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By GRANT BELCHER ? Register CORRESPONDENT ? ...
Iowa State Wrestling: Cyclones claim Big 12 title
Iowa State Wrestling: Cyclones claim Big 12 title
By GRANT BELCHER ? Register CORRESPONDENT ? March 9, 2008
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Stillwater, Okla. ? Iowa State did not have to wait nearly as long to begin celebrating this year.
After last season's Big 12 Conference wrestling championships came down to the final match, the Cyclones were able to cruise to a comfortable victory in this year's tournament at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday.
Iowa State had four individual champions to lead the team to its first back-to-back Big 12 titles since 1979-80.
Iowa State finished with 75.5 points, blowing out second place Nebraska, which finished with 62.5. Oklahoma State took third with 52.5.
Nick Fanthorpe at 133 pounds, 141-pounder Nick Gallick, 157-pounder Cyler Sanderson and 184-pounder Jake Varner won their weight divisions for the Cyclones, while Mitch Mueller and David Zabriskie put up second-place finishes.
The team also qualified 10 for the NCAA Championships for the second straight season.
Coach Cael Sanderson said his team's dominant performance could not have come at a better time.
"I think we wrestled well, and I'm proud of the team," Sanderson said. "They really executed and won some close matches, and that's what we want to do at this time of year."
The action was sparse in the quarterfinals for the Cyclones, as they had only three wrestlers trying to fight their way into bracket play.
Tyler Clark and David Bertolino wrestled their way into the bracket, though no team points were awarded for quarterfinal action. Max Dean of Oklahoma defeated Jon Reader in the quarterfinal bout at 165 pounds.
Consistency was key for Iowa State in the semifinals, as six of its nine wrestlers advanced to the championship round.
The Cyclones' opponents took care of themselves, knocking each other off and giving Iowa State the lead with 48 points after the semifinals.
"It was good to get six guys in the finals, and we came out wrestling hard and just stuck to the game plan," Fanthorpe said. "The coaches had a good plan for us."
Iowa State had an advantage going into the championship round with an 11-point lead and more wrestlers in contention than anyone else.
The most exciting match of the night for the Cyclones came in the 157-pound division. Cyler Sanderson, down a point to Missouri's Michael Chandler, scored a takedown with 34 seconds left and neutralized Chandler's riding time to pick up the 6-5 win.
Iowa State will take its qualifiers and begin preparation for the NCAA Tournament March 20-22 in St. Louis.
RIP Jacob Schlottke; KR1963 and rpayton
Re: Iowa State Wrestling: Cyclones claim Big 12 title
'Sophomore Six' clinch second consecutive Big 12 title
10 qualify for NCAA's
STILLWATER, Okla. - The Cyclone's supremacy continues.
On Saturday night, the third-ranked ISU wrestling team won its second-straight Big 12 championship and qualified all 10 of its starters for the NCAA Tournament.
The "Sophomore Six" of Nick Fanthorpe (133 pounds), Nick Gallick (141), Mitch Mueller (149), Cyler Sanderson (157), Jake Varner (184) and David Zabriskie (heavyweight) anchored the team race by reaching the finals. Fanthorpe, Gallick, Sanderson and Varner won their first Big 12 titles to secure the team championship.
Iowa State repeated as conference champions for the third time in program history. The Cyclones last won back-to-back titles in 1979 and 1980.
With the NCAA Tournament less than two weeks away, the Cyclones gave their most complete performance of the season.
"The potential and the trust that I have for our team is awesome," Fanthorpe said. "Looking to your left and your right, you know the guys are going to give it their all. The coaches have got us feeling good and have a good plan for us, and we're just following it and wrestling hard. When it comes out of that, it gets pretty simple, and Big 12 championships come. We're looking to get the national [championship] in a couple weeks."
Going into the finals, the Cyclones led fourth-ranked Nebraska by 11 points, and the Cornhuskers could have made back at least three points of that deficit with every win they picked up. The Huskers ended up fifth in the championship round.
Fanthorpe quickly bolstered the ISU effort with an 8-1 decision victory over Missouri's senior two-time All-American Tyler McCormick. Gallick followed with an overtime win over Oklahoma State's third-ranked senior Nathan Morgan, and Sanderson scored a takedown with 33 seconds left to beat Missouri's 12th-ranked Michael Chandler.
Seniors Aron Scott (174) and David Bertolino (197) placed third, earning their first berths to the NCAA Tournament. Redshirt freshman Jon Reader (165) also placed third.
True freshman Tyler Clark (125) finished fourth but received an NCAA Tournament wild-card nomination from the coaches.
Iowa State lost three All-Americans to graduation from last year's NCAA runner-up team and dropped to as low as ninth in the team rankings this season.
Gallick, one of six ISU wrestlers to move up a weight class this season, said the meet was a sign of the Cyclones' continuing improvement throughout the season.
"It's a big accomplishment," he said of the team's conference championship. "It was a tough crowd down here. I think it just shows how much our team is improving, just everyone - Fanthorpe, Cyler, even Mitch - he's looking a lot better. Our whole team is improving, and that's just a big confidence-builder going into nationals."
Second-year head coach Cael Sanderson never won a Big 12 team championship as a competitor, but is now 2-for-2 as the leader of the Cyclones.
"It's a big step for the program, and this was one of our main goals coming into the season ? it's great for the university, it's great for the program," he said. "I mean, this is a great conference, so to be the Big 12 Champs, that's pretty awesome. We're pumped."
The team championship is the Iowa State's 13th conference title. The four Cyclone tournament champions is the most on the team since the 1996 Big Eight Tournament.
You do the math..... I'll do the alfredo!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
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