moore dropped his opening round match to Iowa State's Michael Moreno at 165 pounds, and freshman Nathan Burak fell to top-seeded Dustin Kilgore of Kent State at 197 pounds. Both wrestlers will compete in Thursday night's wrestle-backs.
"We need to come out tonight and wrestle at a high pace," added Brands. "Bonus points equals intensity, and we need to come out ready to score some points."
Seven Hawkeyes will wrestle for a spot in the quarterfinals when competition resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m. (CT). Fans can follow the championships online via Hawkeye All-Access or watch a video stream on ESPN 3. Steven Grace and Mark Ironside will call the action live on AM-800 KXIC.
NCAA TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SESSION I (Top five)
Team - Points
1. Penn State 14.5
2. Oklahoma State 13
3. Minnesota 11
4. IOWA 10
5. Iowa State 9
IOWA'S FIRST ROUND NCAA RESULTS (# indicates tournament seed)
First Round Matches
125 - #3 Matt McDonough (IOWA) major dec. Ben Willeford (CLST), 10-2 (3:55 RT)
133 - #2 Tony Ramos (IOWA) pinned Nick Wilcox (BLOOM), 1:56
141 - #7 Mark Ballweg (IOWA) dec. Daniel Neff (LOCKH), 3-0
157 - #2 Derek St. John (IOWA) dec. Matthew Frisch (CIT), 9-3 (2:24 RT)
165 - Michael Moreno (ISU) dec. #10 Nick Moore (IOWA), 5-3 (2:22 RT)
174 - #3 Michael Evans (IOWA) dec. Craig Kelliher (CMICH), 2-0 (1:50 RT)
184 - #12 Ethen Lofthouse (IOWA) dec. Boaz Beard (ISU), 8-2 (2:07 RT)
197 - #1 Dustin Kilgore (Kent St.) major dec. Nathan Burak (IOWA), 10-2 (2:40 RT)
285 - #6 Bobby Telford (IOWA) dec. Joe Stolfi (BUCK), 8-1 (1:46 RT)
IOWA'S SECOND ROUND NCAA MATCHUPS (# indicates tournament seed)
125 - #3 Matt McDonough (IOWA) vs. Steve Mitcheff (Kent St.)
133 - #2 Tony Ramos (IOWA) vs. Joseph Ward (UNC)
141 - #7 Mark Ballweg (IOWA) vs. #10 Charles Cobb (PENN)
157 - #2 Derek St. John (IOWA) vs. Joshua Kreimier (AFA)
174 - #3 Michael Evens (IOWA) vs. Phillip Joseph (EMU)
184 - #12 Ethen Lofthouse (IOWA) vs. #5 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN)
285 - #6 Bobby Telford (IOWA) vs. #11 J.T. Felix (Boise St.)
IOWA CONSOLATION ROUND MATCHUPS (# indicates tournament seed)
165 - #10 Nick Moore (IOWA) vs. Caleb Marsh (Kent St.)
197 - Nathan Burak (IOWA) vs. James Fox (HARV)