Just a few months ago we were talking about how great it was for Tony to not only earn his first Big Ten championship, he also won his first NCAA championship. So what has College wrestling’s best 133 pounder been up to since March? Well for one he was working on shedding some weight. Ramos always did look small for the 133 weight class, a true testament to Tony’s dominance when you consider he never truly filled out. It also appears Tony has been working on making that transition from folkstyle to freestyle.
Ramos has always looked like a wrestler that would transition really quickly to freestyle. While Tony was one of Iowa’s best pinners during his four years, his bread and butter always seemed to be his aggressive leg attacks from his feet. When you coupled Tony’s takedown ability with the news that he would be dropping to 57 KG for International competition, and Iowa fans were looking at a recipe for success. Ramos drew a bye into his quarterfinal match against Danny Mitcheff in a #4 vs. #5 seed matchup. A 9-5 victory put Ramos through into a semfinial with Angel Escobedo (formerly of Indiana). Hawkeye fans may remember that it was Escobedo who handed Matt McDonough his first (and only) loss Matt’s freshman year in the Big Ten finals. Matching up with Escobedo, who has had some pretty good international success himself, Ramos was facing his first true freestyle test. Escobedo was put on the shot clock, which he failed to score, and Tony getting a pushout provided the only points (2-0 win) and Ramos was in his first finals.
As if the youth of this sport were trying to send a message, Nico Megaludis of Penn State, defeated veteran Nick Simmons and then Brandon Precin to meet up with Ramos in the finals of the challenge tournament. Megaludis has had his share of championship shortfalls (McDonough and Jesse Delgado seeing to that) and what better time to earn a victory than over an opponent that has terrorized the Penn State lineup for four years. Ramos had other plans scoring one point – and sometimes that is all you need – on a near takedown to advance to a showdown with US Open champion Sam Hazewinkel in a best of three finals tonight.
McDonough was also in action today as he faced – and will be facing – tons of familiar faces. Brandon Precin was up first and McDonough lost to his old foe 5-4 to be sent to the backside. It was on the backside he picked up a 14-8 win over Kyke Hutter and injury default over Escobedo to enter the third place match against Zach Sanders. McDonough made a living in college of owning the Minnesota Gopher, and switching styles didn’t give Sanders any more of a chance to win as McDonough won 11-4. Tonight we will get a rematch of the 2012 NCAA finals as he will face Nico Megaludis for true third.
Micah Burak from the Hawkeye Wrestling Club also was going at 97 KG today didn’t have much luck as he lost 6-0 to Deron Winn and and then lost again to Wynn Michalak 6-1 to end his tournament. It was a pretty good showing by the Hawks today and if you forgot 6:00 p.m. Final World Team Trials and True Second Place Matches tonight. Tune into Flo as McDonough and Ramos try to end their day on high notes.