Iowa senior Tony Ramos will try for a national title for the second consecutive season after winning his semifinal match at 125 pounds Friday at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Ramos used a five-point move in the final 30 seconds to defeat second-seeded A.J. Schopp of Edinboro, 5-2, but the rest of the Hawkeyes did not fare as well as Iowa sits in fourth place in the team standings with 67 points.
Three-time defending national champion Penn State leads the overall race by half-point over Minnesota, while Oklahoma State also is in the mix just 3 ½ points back. The Cowboys also have the most finalists with four.
“We did some good things in the beginning, but didn’t do some good things in the end,” said Iowa coach Tom Brands. “But it wasn’t for lack of effort.”
The Hawkeyes went 6-3 overall during the fourth session and six wrestlers remain for Saturday’s all-American round but Ramos will be the lone finalist at 133.
“It was exciting and I am ready for (tonight),” said Ramos. “I’ve got one more match to go. I’m counting them down. I came here to get five and I’ve got one left.”
The other two semifinalists suffered tough losses Friday. Fourth-seeded Mike Evans (174) lost top-seeded and defending champion Chris Perry of Oklahoma State, 3-2, in Sudden Victory and fifth-seeded Bobby Telford (285) dropped a 4-2 decision to top-seeded and defending national champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota.
Cory Clark (125), defending national champion Derek St. John (157) and Nathan Burak (197) all lost their quarterfinal matches Friday morning but Clark and St. John stayed alive for third with a pair of wins in the consolation bracket.
Clark, St. John, Evans and Telford will battle in consolation semifinal matches today and are top-five finishers no matter what. Burak will face third-seeded Morgan McIntosh of Penn State for seventh.
“We had six total all-Americans, so we won five-of-six matches on the back,” said Brands. “That’s big, but I think it goes without saying we didn’t come here to be in fourth place at the end of the second day.”