Second-ranked Iowa beat No. 13 Nebraska 31-7 on Sunday to claim the Big Ten duals title.
There was a trophy and everything.
“A lot of us didn’t know it was the last Big Ten dual,” sophomore Mike Evans said. “We actually just got surprised.”
No one knew?
“Maybe (Matt) McDonough. Or (Tony) Ramos,” Evans said, calling out the Hawkeye seniors.
“I did know,” Ramos said. “It’s not something you take as a big deal, but they don’t build the trophy for nothing. We don’t want anyone else going home with it.
“So it’s something you’re happy is in your trophy case.”
Iowa (18-1) won the Big Ten dual title outright with an 8-0 conference record. The Hawkeyes close out the regular season on Saturday against Edinboro back in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. On Feb. 23, Iowa travels to the NWCA National Duals in Minneapolis.
Sunday started at the best weight for Nebraska, 149, because it put the Huskers’ four ranked wrestlers on the mat in the first five matches.
But Iowa led after those five matches 11-7.
“That was the meat of their lineup,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “They had the best draw they could get. We were scrapping.”
Down 4-0 after No. 11 Jake Sueflohn beat Brody Grothus 8-0, top-ranked Derek St. John beat No. 6 James Green 6-4. St. John came back from a 4-1 first-period deficient. St. John won on a stalling penalty on Green and riding time.
“Condition and endurance will take you a long ways,” St. John said. “There’s always a point in matches where you feel a guy start to fade. Keep scoring points.”
No. 13 Nick Moore came through with a pin of Austin Wilson at 165, taking him down and setting up the cradle to get the pin with 19 seconds left.
“As soon as I got the cradle locked up, it felt good,” Moore said. “That rush of explosion when you’ve got that hold locked up. Got into position there; couple tweaks and twists and turns just to get that other shoulder flattened. There it was.”
Then it was time for No. 4 Mike Evans to continue his recent run of success. He beat No. 2 Robert Kokesh 9-6 at 174 pounds.
It was the third Top 5 wrestler Evans has defeated in the last six weeks.
“He’s becoming a cool customer,” Brands said. “Nothing really rattles him. Give him credit, too. He was coming from behind on the penalty points.”
Evans went into the second period down 1-0 because of an illegal hold and got reversed right away by Kokesh. But Evans stayed cool.
“It’s not going to bother me,” Evans said. “If I get reversed, no one is going to ride me. Get your one, get back on your feet and get to work. I did that.”
Up 12-4 in the dual, Iowa suffered its other loss when No. 8 Josh Ihnen topped Grant Gambrall 5-1 at 184.
Iowa then closed out the dual with five straight wins, including a technical fall by McDonough and a pin by Ramos.
It was the ninth pin of the season for Ramos, a team best.
IOWA 31, NEBRASKA 7
149 –Jake Sueflohn (N) maj. dec. Brody Grothus 8-0
157 –Derek St. John (I) dec. James Green 6-4
165 –Nick Moore (I) pinned Austin Wilson 6:41
174 – Mike Evans (I) dec. Robert Kokesh 9-6
184 – Josh Ihnen (N) dec. Grant Gambrall 5-1 SV
197 – Nathan Burak (I) dec. Caleb Kolb 3-1 SV
285 – Bobby Telford (I) dec. Spencer Johnson 6-2
125 – Matt McDonough (I) tech. fall Eric Coufal 20-5
133 – Tony Ramos (I) pinned Shawn Nagel 2:05
141 – Mark Ballweg (I) dec. Ridge Kiley 6-1
*Iowa had a 1 point team deduction for unsportsmanlike conduct