Hawkeye wrestling downs Minnesota due to criteria


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After splitting 10 bouts with No. 4 Minnesota, the third-ranked Iowa wrestling team came out on top by a score of 16-15 after going to the third tiebreaker criteria on Jan. 26 in Minneapolis.

The dual initially ended in a 15-15 tie after each individual match ended in a decision. But the tiebreaker criteria of total match points — Iowa held a 41-33 advantage — gave the Hawkeyes an extra point for the dual victory.

“I don’t want to nitpick here, but we could have scored some bonus points,” Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands said in an press release following the dual. “You have to get bonus points when you can. We had some close matches that came down to finishing. If we finish, we’ll see more things go our way.”

Top-ranked Matt McDonough started slowly in his match with David Thorn at 125 pounds. McDonough surrendered an early takedown before striking back with takedowns of his own for a 6-3 victory.

Tony Ramos downed Chris Dardanes with ease at 133-pounds, 8-2. Mark Ballweg won an exciting tossup match, 3-1, over Nick Dardanes at 141, which pushed Iowa’s lead to 9-0 through three matches.

Many onlookers saw Ballweg’s victory as an integral part of the dual victory for the Hawkeyes. The senior scored a takedown with fewer than 30 seconds to go to clinch the victory.

“That was a big win,” Ballweg said, according to the release. “But I don’t know how good you could feel about it, because he was kind of coming after me the whole time. I kind of gutted out the win, but it’s not really the way you like to win.”

Iowa nearly lost the dual at 149. Minnesota’s Dylan Ness won the match over Mike Kelly, 8-2, though some Gopher fans will argue that Ness was cheated out of 2, possibly 3, near-fall points. The difference would’ve shown in the team score, and Minnesota would have won the dual, 16-15, without having to go into any of the tiebreaker criteria.

Top-ranked Derek St. John cruised to a 6-2 decision over Danny Zilverberg at 157 pounds, and Iowa’s lead at the halfway point was 12-3. Nick Moore was the last winner for the Hawkeyes — he upset 10th-ranked Cody Yohn, 8-2.

“Those matches, in a lot of people’s minds, should be close,” Brands said. “We did some really good things there to control those matches.”

Minnesota then won the next four matches to tie the dual at 15 all. Of the final four matches, two were decided by 1 point and another went into overtime. As the Gophers closed in on Iowa’s lead in the late matches, the more than 8,000 fans came to their feet in the historic “Barn” at Williams Arena, but they were silenced after Iowa gained the tiebreaker point.

Brands said he wasn’t completely satisfied with the performance, but he’d rather take a win over a loss every time.

“It’s a team win,” he said. “And winning 16-15 on criteria is better than not.”

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