IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa wrestling team clinched its fifth Big Ten dual title in the last six years with a 31-7 win over No. 13 Nebraska today at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The second-ranked Hawkeyes finished the conference dual season with a perfect 8-0 record and improved to 18-1 overall.
“It’s good,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “It’s getting late in the year, we’re getting closer to the postseason, and we did our jobs. We did some good work. We beat some good teams and we won some good individual matches. Now it’s important we take the next step.”
The Hawkeyes (18-1, 8-0) won eight of 10 matches and scored bonus points in three bouts. Nick Moore and Tony Ramos earned pins and Matt McDonough added a technical fall.
Nebraska opened the dual with an 8-0 win at 149 pounds, but Iowa’s Derek St. John, Nick Moore and Mike Evans immediately took the air out of the Huskers’ sails and with three straight wins, including one fall and two decisions over top 10 opponents.
St. John, the nation’s top-ranked 157-pounder, allowed a pair of first-period takedowns to No. 6 James Green, but opened the second period with an escape and added a takedown to tie the match, 4-4, heading into the third period. Green chose the down position so start the final frame, but he never got to his feet as St. John used a ride-out and a point for stalling to walk away with a 6-4 victory.
Moore then put Iowa ahead for good in the team race when he locked up a cradle in the third period to score a fall in 6:41. His fourth pin of the season gave Iowa a 9-4 lead heading into the headlining match of the night.
Evans, ranked No. 4 at 174 pounds, was facing his fourth straight top 10 opponent when No. 2 Robert Kokesh stepped on the mat. Evans trailed 3-0 after Kokesh opened the second period with a reversal, but he escaped to get on the board and added two takedowns in the final 1:07 to take a 5-4 lead into the third period. He opened the final period with an escape and added another takedown at 1:36 to grab an 8-4 lead. He eventually used 1:57 of riding time to add to a final 9-6 victory and improve to 15-0 all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Nebraska (10-5, 4-4) got on the board for the final time when No. 8 Josh Ihnen scored a 5-1 win over Grant Gambrall in sudden victory. The Huskers’ win at 184 pounds pulled them within four points, 11-7, at intermission.
The Hawkeyes swept through the final five bouts beginning at 197, where Nathan Burak finished a disputed takedown with 14 seconds left in the sudden victory period to earn his fourth conference win of the season.
Telford extended the Iowa lead to 17-7 with a 6-2 win at 285, and McDonough clinched the dual with a 20-5 technical fall at 125 pounds. McDonough used seven takedowns and three nearfall points to earn his first technical fall of the season.
Ramos followed McDonough with his third consecutive fall. He turned his fifth takedown of the match into his ninth pin of the season to improve to 19-0 this year and 23-0 all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It takes a lot of energy to put a guy into that position,” Tom Brands said of the pins by Moore and Ramos.
“It’s something we talk about. Get your 2-count, 5-count, and then get your fall. It’s explosive and it’s entertaining for the fans.”
Mark Ballweg gave Iowa the final 31-7 team victory when he finished Ridge Kiley, 6-1, at 141 pounds.
The Hawkeyes return to the mat Saturday, Feb. 16, when No. 16 Edinboro visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m. Iowa will honor seniors Mark Ballweg, Jeret Chiri, Grant Gambrall and Matt McDonough following the dual.
Notes: Attendance was 9,514 … Replay was used one time: 197 pounds, Burak takedown was confirmed… Ramos (23-0), St. John (21-0) and Evans (15-0) are a combined 59-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena… the Hawkeyes finished 8-0 in Big Ten duals for the fifth time in the last six years.
#2 IOWA 31, #13 Nebraska 7
149 – #11 Jake Sueflohn (N) major dec. Brody Grothus (IA), 8-0; 0-4
157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) dec. #6 James Green (N), 6-4; 3-4
165 –#13 Nick Moore (IA) pinned Austin Wilson (N), 6:41; 9-4
174 – #4 Mike Evans (IA) dec. #2 Robert Kokesh (N), 9-6; 12-4
184 – #8 Josh Ihnen (N) dec. Grant Gambrall (IA), 5-1 SV; 11-7*
197 – #19 Nathan Burak (IA) dec. Caleb Kolb (N), 3-1 SV; 14-7
285 – #6 Bobby Telford (IA) dec. Spencer Johnson (N), 6-2; 17-7
125 – #1 Matt McDonough (IA) tech. fall Eric Coufal (N), 20-5; 22-7
133 – #2 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Shawn Nagel (N), 2:05; 28-7
141 – #8 Mark Ballweg (IA) dec. Ridge Kiley (N), 6-1; 31-7
*unsportsmanlike conduct, 1-point team deduction