Dec. 8, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

THE PLACE TO BE:  If you are a college wrestling fan, Iowa City was the place to be on Dec. 6 as in-state rivals Iowa and Iowa State battled it out in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up.  The top-ranked Hawkeyes came away with a 20-15 victory, extending their dual match winning streak to 23 while improving to 9-0 on the year.

The match drew 19,955 fans to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, establishing a national collegiate dual meet attendance record.  The previous record of 15,646 was set Feb. 1, 2002 when Minnesota hosted Iowa at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Senior Charlie Falck, the nation’s second-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, started the match with a 4-2 victory as he handed fifth-ranked Tyler Clark of Iowa State his first loss of the season.  Falck was one of six winners in the match for Iowa, who all remained undefeated on the season.

The top two teams in the nation will most likely meet again this season at Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30 in Evanston, Ill., and the Cliff Keen/NWCA Duals on Jan. 10-11.

COMPLETE BEDLAM:  The state of Iowa was not the only place where wrestling fans enjoyed the best of the sport last weekend.  No. 20 Oklahoma hosted in-state rival No. 9 Oklahoma State in the Bedlam series, and for the first time in 15 years, came away with its second straight victory against the Cowboys.  The No. 20 Sooners posted an 18-15 win over OSU – the same score of Oklahoma’s victory in last year’s match.

Redshirt sophomore Pat Flynn upset No. 20 Jared Shelton at 184 pounds to put the Sooners is position for victory.  The Cowboys won the last two matches by decisions, but failed to pull ahead.

“We are proud of two wins in a row over a great program like Oklahoma State,” said Oklahoma head coach Jack Spates. “Bedlam is a very emotional match and I am extremely proud of our guys for getting the win.”

VEGAS BABY:  Sixth-ranked Nebraska captured the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational title on Dec. 6 sparked by individual winners Jordan Burroughs and Craig Brester as the Huskers pulled away from second-place Cornell.  It is the second time the Huskers the Huskers have won the tournament.

Burroughs, the reigning Big 12 Wrestler of the Month, recorded two key victories in the tournament, starting with a 3-2 win over fifth-ranked J.P. O’Conner of Harvard in the semifinals.  The junior went on to claim the 157-pound title with a 10-8 win over defending NCAA champion and No. 6 Jordan Leen of Cornell.  Burroughs, who was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, is now 11-0 on the season.

Brester joined Burroughs in the win column with three major decisions, a pin and a technical fall in two days of competition.  The junior 197-pounder notched wins over No. 11 Logan Brown of Purdue and No. 13 Richard Starks of Army.  He is 12-0 on the year.

NOTABLE:  Boise State sophomore Kirk Smith rolled to a 20-0 record last week as he took the 184-pound championship at the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 6, concluding with a 3-1 decision over No. 4 Louis Caputo of Harvard … No. 13 Penn State crowned five champions at the Nittany Lion Open last weekend led by three returning All-Americans.  Jake Strayer cruised to a 6-0 record at 133 pounds with three major decisions and three pins, while All-American and second-ranked Bubba Jenkins remained flawless on the season with a 5-0 mark.  Eighth-ranked 157-pound Dan Vallimont completed the group of All-Americans that excelled at the meet.