Varner, Zabriskie Crowned NCAA Champions; ISU Takes Third
OMAHA, Neb. – Iowa State senior wrestlers Jake Varner and David Zabriskie won NCAA Championship individual titles at 197 pounds and heavyweight, respectively Saturday evening to lead the Cyclones to a third-place national collegiate finish at the Qwest Center. Varner and Zabriskie leave grappling legacies that rank high in Iowa State’s storied program. Iowa won the team title 134.5 points. Cornell was second with 90 points. ISU was third with 75 points. ISU crowned three All-Americans in total, with 125-pounder Andrew Long taking runner-up honors.
“To have Zabriskie and Varner walk out of here as national champions, with over 100 wins apiece, they're proven winners and consistent performers,” Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson said. “They deserve to be national champions. We're not excited about our (team) finish. We've got a lot of work to do. There are a lot of new faces that we have to groom. Our goals haven't changed, though. Our goal is to be the best. That will still be the plan. The national championship still runs through Iowa City, and Cornell may be another team we have to look out for as well."
Varner’s victory cheer could be heard over the noise made by 15,000 spectators in attendance. The Cyclone four-time finalist let out a roar of jubilation after silencing Nebraska’s Craig Brester in the NCAA 197-pound finals by a score of 5-2. Varner improves to 6-1 against the Husker three-time All-American.
“Craig’s a tough guy,” Varner said. “We’ve wrestled a lot. I guess that’s why not a lot happens. We know each other pretty well, but I just kept to my gameplan. I would have liked to score in that first period, but it didn’t happen. I got away as soon as I could like I wanted to and I scored that front headlock, and that was a big, key point in the match. That last takedown, I knew he had to come after me and I was ready for it, and I ended up with that last takedown.”
Varner, a two-time champion at the weight, capped one of the most successful seasons and careers in ISU history with his perfect 31-0 season. The ISU standout was additionally a Midlands Championships and Big 12 Championship champion this season. The Bakersfield, Calif., finishes his career with 121-10 record, for a .923 career-winning percentage that is in the top-five in program history.
Zabriskie, Iowa State’s little big man, turned away Oklahoma State’s Jared Rosholt in the NCAA final at heavyweight by a score of 3-2. “Big Z”, the top-seed at the weight, turned away his larger, but familiar Cowboy opponent with the help of a takedown on edge of the mat in the second period. Zabriskie finishes his career with a 116-22 record.
"This is my final meet as a college athlete,” Zabriskie said. “So just being able to come out and win an NCAA title; it's everything anybody could ask for."
The Cyclone heavyweight was equally thankful of the coaching he’s received in his ISU career.
"When Coach Jackson came to Iowa State, I was absolutely thrilled,” Zabriskie said. “There was no other coach I wanted to come in. But for this title, I need to thank all the coaches I've had. Every coach has had a pretty big chunk of what has made me into an NCAA champion, and I need to thank them all -- coach (Kevin) Jackson, Cael (Sanderson), (Tim) Hartung, (Casey) Cunningham, (Bobby) Douglas and (Chris) Bono."
Zabriskie is the first Cyclone to be an NCAA titlist at heavyweight since all-time great Chris Taylor in 1973. The Iowa State senior is the first three-time heavyweight All-American in school history. Zabriskie placed sixth, fifth and first over his last three seasons.
ISU’s Long had a storybook tournament at 125 pounds, but the Cyclone couldn’t secure the ending he wanted. Fifth-seeded Long went toe-to-toe with Iowa’s Matt McDonough, pressing the action throughout the bout, only to fall to the third-seeded Hawkeye by decision, 3-1. After a scoreless first period, Long surrendered a takedown to his Iowa foe after escaping from bottom and was never able to score his own offensive move. An escape for McDonough and several fruitless takedown attempts by Long in the third period brought about the final outcome. The Iowa Stater advanced to the 125-pound final by stunning top-seed and previously unbeaten senior Angel Escobedo of Indiana with a decisive victory, 7-4.
The Creston, Iowa, native concludes his first campaign in an ISU singlet with a 27-7 record. Long went 4-1 in the NCAA Championships. The ISU wrestler also took runner-up honors at both the Midlands Championships and Big 12 Championship.
Click the slideout tabs above for access to video, a photo album and a completed bracket (.PDF) from the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Session VI Results
NCAA Championships Finals
125 pounds - No. 3 Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Andrew Long (ISU), 3-1
197 pounds - No. 1 Jake Varner (ISU) dec. No. 2 Craig Brester (Nebraska), 5-2
HWT - No. 1 David Zabriskie (ISU) dec. No. 2 Jared Rosholt (Oklahoma State), 3-2
Four-Time NCAA Finalists (12)
Hutton, Dick (Oklahoma State, 47-50) - 1-1-2-1
Milkovich, Pat (Michigan State, 72-76) - 1-1-2-2
Kemp, Lee (Wisconsin, 75-78) - 2-1-1-1
Burley, Darryl (Lehigh, 79-83) - 1-2-2-1
Banach, Ed (Iowa, 80-83) - 1-1-2-1
Goldman, Duane (Iowa, 83-86) - 2-2-2-1
Smith, Pat (Oklahoma State, 90-94) - 1-1-1-1
McIlravy, Lincoln (Iowa, 93-97) - 1-1-2-1
Branch, Mark (Oklahoma State, 94-97) - 1-2-2-1
Sanderson, Cael (Iowa State, 99-02) - 1-1-1-1
Mocco, Steve (Iowa/Oklahoma State, 02-06) - 2-1-1-2
Askren, Ben (Missouri, 04-07) - 2-2-1-1
Varner, Jake (Iowa State, 07-10) - 2-2-1-1