OKLAHOMA CITY – Tony Ramos will get to enjoy some sweet revenge.
At least for 24 hours, he will get to savor it like the Dairy Queen Turtle sundaes he likes so much.
Ramos produced some late dramatics to avenge a loss to Edinboro’s A.J. Schopp in the 133-pound semifinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships last night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Hawkeyes’ senior said he had payback in his sights. Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff spoiled his shot of avenging his other loss by beating University of Northern Iowa’s top-seeded Joe Colon in the other semifinal.
“It’s awesome,” said Ramos, who beat Graff 2-1 in the Big Ten title. “I can’t get revenge again because Graff won, but it’s someone I’ve beat a couple times. I'm ready for this final match”
Iowa Coach Tom Brands had a raspy voice after Ramos recorded the Hawkeyes only win in three semifinals. He was on his belly in the corner, slapping the mat as Ramos locked up another second straight finals appearance and a chance for his first title.
“How he did it was a lot of drama and a lot of excitement,” Brands said. “It got a lot of people fired up.”
Ramos has said his loss to Schopp in December was a win that slipped away. Ramos grabbed hold and didn’t let Schopp get away in the final minute. After a scoreless first and being ridden the entire second, Schopp chose neutral, trying to capitalize on a riding-time point.
Ramos kept pushing forward, resorting to a rarely-used footsweep to knock Schopp off-balanced and then dropped in on a leg on the edge. Schopp defended it but dropped his head when Ramos locked up a cradle for a takedown and two nearfall for the 5-1 win.
“I wasn't too worried about it,” Ramos said. “I knew I would get to him. I saw him wearing and wearing and wearing. And as soon as I locked up my hands on that (and) I felt it, he started screaming and I knew it was over.”
Ramos has battled for every point, advancing to the semifinals with three straight two-point wins, beating Lehigh’s Mason Beckman 3-1 with a takedown with last 28 seconds left I the quarterfinal. The winning move against Schopp was his biggest of the tournament.
“It's exciting,” Ramos said. “He was stuck. I thought he was flat. But, well I stayed on
him finished the period. I was strong. Finished on top with him on his back. That's a dominating finish.”
Now, Ramos will try to prevent Graff from getting revenge against him. The key will be to open up and produce more points than the conference final.
“I'm ready for Saturday night,” said Ramos, who became a three-time All-American. “That's it. I got one more match to go. I'm counting them down. Came here in five and now I've got one left.”
Ramos also beat Graff in overtime to reach last year’s final. Graff felt the sting of disappointment.
“I mean, it hurt,” Graff said. “But I'm here now.”
Mike Evans was clipped in the semifinals by Oklahoma State’s defending NCAA champion and top-seeded Chris Perry, 3-2, in the first overtime tiebreaker.
Evans, who nearly had a neutral pin in sudden-victory overtime, scored the only takedown in regulation, finishing a single at the end of the second for a 2-1 lead. Perry rode him out in the third to earn riding time and force overtime. He then rode Evans out in the tiebreaker, following his go-ahead escape.
Heavyweight Bobby Telford faced Minnesota’s two-time NCAA champion and top-seeded Tony Nelson in the semifinals. Nelson used an escape and takedown in the second, propelling himself to a 4-2 win.
“I think we did some good things in the beginning,” Brands said. “We didn’t do some good things in the end, not because of a lack of effort.
Evans came away with an overtime tiebreaker win over Penn State’s Matt Brown to reach the semifinals. He escaped with a quick granby roll for the difference in the quarterfinal.
“He was trying to hold one,” Evans said about Brown. “I just hit him with something he wasn’t looking for.”
Telford, a junior, used an overtime victory in the quarterfinal over Michigan’s No. 4 seed Adam Coon. It secured his second All-American finish, placing fifth as a freshman. Just reaching the award stand did not satisfy him earlier Friday.
“It’s good,” Telford said after the quarterfinal. “You’re an All-American. There’s 80 All-Americans. There’s only 10 national champs. You do the math.”
Iowa’s Derek St. John had his bid for a second straight NCAA title thwarted by Cornell’s seventh-seeded Brian Realbuto in the quarterfinals. St. John posted a major decision in his first consolation match to become the Hawkeyes’ 18th four-time All-American.
Red-shirt freshman Cory Clark (125) and 197-pounder Nathan Burak also rebounded from quarterfinal losses to earn All-American honors. Clark and St. John moved into the top six, while Burak will go for seventh.
“Three guys came back and won,” Brands said. “They won five of six matches. That is big.”
The Hawks team title hopes dwindled during the morning session when Penn State, Oklahoma State and Minnesota separated themselves from the rest of the field. Four Hawkeyes were eliminated from the consolation rounds, including fifth-seeded Nick Moor e (165) and 184-pounder Ethen Lofthouse, who ended his college career as a two-time All-American.
Dziewa, Grothus and Moore return.
“I don’t think you say much about that or to those guys,” Brands said after the morning session. “I think you put your hand on them and let them process it.”
The Hawks were a distant fourth with 67 points. Penn State had 91 points, clinging to a half-point lead over Minnesota. Oklahoma State was third with 87 ½.
Penn State has two finalists – David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (184). The Nittany Lions have seven All-Americans, including two in the top six and two going for seventh.
Minnesota has two finalists, four in the top six and one going for seventh. Oklahoma State has a tournament-best four finalists and another wrestler who can place as high as seventh.
Iowa State failed to move anyone into the semifinals after Michael Moreno (165) and 197-pounder Kyven Gadson lost in the quarterfinals Friday morning. The Cyclones dropped out of the top 10 but had three All-Americans.
Moreno and Gadson notched their second straight trip to the awards stand. Gadson pinned Maryland’s Christian Boley to move into the top-eight.
Iowa State Coach Kevin Jackson said he was happy with the leadership from them. Iowa state put half of its qualifiers on the awards stand.
“We’re happy to get three All-Americans,” Jackson said. “Obviously there is some heartbreak in there when you don’t get that All-American honors.”
Earl Hall joined them. After a quarterfinal loss to UNI’s Dylan Peters, Hall beat Pitt’s Anthony Zanetta. It was his third win over a seeded wrestler this tournament.
“I’m real happy with how Earl turned this season around the last couple of days,” Jackson said. “It’s a testament to his character to be able to lose 12 matches on the season, take fourth in the Big 12 and come here and be in the top eight.”UNI and Iowa State are part of a four-way tie for 11th with 35 1/2 points. Joey Lazor (141) joined Peters and Colon as a top-six finisher.