Last man standing
By Don Lund
Tony Ramos has been one of the most exciting wrestlers at Iowa for the last four years. The 133-pound senior from Illinois was missing two things– a Big Ten championship and an NCAA title.
Two weeks ago he won his first Big Ten title and last Saturday at Oklahoma City he picked up his first NCAA championship.
Tony scored two nearfall points in the first tiebreak to defeat Wisconsin’s fifth-seeded Tyler Graff, 3-1, in overtime.
Tony, the No. 3 seed and returning NCAA runner-up, wrestled his way into the championship finals with late heroics, and the final match of his collegiate career was no different.
Neither man scored in the first sudden-victory period, and Tony was unable to get out from bottom in the first tiebreak, meaning he had to extend the match by staying on top of Graff for 30 seconds, or find a way to expose Graff’s shoulders to the mat. He chose the latter.
“It’s awesome. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get out of here, take that drug test, celebrate with my family, get my bracket, go home and put it on the wall,” said Tony, who became the 53rd Hawkeye in school history to win the NCAA title.
Tony defeated Graff in the Big Ten finals on March 9. His national title marks the 61st time in program history a wrestler has won both championships in the same season. He finished his career with three All-America honors, one NCAA title, one Big Ten title, and 120 career wins– the 19th highest total in program history.
Iowa closes the 2013-14 season with a shared Big Ten dual title, one Big Ten champion, six All-Americans and one national champion.
The Hawkeyes finished fourth in the tournament with 78.5 points, behind Penn State (109.5), Minnesota (104) and Oklahoma State (96.5).
I thought Iowa had a chance to compete for the title after finishing a close second to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
Losing Nick Moore and Ethen Lofthouse, who were both seeded fifth, before the quarterfinals didn’t help.
Also having Derek St. John finish fifth, his lowest finish in his career, wasn’t good.
Bobby Telford placed fourth at heavyweight, Cory Clark (125) and Derek finished fifth, Mike Evans (174) took sixth and Nathan Burak (197) finished eighth.
Iowa loses Tony, Derek and Ethen but have some redshirt freshman ready to step up.