ISU Looks for Three-Peat at Big 12 Meet
AMES, Iowa - No. 3 Iowa State will look to make program history as the wrestling squad will vie for its third consecutive conference crown at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship in Lincoln, Neb. at the NU Coliseum. ISU took the league championship in Stillwater, Okla. last season with 75.5 points. Nebraska was second with 62.5 points. The 2008 win was the Cyclones' 12th conference title of any kind.
Big 12 Wrestling Championship
Sat., March 7
Session One: 11 a.m.
Session Two: 4 p.m.
NU Colisum, Lincoln Neb.
Live Stats available at cyclones.com
Live Video available at big12sports.com
Television: Finals Live at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Net
|Complete Pre-Event Coverage|
• Iowa State returns eight starters from last season’s Big 12 Championship-winning team. Four returning wrestlers won Big 12 individual titles on the 2007-08 team.
• The third-ranked Cyclones took down No. 4 Nebraska for the second time this season by a much wider margin, 30-10, in Lincoln, Neb. Feb. 22. ISU edged the Huskers 20-19 at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. With the victory, the Cyclones finish 3-1 in league competition, tied for first with Missouri and Nebraska.
• No. 3 ISU blasted Minnesota 29-6 Feb. 20 in the Beauty and the Beast event. The Cyclones surrendered the 133-pound class for six forfeiture points. ISU’s wrestlers and gymnasts competed simultaneously against Gopher teams in Hilton Coliseum.
• The second-ranked Cyclones beat UT-Chattanoogs 37-6 Feb. 13 but lost at No. 5 Missouri, 18-15 in Columbia Sunday, forfeiting the 133-pound match in both duals.
• The third-ranked Cyclones turned away Big 12 foes Oklahoma and Oklahoma
State Jan. 23 and Jan. 25 in Hilton Coliseum. ISU handled the Sooners 23-15
and beat the Cowboys 24-12. Returning All-American Nick Fanthorpe (133) injury
defaulted in the OU dual and ISU forfeited his weight against OSU.
• ISU is currently ranked 3/3 in the Intermat/NWCA and W.I.N. Magazine polls, respectively.
• Iowa State returns six grapplers who earned All-America honors at last year’s NCAA Championships: Nick Fanthorpe (133), Nick Gallick (141), Cyler Sanderson (157), Jon Reader (165), Jake Varner (184) and David Zabriskie (HWT).
Iowa State at the Big 12 Championship
• The Cyclones won their second-straight Big 12 Championship last season, fueled on title-winning performances at 133, 141, 157 and 184 pounds. Nick Fanthorpe (133), Nick Gallick (141) and Cyler Sanderson (157) will be looking for repeat performances at their respective weights. Jake Varner will look to add a first-place finish at 197 pounds to his 184-pound win from a year ago.
• Five Iowa Staters will be looking for a second individual league title. Iowa State has six grapplers that have accomplished the feat: Cael Sanderson (4), Joe Heskett (3), Nate Gallick (3), Dwight Hinson (2), Trent Paulson (2) and Kurt Backes (2).
• Nebraska last hosted the Big 12 wrestling championship at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. in 2005. That year the Cyclones placed second as Nate Gallick (141) and Kurt Backes (184) won individual titles.
• The Cyclones placed four individuals on top of the podium last season; the most for ISU since the Big 12’s inception in 1997.
• Since the first Big 12 Conference championship in 1997, there have been 26 individual Iowa State league champions.
• The Cyclones have won 12 conference team titles. ISU took home the first-place trophy in 1933, 37, 41, 47, 58, 70, 76, 77, 79, 80, 87, 2007 and 2008.
• Iowa State has never won three-straight conference championships.
Scouting the Big 12
• Nine champions from last season’s Big 12 Championship return this year to defend their place atop the podium.
• Returning champions include ISU’s Fanthorpe (133), Gallick (141), Sanderson (157) and Varner (184). The Huskers welcome back 149-pound champion Jordan Burroughs and Brandon Browne at 174 pounds. Missouri features two returning champions in Nick Marable (165) and Maxwell Askren (197). OSU’s Jared Rosholt returns at heavyweight.
• As always, the wrestlers of the Big 12 Conference are among the best in the country with 38 ranked grapplers. The wrestlers will compete and vye for one of 37 berths to St. Louis, Mo., and the NCAA Championships.
• There will be two of the country’s top-ranked wrestlers competing at the Big 12 Championships, both from Iowa State in Varner (197) and Zabriskie (HWT).
• Missouri has seven ranked wrestlers, including two-time Big 12 champion Askren, who is ranked fourth at 197 pounds. Askren sits at 23-4 heading into the postseason. Second-ranked heavyweight Mark Ellis holds a 25-2 record with his losses coming to Big 12 foes Rosholt (OSU) and Zabriskie (ISU).
• Nebraska has undefeated 157-pounder Burroughs (28-0) looking to claim a title at his current weight after standing atop the 149-pound podium at last season’s championship. Nebraska has six-ranked individuals on the squad, four of which are in the top-10. NU finished 17-3-1 in duals.
• Oklahoma went 16-4 in duals during the 2008-09 season and split with conference rival OSU 1-1 in the Bedlam Series. The Sooners finished 1-4 in league action. OU 149-pounder, Kyle Terry went undefeated in the dual setting, tallying an 18-0 record. Terry is 26-1 overall. Sophomore Pat Flynn has recorded a 23-5 record at 184 pounds.
• Oklahoma State wrestled to a 15-7 dual record and tied Oklahoma with a 1-4 Big 12 dual mark. Cowboy heavyweight Rosholt takes a 29-2 record into the Big 12 Championship as he looks to defend his performance from last year. Sophomore 197-pounder Clayton Foster tied Rosholt with a dual record of 20-2. The two big men’s combined four dual losses came in league compeition.
The NCAA Qualifying System
• The NCAA has implemented a new qualifying system for the 2009 Championships, taking into account only data from the current season. Previously, the qualifiers were allocated using a data set from the previous five seasons.
• The NCAA announced the automatic allocations for each conference and regional tournament Feb 26. In all, 278 of the 330 bids have been distributed. The Big 12 will receive 37 automatic bids and they are broken down by weight class as follows:
Big 12 Conference
• Wrestlers that do not earn an automatic spot may still be eligible to gain an at-large spot from a national pool. At-large selections will be made by an NCAA committee and will be announced March 11.
No. 3 ISU Dominates No. 4 Nebraska, 30-10
• Nick Fanthorpe was back and Iowa State’s third-ranked wrestling team was clicking. Fanthorpe, a junior All-American 133-pounder, scored a major decision in his first match in nearly a month and the Cyclones dealt No. 4 Nebraska a 30-10 loss Feb. 22 in the NU Coliseum. Iowa State’s second straight win at Nebraska was its fourth straight overall in the series.
• The win closed out ISU’s dual season with a 15-3 overall mark. Iowa State is the only Big 12 team to beat the Huskers for the second straight season. Nebraska finishes with a 17-3-1 dual record. The 20-point victory margin was the Cyclones’ biggest win in Lincoln, Neb. since a 33-11 rout of the Huskers on Nov. 30 , 1984. The victory was Iowa State’s biggest overall in the series since beating Nebraska, 31-11 in Ames on Dec. 12, 1991.