UNI Panthers

Wrestling Weekend That Was: Rob Koll wins at father's old home

Son of former Panther leads Big Red to win at West Gym; Kennedy wins by more than 100; Keehners combined for 36-1 mark

Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands (middle) glances toward Cornell Head Coach Rob Koll (left) during a news conference Wednesday, March 18, 2009 before the start of the 2009 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)
Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands (middle) glances toward Cornell Head Coach Rob Koll (left) during a news conference Wednesday, March 18, 2009 before the start of the 2009 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

The holidays are near, so is a short break from competition for many programs. UNI and Iowa State packed in one last dual. High schools packed in one final big tournament weekend. This is the Wrestling Weekend That Was:

Honors and almost homecoming for Koll

Cornell University Coach Rob Koll was born in Pennsylvania, competed in State College, Pa., as a prep and was one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top wrestlers and an NCAA champion at North Carolina. He didn’t actually live in Cedar Falls, but he felt the strong connection when he brought the eighth-ranked Big Red to the West Gym for a dual against No. 16 Northern Iowa.

Interestingly, Koll was recognized as an honorary captain before the dual. His late father, Bill Koll, won three national titles at UNI and coached the Panthers for 11 seasons.

“I used to vacation here, so I used to run through these halls when I was a little boy,” Koll said. “And, my wife is from Ames, so I feel like I’m home at this place. It hasn’t changed a whole lot, the facility, obviously.”

Bill Koll was a three-time All-American from 1946-48 as a competitor, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at nationals twice. He led UNI from 1953-57 and 1959-64. The Panthers placed in the top 10 nationally four straight seasons, tying for eighth and finishing fifth at the NCAA Division I tournament in 1961 and 1962. UNI transitioned to Division II, getting third and eighth in his final two seasons before leaving to coach Penn State from 1965-79.

UNI’s wrestling room is named after Bill Koll thanks to the efforts of program supporter Sandy Stevens. Koll’s family created an endowed scholarship for UNI wrestlers.

Koll is in his 26th season as Cornell head coach and guided the Big Red to a 21-14 victory over the Panthers. He is 5-0 all-time against UNI, but earned his first win in front of more than 1,500 at the same small, hot venue where his father compiled a 72-44-6 dual record

“It’s just a lot of fun to wrestle in it,” said Koll, adding, "Is it 100 degrees in here? I was dying. Fortunately, the guys weren’t (but) the coaching staff was pretty exhausted after the match.”

Cougars keep it 100

Cedar Rapids Kennedy kept it 100 Saturday. Well, more like 106. That was the winning margin for the team title at the Fort Madison Invitational. Kennedy tallied 274 1/2 points, while Fort Madison was second at 168 1/2.

All 14 Cougars placed sixth or better with Dylan Flack (138), Cael Knox (182), Cade Parker at 195 and heavyweight Tony Vis taking titles.

Peachy Keehner

MFL MarMac upper-weight senior duo Garrett and Korby Keehner both won titles at Starmont’s Doug Guilford Invitational on Saturday. Garrett defeated Monticello’s Class 2A third-ranked Lake Stahlberg, 6-4, in the 220 final. Korby pinned East Buchanan’s Taylor Fox in 1:04 for the heavyweight crown. Garrett is 19-0, while Korby is 17-1.

The Bulldogs won the tournament with 256 1/2 points and 10 finalists. Michael Egan (152), Nathan Johanningmeier (182) and Zach Howe at 195 also won titles. MFL MarMac has climbed to eighth in Class 1A with four ranked individuals. Korby is ranked second and Garrett is eighth.

Tough weekend for Peacocks

Upper Iowa finished ninth at the Midwest Classic last weekend at Indianapolis, Ind. The Peacocks produced just two medalists. Justin Folley was fourth at 133 and Dalton Hahn was fifth at 184.

Powers dominate

POWERS DOMINATE: Penn State and Oklahoma State dominated over the weekend. The top-ranked Nittany Lions trounced No. 9 Arizona State, 41-3, at home Friday in a dual broadcast on ESPN2. In a battle of NCAA champions, Penn State’s Mark Hall got revenge, beating Zahid Valencia 4-0.

Oklahoma State shut out Northern Colorado 47-0 in a Big 12 dual Sunday in Greeley, Colo. The Cowboys won all 10 bouts with bonus points.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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