Iowa pushes three (of four) to NCAA Finals

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Iowa 125-pounder Thomas Gilman celebrates his semifinal pin of Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello during the NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday, March 18, 2016. Gilman pinned Tomasello 37 seconds into overtime. (The Daily Iowan/Valerie Burke)

By Jordan Hansen

[email protected]

NEW YORK — Three Iowa wrestlers will compete for an NCAA individual title in tomorrow’s finals.

Thomas Gilman (125), Cory Clark (133), and Brandon Sorensen (149) will all vie for a chance at individual glory on March 19 in Madison Square Garden.

Gilman got things started for Iowa on the March 18, upsetting No. 1 seed Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) with a pin 37 seconds into overtime. Tomasello had nearly won the match in the waning seconds of the third period but could not quite finish a late shot.

“He wanted to end the match there, but he didn’t,” Gilman said. “The ref made the call in my favor and went into overtime. I saw him go a little bit slow to the center of the mat, so that’s where I knew I had him.”

Including the tournament, Gilman has now won 25 matches this season (he’s 28-1 overall) by bonus-point victories. He’s won by bonus points in every match during this tournament, which has helped propel him toward a rematch with Penn State’s Nico Megaludis in the finals.

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Megaludis, of course, beat Gilman in the semifinals of this season’s Big Ten Championships.

That won’t be the only Penn State-Iowa rematch from that event during the finals. Sorensen will face the Nittany Lion’s Zain Retherford, who beat him, 4-0, when the pair wrestled in the conference-title match.

“It’s another step to where I want to be, and we’ve got another one tomorrow to where I really want to be,” Sorensen said. “It’s a goal that’s been all year. It’s always been a dream of mine.”

Sorensen, who beat Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica, 4-2, to reach the final, was able to do something the sophomore wasn’t able to do last year — get to the NCAA title match.

He finished fourth a season ago, and a championship is something the talented wrestler very much wants to add to his résumé, which now includes an impressive 69-7 career record.

“He represents our program very well,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “He’s pretty doggone tough through adversity and other things as well that you don’t see every day but we see every day.”

Last, Clark will also have another crack at a national championship. The junior fell to Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer last season and will have another chance at a title this year against undefeated No. 1 seed Nahshon Garrett.

Clark got a takedown in the last 20 seconds of his semifinal match, which turned a 1-point deficit into a 4-3 win.

Losing the title last season was something Clark talked about periodically through the season, and it was obviously a motivating factor for him moving through this tournament.

“It’s just kind of small tune-ups mainly just in my head. I can’t let the crowd — can’t let thoughts, negative thoughts impact you. Sometimes as a competitor, that’s tough to do,” Clark said. “And maybe last year was my first time, maybe this, maybe that. I’m not going to go back to last year. This year, I’m going to come ready to wrestle, and I’m going to put the best me out there.”

Not everything went well for Iowa, though, as 197-pounder Nathan Burak lost a tough 4-2 match to Penn State’s Morgan McIntosh in the semifinals. Burak was 0-5 all-time against McIntosh and an early takedown by the Nittany Lion wrestler seemed to throw him a bit off.

Never completely able to get to his offense, Burak struggled to score points and couldn’t really get any positive momentum going.

He wasn’t alone in his struggles, however, as both Alex Meyer and Sammy Brooks were regulated to seventh-place matches after falling in their respective consolation brackets.

“We gotta pick ourselves up as a team and go forward,” Brands said. “The bottom line is we got two seventh-place matches, a guy in the top 6 that has a chance at getting third, and he’s a senior, and we got three in the finals.”

Match-by-match results

(all rankings reflect seeds in the tournament)

125

— (semifinals) No. 4 Gilman pinned No. 1 Tomasello (Ohio State) in 7:37, sudden-victory.

133

— (semifinals) No. 2 Clark decision No. 3 Zane Richards (Illinois), 4-3.

149

— (semifinals) No. 2 Sorensen decision No. 11 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State), 4-2.

174

— (consolations) No. 13 Meyer decision No. 9 Rogers (Oklahoma State), 7-2.

— (consolations) No. 8 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech) major decision Meyer, 10-2.

184

— (consolations) No. 2 Brooks decision No. 4 Dom Abounader (Michigan)

— (consolations) No. 9 Matthew Miller (Navy) pinned Brooks in 2:34.

 

197 

— (semifinals) No. 1 McIntosh (Penn State) decision No. 4 Burak, 4-2.

Team results:

1) Penn State (114.0)

2) Oklahoma State (79.5)

3) Iowa (77.5)

4) Virginia Tech (69.5)

5) Ohio State (68.0)

6) Missouri (58.5)

7) Nebraska (56.0)

8) Cornell (53.5)

9) NC State (43.0)

10) Illinois (42.0)

Follow @JordyHansen for Iowa wrestling news, updates, and analysis.

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