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Iowa Wrestling — McDonough, St. John earn top preliminary seeds at Big Ten Championships

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior Matt

Matt McDonough
Matt McDonough
and junior Derek St. John earned the top seed at their respective weight class when the Big Ten Championships preliminary seeds were announced today by the conference office. The 2013 conference tournament is March 9-10 in Champaign, Ill.

McDonough is the top seed at 125 pounds for the third straight season. He won the conference title in 2011 and 2012, and placed second as the No. 2 seed in 2010.

St. John is the defending Big Ten champion at 157 pounds and enters the tournament as the top seed for the first time in his career. He won the championship in 2012 as the No. 6 seed, and placed second in 2011 as the No. 2 seed.

Junior Tony Ramos and sophomore Mike Evans each earned No. 2 seeds for the second straight season. Ramos, ranked No. 2 nationally at 133 pounds, enters the tournament with a 23-0 record, including 8-0 in Big Ten duals, while Evans, ranked third nationally, takes a 17-3 mark into the 174-pound bracket. Both wrestlers earned runner-up finishes as No. 2 seeds last year.

Other pre-seeded Hawkeyes include senior Mark Ballweg (No. 3-141), sophomore Josh Dziewa (No. 9-149), sophomore Nick Moore (No. 4-165), junior Ethen Lofthouse (No. 5-184), freshman Nathan Burak (No. 6-197) and sophomore Bobby Telford (No. 4-285).

Telford earned a runner-up finish as the No. 6 seed last season. Lofthouse, who is making his first appearance in the 184-pound bracket, is the No. 5 seed for the second time in his career. He placed third as the No. 5 seed in 2011. Last season, he entered the 174-pound bracket as the No. 3 seed and finished third.

Ballweg, who owns a 7-1 regular season conference record, is pre-seeded for the first time in his career. He was unseeded at 149 pounds in 2011. Dziewa, Moore and Burak are making their first career appearances at the conference tournament.

The pre-seeds rank the top eight wrestlers in five weight classes, including 125, 133, 141, 157 and 184. The top 12 seeds at each of the other weights were ranked due to the Big Ten receiving nine or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations at those weight classes.

Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State will bring a seeded wrestler in each of the 10 weight classes.

Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State enter the conference tournament with a pair of top seeds, while defending champion Penn State enters the field with a league-high three No. 1 seeds. Michigan also has a top-seeded wrestler.

Five of the top seeds are defending conference champions. In addition to McDonough and St. John, Logan Stieber (133), David Taylor (165) and Tony Nelson (285) return at the top of their respective bracket. Ed Ruth, seeded No. 1 at 184, won the conference tournament at 174 pounds last season. Defending champions Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) are also in the tournament field.

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