Ramos claims first title; Hawkeyes 4th
OKLAHOMA CITY – Iowa senior Tony Ramos appeared to be on his way to defeat in a championship match for the second consecutive season.
Tied at 1-all, Ramos was rode out by Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff during the first 30 seconds of the second overtime session Saturday night. All Graff had to do was escape in the final 30 seconds and he would have been a 133-pound national champion.
Instead, Ramos capitalized on a mistake, scored two nearfall points and escaped the mat with his first-ever national championship.
“I knew he liked to roll,” said Ramos of the mistake he took advantage of. “As soon as he hit that roll, I was just finding some way to score. I caught that arm and thought if I just fall back a little bit I am just glad I got it.”
It was the fourth consecutive dramatic win at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships for Ramos, who advanced through each round with last-second takedowns or nearfalls.
Wisconsin challenged the official’s call, but the video confirmed the back points and Ramos rushed into the stands to embrace his family and friends.
“It’s awesome,” said Ramos, who became the 53rd Iowa grappler to win an NCAA title. “I am way 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.”
Ramos was the only finalist for the Hawkeyes as Iowa ended up fourth in the team standings for the second consecutive season. Penn State won its fourth straight NCAA title with 109.5 points, while Minnesota (104) and Oklahoma State (96.5) were second and third, respectively. Iowa ended up with 78.5 points.
The Hawkeyes ended the year with a shared Big Ten Conference dual title, one Big Ten champion (Ramos), one national champion and six All-Americans.
Iowa heavyweight Bobby Telford was the Hawkeyes’ second-best finisher as he took fourth overall, bouncing back from an injury in 2013. He was fifth as a freshman in 2012.
Senior Derek St. John, the defending national champion at 157 pounds, lost again on Saturday morning and settled for fifth. Freshman Cory Clark also was fifth at 125, Mike Evans was sixth for the second straight season at 174 and Nathan Burak finished eighth at 197.
“I came to this tournament for a purpose,” said St. John, who won 106 matches in his Iowa career. “And placing the lowest you’ve placed in four years kind of stings. It’s a get what you deserve kind of thing I guess.”
St. John ended up a four-time All-American at Iowa and is just the 18th in program history to do that. He was fourth as a freshman, second as a sophomore and first as a junior.
Cyclones end up 12th in the team standings
Kyven Gadson (197) finished fourth and Michael Moreno (165) was fifth, respectively, as both wrestlers went 1-1 on Saturday to help Iowa State to a 12th place team finish.
Gadson started his day with a win by fall in 3 minutes, 24 seconds, but then lost his third-place match to Minnesota’s Scott Schiller, 9-6, Gadson also was sixth last year and ended his Cyclone career with 60 wins.
Moreno’s path was the exact opposite as he began his day with a loss to No. 3 seeded Nick Sulzer of Virgnia but bounced back to get fifth, which was a spot higher than he finished in 2013.
The final placewinner for the Cyclones was sophomore Earl Hall, who ended up eighth at 125. Hall is just the second 125-pounder at ISU to win a medal since the weight class began in 1999.
Colon takes third, Panthers finish 15th
The Panthers had three All-Americans for the first time since 2002 as Joey Colon was third at 133 and Joey Lazor (141) and Dylan Peters (125) were both sixth.
Peters became the highest placing freshman since UNI assistant coach Mark Schwab was fifth in 1986.
The Panthers finished in 15th overall with 40 points.
“I don’t like how we finished,” said Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab said. “I don’t think any of our guys liked how we finished. But we are building, and we know what we have to do to win.”