New Year’s celebrations reflect on the past and the future.
University of Iowa wrestling fans had the opportunity to appreciate both a little early.
Two former Hawkeyes and a pair of Hawkeye freshmen reached the podium Sunday at the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. Illinois captured the team title.
Daniel Dennis, a former NCAA runner-up at Iowa, placed second at 133 pounds, and two-time national finalist Montell Marion was third at 149, a year after a runner-up finish. Cory Clark, red-shirting his freshman season at Iowa, placed fourth, while classmate Sammy Brooks was eighth at 184.
Dennis, a former Illinois prep and 2008 Midlands champion, suffered a heartbreaking loss, giving up a questionable takedown with less than five seconds left in an 8-7 loss to Ryan Mango, unattached of Stanford.
The match was a seesaw affair with Mango scoring the opening takedown about 20 seconds into the match. Dennis answered with an escape and takedown for a 3-3 tie at the end of the first, missing a second takedown on a double as time expired in the period.
Dennis took control with a four-point second, including a takedown with 15 seconds left for a 7-5 lead entering the third. Mango escaped early to pull within one, hitting an inside trip that dumped Dennis to his butt for the winning points, despite Mango’s head being buried in the mat and Dennis draped over his back.
Marion, a three-time All-American, was seeded first. He dropped a close decision to eventual champion Nick Brascetta, of Virginia Tech, in the semifinals. He rebounded with a 5-4 win over Columbia’s Steve Santos for third.
Clark garnered a lot of attention with an impressive start to the season. He entered Sunday’s semifinals with a 12-0 mark. He held a late lead over Virginia Tech’s second-seeded and sixth-ranked Jarrod Garnett, who came back for a 10-6 win. Garnett won the 125-pound crown.
Clark (13-2) dropped fifth-ranked Trent Sprenkle, of North Dakota State, 6-1, in the consolation round, but lost 8-4 in the first overtime tiebreaker to Central Michigan’s Christian Cullinan.
The University of Northern Iowa had two placewinners. Ryan Loder was seeded fifth at 184, but finished fourth, losing to Oklahoma’s Travis Rutt, 7-5, in the final round. Both losses came to Rutt this weekend. The Panthers’ Joey Lazor was seventh at 141.
Iowa State University’s Kyven Gadson was solid, placing fourth at 197. Gadson posted a 5-2 record, losing to Oregon State’s Taylor Meeks for third. He reached the consolation championship with am 9-5 win over Illinois’ fifth-ranked Marion Gonzalez.
Former Cyclone and Waverly-Shell Rock prep Eric Thompson placed eighth at heavyweight. Grand View’s NAIA national champion became the Vikings first Midlands placewinner.
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