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University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa competed at the UNI Open; Bedlam Series experienced, well, bedlam; Iowa City West’s Hunter Garvin continues tear, West Delaware and Osage squared off at South Winneshiek; Upsets, bracket releases and more in the Wrestling Weekend That Was.
BETTER FEELINGS AFTER UNI OPEN
UNI Coach Doug Schwab admitted he hasn’t felt good after past UNI Opens. Many don’t understand the grind of an open competition, especially one with more than 100 participants. It falls at time wrestlers are strained to balance of academics and athletics, which can cause lackluster results.
This time, however, Schwab said he was much more upbeat. Three champions, six finalists and 12 medalists will make things much more tolerable.
“I usually feel miserable after that tournament, so I don’t feel miserable,” Schwab said about Saturday’s tournament in Cedar Falls during Monday’s weekly news conference. “I actually told the team that because opens are sometimes rough and we have finals. There’s a lot of things on guys sometimes, for one reason or another, it’s not a great performance.”
The Panthers received titles from Colin Realbuto (149), All-American Parker Keckeisen at 184 and heavyweight Tyrell Gordon. Former Lisbon prep Cael Happel was one of six UNI finalists and placed second at 141.
Realbuto beat Minnesota’s 22nd-ranked Michael Blockhus, 5-3, in the finals. The victory was notable for multiple reasons – Triston Lara is injured for UNI but Realbuto has done well in his place, it was a win over a ranked foe and Blockhus was a former Panther, who transferred before last season.
“It’s a big win, beating a ranked guy,” Schwab said. “It’s the first college tournament that he’s won. Real good for us that you have that kind of depth.
“Triston is on the mend. He’s getting healthier, getting back closer.”
Keckeisen returned to the mat after missing duals against Missouri and Virginia Tech. He opened with a pin and outscored his final two opponents, 12-1, including a 6-1 finals decision over Missouri’s Colton Hawks.
A takedown dynamo on his feet, the sophomore has developed strengths in other positions and displayed them Saturday.
“Parker just keeps getting better,” Schwab said. “He added another wrinkle to his wrestling. He rode the guys really hard.”
Gordon, who has moved to heavyweight this season, has become more comfortable at the higher weight. He has started to enjoy practice and training to get bigger than worry about the effort to make 197. Gordon opened with a one-point decision and closed with two bonus-point decisions, pinning Bowen McConnville, of South Dakota State, in 6:44.
“Finish with a fall, too, I think is always a good thing,” Schwab said. “The last time they wrestled that guy beat him. So, you’re starting to see some guys turn things around and to me that’s good.”
IOWA CLAIMS TWO TITLES
The Hawkeyes won two titles at the UNI Open on Saturday, demonstrating young talent that calls the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex home.
Cullen Schriever (133) and Patrick Kennedy (165) won titles and 125-pounder Drake Ayala was second. Schriever defeated UNI’s Kyle Biscoglia, 7-4, in the finals. Kennedy downed Minnesota’s Cael Carlson, 7-5, for his title. Ayala was impressive, dropping an 8-4 decision to Minnesota All-American Patrick McKee in the last round.
BEDLAM AFTER BEDLAM SERIES
Remember the spat that led to no physical altercation after the Iowa and Iowa State dual in Ames? Well, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State ratcheted the post-meet excitement.
During the handshake line after Oklahoma State’s win in the annual Bedlam Series dual in Norman, Okla., Sooners heavyweight Josh Heindselman pushed the Cowboys’ 197-pounder A.J. Ferrari, who didn’t appreciate the gesture. The two engaged each other before Ferrari double-legged Heindselman. Some punches were thrown briefly before things settled and both wrestlers escorted from the arena floor.
The home-and-home series resumes Feb. 20 in Stillwater, Okla. Maybe Ferrari will bump up to face Heindselman that day.
GARVIN CONTINUES TEAR
A week after winning a title at the first Dan Gable Donnybrook, Iowa City West two-time state champion and three-time state finalist Hunter Garvin earned another title at a large tournament with teams from multiple states.
Garvin scored bonus-point victories in all six matches, improving to 14-0 overall. He defeated Tyler Antoniak, Millard South (Neb.), 19-8, for the 152-pound championship. The Stanford signee recorded six pins, five in the first period, and a technical fall to reach the finals.
CLASS 2A CLASH
The South Winneshiek Invitational on Saturday featured two of the top-ranked teams in Class 2A. Defending state champion and top-ranked West Delaware claimed the team title with 249.5 points, while Osage was second with 225.
The Hawks crowned six champions and had 10 finalists. Osage put nine in the finals with four titlists.
UPSETS AT SOUTH TAMA DUALS
Two notable upsets occurred at the South Tama Duals on Saturday.
Vinton-Shellsburg’s Cooper Sanders pinned Independence’s state champion and three-time state finalist Isaiah Weber, in 1:09 of their 152 match.
South Tama’s Rudy Papakee defeated the Mustangs’ third-ranked Marcus Beatty, 10-8, at 195. Papakee formerly wrestled heavyweight.
The brackets for the Battle of Waterloo dual tournament were realeased Sunday. The two-day event at Young Arena begins Friday with pool competition and championship duals on Saturday.
The top seeds of the four eight-team brackets are Don Bosco, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware and Lisbon. Independence is the second seed in the D Bracket with Lisbon. Linn-Mar is the second seed in the C Bracket with West Delaware.