Top-ranked Iowa tops No. 16 Michigan to claim Big Ten regular-season title
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa improved to 9-0 in the conference and captured the Big Ten regular season championship with a 22-9 win against 16th-ranked Michigan on Friday night.
The win gave Iowa the outright dual championship for the seventh time since the conference started recognizing a dual champion in 1999. The Hawkeyes have won or shared the title in seven of the last eight years, but like in years past, it's a trophy that is here today, gone tomorrow.
"It's not what our ultimate goal is," junior Nathan Burak said, "but like coach says, it's just another feather in our hat and that was what was ahead of us so we got it."
The Hawkeyes won seven of 10 bouts and owned a 13-3 advantage in takedowns, but had more than a handful of slow starts, including six scoreless first periods, and split six matches against ranked opponents.
"I don't think we wrestled to score points, I think we wrestled to hand fight and I think we wrestled to stay in there," UI head coach Tom Brands said. "I think we wrestled to survive and I don't know if your best chance to win is to try to survive. Your best chance to win is to go out and score points and to put the energy into that simple task. We need to do a better job of that."
Iowa won the first four matches and took a 13-3 lead into intermission.
Fifth-ranked Thomas Gilman scored takedowns in the first and second periods and added 1:03 riding time to defeat 20th-ranked Conor Youtsey 6-1 at 125.
Sixth-ranked Cory Clark scored four first-period takedowns, added a reversal and three nearfall in the second period, and totaled 4:28 of riding time to earn a 14-3 major decision at 133.
Sixth-ranked Josh Dziewa shutout George Fisher 6-0 at 141, and second-ranked Brandon Sorensen extended his winning streak to 11 matches with a 2-1 win at 149. Sorensen and 13th-ranked Alec Pantaleo traded escapes in the second and third period, but Sorensen prevailed with 1:27 riding time.
It marked his 11th consecutive win, a streak that includes six ranked opponents, but Sorensen found little reason to celebrate.
"I didn't like the way I performed at all," Sorensen said. "I was flat footed, I wasn't hitting multiple holds at a time, more single holds and it could have been a lot better. I could have gotten to my attacks and it could have been better."
Michigan dented the scoreboard when 10th-ranked Brian Murphy defeated 13th-ranked Michael Kelly at 157.
The Hawkeyes then pulled away with consecutive wins at 165 and 174. Ninth-ranked Nick Moore scored late takedowns in the second and third periods to win 6-1, and third-ranked Mike Evans scored three takedowns in the final 2:16 to win 8-3 at 174, extending the Hawkeyes' lead to 19-3.
Michigan closed the dual with two wins in the final three matches -- all bouts featuring ranked opponents.
Eighth-ranked Sammy Brooks allowed a takedown with 21 seconds on the clock to drop a 3-2 decision to 12th-ranked Dominic Abounader at 184.
The teams then split a pair of overtime matches at 197 and 285. Sixth-ranked Nathan Burak turned a double-leg into four points in the first sudden victory period to defeat eighth-ranked Max Huntley 4-0 at 197.
Seventh-ranked Adam Coon closed the dual with a reversal in the first tiebreak to defeat second-ranked Bobby Telford 3-2 at 285.
Iowa finished the dual season 14-0 and 9-0 in the Big Ten. The postseason begins Sunday against Virginia in the opening round of the EAS/NWCA National Duals.
"We have a lot of work to do," Tom Brands said. "It was not an inspiring performance for whatever reason. The stats that I looked at, I don't look at stats much, but the stats I looked at were not pretty."