EVANSTON, Ill. — Thomas Gilman enhanced his reputation as one of college wrestling’s top young prospects Monday while Cory Clark’s bid for a title melted at the Midlands Championships.
In a simultaneous and stunning turn of events inside Welsh-Ryan Arena, the grip on Iowa’s 125-pound job may have switched from the hands of one freshman to another.
Gilman toppled defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois and followed it up with a title-winning performance against Jarrod Garnett. Clark ran out of steam in the semifinals and defaulted to sixth.
The third-ranked Hawkeyes put the finishing touches on a dominant team performance, clinching the Midlands title for the 23rd time in school history during the afternoon session and shattering their own tournament scoring record with 187.5 points — more than second-place Edinboro and third-place Michigan combined.
Northern Iowa was fifth with 70.5 points — the first top-five finish for the Panthers since 1974 — and Joe Colon became the school’s first Midlands champion in eight years with a first-period fall against Iowa’s Tony Ramos at 133.
“I’m here to win a national title,” said Colon, who hauled home the tournament’s outstanding wrestler and champion of champions awards. “It’s not done yet. This is just a step. I’ve got to keep training, keep doing what I’ve been doing and I’m going to get that national title.”
That’s the prize Gilman and the Hawkeyes are chasing as well.
NCAA champ Derek St. John (157) and Mike Evans (174) also captured their first Midlands titles with dominant championship performances. Iowa dropped its other four championship bouts, but 14 of the 16 Hawkeyes who wrestled in the tournament reached the medal podium.
Gilman handled Garnett, the defending Midlands champion, 6-1 in the finals at 125, capitalizing on both of his scoring opportunities.
“I’ve got the skills, I’ve got the attitude, it’s just a matter of putting it all out there every time,” he said. “I loosened up a little bit and got to my leg attacks. I shot two times in the whole match and I took him down twice. (Coaches) Tom and Terry (Brands) say if I shoot 20 times I’m going to take him down probably 20 times. It’s a matter of putting myself out there.”
The Council Bluffs native said Monday’s performance was a big step in reaching that point, though. He started the day by knocking out the defending NCAA champ when he caught Delgado flopping around in an effort to escape and picked up two near-fall points with 13 seconds remaining to win a 3-1 decision.
“Really, it’s not that big of a deal,” Gilman said. “That’s what you come into practice and competition every day to beat the national champ and No. 1 guy in the nation. But there are still guys who are No. 1 in Russia, No. 1 in Kazakhstan, No. 1 in the world.”
There’s still another guy inside his practice room.
Clark dealt Delgado a rare defeat last December and beat Gilman earlier in the season to solidify his hold on the starting position, but his toughest battles early in the season have been against the scale. The Hawkeyes used Gilman last weekend against Penn State because Tom Brands said he was the better option on a one-hour weigh-in recovery.
For two periods Monday, Clark sailed along, building a 5-2 lead and amassing nearly two minutes of riding time. Then it all unraveled in the third period when Garnett scored three takedowns and another in overtime to win a 10-8 decision.
“I don’t look at it like all of a sudden it’s Gilman’s spot,” Brands said. “It’s similar to when it was Clark’s spot. The main thing there is ironing out Cory Clark a little bit in those one-hour weigh-ins. … If you’re Cory Clark you’re going to have to work really hard on some things.”
1. Iowa 187.5; 2. Edinboro 102.5; 3. Michigan 84; 4. Illinois 83; 5. Northern Iowa 70.5; 6. Maryland 68.5; 7. Northwestern 63.5; 8. Wisconsin 62.5; 9. Lehigh 60.5; 10. Indiana 57.5; 11. North Dakota State 54; 12. Columbia 52.5; 13. Purdue 45.5; 14. Brown 29.5; 15. tie, Rider, Utah Valley, 26.5; 17. Northern Illinois 23; 18. Southern Oregon 22.5; 19. Eastern Michigan 21; 20. Grand View 19.5; 21. Bison Legend WC 18.5; 22. tie, D1 Fit, Franklin & Marshall, Virginia Tech, 17; 25. Beebe Trained 16.5; 26. Cal Poly 15.5; 27. Boise State 14.5; 28. Princeton 12.5; 29. Harvard 12; 30. George Mason 11.5; 31. Minnesota Storm 10.5; 32. Wisconsin-Whitewater 6; 33. tie, Cal State-Bakersfield, Luther, Southern Illinois 5.5; 36. Augsburg 5; 37. Wisconsin-Oshkosh 4.5; 38. tie, Cornell, RAW 241, South Dakota State, Wartburg, 4; 42. Harper 2; 43. Missouri .5; 44. tie, Chicago, John Carroll, Ohio State, Triton, 0.
125—Gilman (Iowa) dec. Garnett (Bison Legend), 6-1.
133—Colon (Northern Iowa) pinned Ramos (Iowa), 2:37.
141—Port (Edinboro) maj. dec. Rodrigues (Illinois), 11-2.
149—Minotti (Lehigh) dec. Grajales (Michigan), 5-4, TB1.
157—St. John (Iowa) dec. Walsh (Indiana), 9-3.
165—Monk (North Dakota State) dec. Moore (Iowa), 4-2.
174—Evans (Iowa) pinned Hughes (Columbia), 2:14.
184—Sheptock (Maryland) dec. Lofthouse (Iowa), 3-1, SV1.
197—Boley (Maryland) dec. Atwood (Purdue), 9-5.
Hwt—Coon (Michigan) dec. Telford (Iowa), 3-2.
125—Gilman (Iowa) dec. Delgado (Illinois), 3-1; Garnett (Bison Legend) dec. Clark (Iowa), 10-8, SV1.
133—Colon (Northern Iowa) dec. Schopp (Edinboro), 3-0; Ramos (Iowa) dec. Waters (Missouri), 5-0.
141—Port (Edinboro) pinned Greco (Northwestern), 6:53; Rodrigues (Illinois) dec. Dziewa (Iowa), 4-3.
149—Grajales (Michigan) dec. Tsirtsis (Northwestern), 6-3; Minotti (Lehigh) dec. Roulo (George Mason), 2-0.
157—St. John (Iowa) dec. Jordan (Wisconsin), 5-3, SV1; Walsh (Indiana) pinned Brascetta (Virginia Tech), 1:58.
165—Monk (North Dakota State) dec. C. Moore (Northern Iowa), 7-2; N. Moore (Iowa) dec. Massa (Michigan), 4-3.
174—Evans (Iowa) maj. dec. Epperly (Virginia Tech), 10-1; Hughes (Columbia) dec. Gutches (Southern Oregon), 5-3.
184—Lofthouse (Iowa) dec. Bernstein (Brown), 8-2; Sheptock (Maryland) dec. Brown (Lehigh), 5-3, SV1.
197—Atwood (Purdue) beat Gonzalez (Illinois), won by default; Boley (Maryland) dec. Burak (Iowa), 3-2.
Hwt—Telford (Iowa) dec. Felix (Boise State), 4-2; Coon (Michigan) dec. Myers (Maryland), 4-1.
IOWA COLLEGE RESULTS
125—Delgado (Illinois) dec. Peters (Northern Iowa), 6-5.
141—Dziewa (Iowa) dec. Durso (F&M), 3-1.
149—Sorensen (Iowa) dec. Grothus (Iowa), 4-2.
197—Burak (Iowa) dec. Bolich (Lehigh), 3-1.
125—Boyle (Michigan) medical forfeit over Clark (Iowa).
165—C. Moore (Northern Iowa) maj. dec. Houldsworth (Columbia), 8-0.
184—Mueller (D1 Fit) medical forfeit over Brooks (Iowa).
165—LeBlanc (Indiana) dec. Lowman (Grand View), 7-0.
174—Meyer (Iowa) pinned Schmalhuas (Utah Valley), 2:54.