After starting the day with 12 wrestlers in the quarterfinals, the state of Iowa showed up strong placing nine of those competitors into the semifinals. After starting day two of the University Nationals strong, wrestlers from the state came crashing down with only three making the finals.
But two those who made the finals are dealing right now.
Earl Hall who his fourth match of the tournament by technical fall when he defeated Central Michigan’s Corey Keener to reach the finals at 61 kg. Hall has surrendered only two points thus far in the tournament. His finals opponent will be Rossi Bruno of Michigan. The pair met one time this past season in the Southern Scuffle finals, where Hall came out on top 5-2. This will be an interesting match for Hall to continue his strong performance. Hall does have the Olympic redshirt option on the table for the 2015-16 season, to take a year off from college to focus on the 2016 Olympics.
The other finalist was 97 kg Hawkeye Nathan Burak, who surprisingly is having an even better tournament than Hall. Burak has won all five matches by technical fall, and he has yet to surrender a point. His opponent will be Oklahoma State Cowboy Austin Schafer. The pair did not meet this past season, but Burak did decision Luke Bean 7-3, who replaced Schafer in the lineup.
The final wrestler to make the finals was former Iowa All-American Ethen Lofthouse, who used a 6-4 decision over his replacement Sammy Brooks to reach the finals at 86 kg.
Iowans Phil Laux (57 kg), Mike Moreno (74 kg), and Patrick Downey (86 kg) all went down in the quarterfinal round. Laux was over matched by Nebraska’s Tim Lambert, and never could get to his offense. Downey carried a lead late into his match, before All-American Hayden Zilmer scored a big move late to win.
At 70 kg both Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers lost to their semifinals opponents. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer was up 4-0 on former NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis, before being taken down and leg laced. Rodriguez-Spencer would up losing by technical fall. Hawkeye Brandon Sorensen almost had some late match theatrics of his own scoring a late takedown to go up 3-2 over Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica, but with the match winding down he surrender another takedown and was never able to re-take the lead.
Alex Meyer lost a tough match to Stanford’s Jim Wilson, falling 6-3. Meyer was taken down early in his match and from there he was never able to take the lead. Meyer was in on several attempts, but Wilson was able to gain exposure points on counters. Despite the loss Meyer can still improve upon his 2014 performance by taking 3rd in the 80 kg bracket.
Panther Wrestling Club also lost a pair of wrestlers in the semifinals. Ryan Loder (86 kg) was leading 2-0 over Hayden Zilmer late into his match, but Zilmer was able to get in on a shot late while Loder was on the shot clock. The takedown would give Zilmer the win on criteria.
Finally, Blaize Cabell lost his semifinal to Adam Coon at 125 kg. Coon was a double Junior World medalist in 2014 and he showed off his skills by winning 11-0 over the Panther.
Wrestlers who did not win their semifinal matches can place no lower than 6th, and are all very much alive for 3rd. University Nationals will wrap up action this afternoon.