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COLLEGE REVIEW FOR JANUARY 31: Big Ten's parity is shining



By Jason Bryant
jbryant@intermatwrestle.com

It's time for the baby boomers to reminisce.

According to Iowa Wrestling SID Traci Wagner, the last time that Iowa had lost to Wisconsin in a dual meet was back in 1966 in Iowa City.

The next time she sends out a Wiscosnin-Iowa wrestling release, she'll have to update the date to a more recent decade like this one.

In fact, its safe to say that some wrestlers' parents weren't born the last time the Badgers had beaten the Hawkeyes. Sure, the percentage isn't huge, but still notable enough.

Sparked by upset victories by 133-pounder Zach Tanelli and 141-pounder Kyle Ruschell, Barry Davis and his Wisconsin Badgers broke a 42-year winless streak against the Hawkeyes with an improbable 21-14 win last Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, further spinning the planets out of alignment and continuing to skew the national rankings.

Wisconsin had just lost 19-18 the day before to Northwestern, a team the Hawkeyes have beaten twice already this season.

Tanelli rebounded from an upset loss to Eric Metzler of Northwestern on Friday to beat Mario Galanakis on Saturday. Kentucky native Kyle Ruschell is catching fire for the Badgers, beating All-American Alex Tsirtsis.

But Dallas Herbst's fall at 197 pounds over reserve Rick Loera finished off the Hawks. Rewind to last year in Madison where Herbst fell to then true freshman Dan Erekson. Without Erekson in the lineup on Saturday, coach Tom Brands and his squad were at a disadvantage at the weight, and Herbst took full advantage, giving Wisconsin six big points at the weight with a fall in the first minute.

Illinois is climbing back towards the top of the rankings with wins over Penn State and Michigan State. Speaking of Michigan State, the Spartans knocked off intra-state rival Michigan over the weekend, dropping the injury-riddled Wolverines to 1-5-1 this season.

While the Fighting Illini topped Northwestern last week, the voters still seem unimpressed by Mark Johnson's 8-0 record this season. The Fighting Illini put their unblemished record on the line on Sunday as top-ranked Minnesota comes to town.

Minnesota blasted Michigan and Purdue over the weekend to improve to 12-1.

Fighting Scots claim another title
Edinboro won yet another Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship over the weekend at Bloomsburg University. The Fighting Scots were paced by champions Ricky Deubel (133), Deonte Penn (165), Phil Moricone (174), Alex Clemsen (184), and Jim Gibson (197).

Bloomsburg's Mike Sees topped Lock Haven's Obe Blanc 10-5 in the finals at 125 pounds in a matchup between All-American contenders and nationally ranked finalists.

Clemsen won his fourth PSAC championship as well.

While the PSAC is a Division II conference in every sport, many of its wrestling schools wrestle at the Division I level, including Edinboro, Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Clarion and Millersville.

Division II programs include Kutztown and Shippensburg.

One thing that we did get from the tournament staff were the t-shirts handed out to the competitors that read "I choose Division II" on the back.

Only two of the teams technically "chose" Division II in the eight-team field.

Racking them up
Despite two losses at the National Duals, Hofstra continues to win dual after dual and has moved its record to 17-2-2 this season, tops in the nation in terms of dual victories.

The Pride blitzed both Penn and Lehigh over the weekend, losing only three of 20 matches contested.

Alton Lucas proved again that 174 pounds is one of the most difficult weights to project, as he knocked off then-eighth-ranked Matt Herrington of Penn on Friday night.

Out of the lineup
Cal Poly coach John Azevedo confirmed that 125-pound returning All-American Chad Mendes would be sidelined for the rest of the season. This puts a damper on the Mustangs hopes at claiming a Pac 10 title.

American University reported that heavyweight Adam LoPiccolo was dismissed from the team for unspecified reasons and Harvard's Bode Ogunwole's status is doubtful, but not completely out, following an injury sustained over the weekend against Lehigh's Paul Weibel.

Cole Konrad stands alone atop of the heavyweight ranks with several contenders already out of contention. Ogunwole, barring a return, was ranked second, LoPiccolo was ranked fifth while returning All-American Kirk Nail left the Ohio State team prior to the season starting.

Also missing from the heavyweight ranks this year is Joe Sapp of Northern Illinois, who also did not return to Dave Grant's team.

It's likely that Ryan "Bubba" Gritter of Central Michigan will move up to #2 in next week's InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I rankings at heavyweight. How would a potential #1 vs. #2 matchup look like at nationals?

Not pretty - Konrad teched Gritter already this season.

Coming back
Minnesota's Mack Reiter went 4-0 at the Jimmie Open this past weekend, pinning all four wrestlers en route to the tournament championship at 133 pounds. Reiter injured his knee badly in practice back early in the season and many feared he would not return at all this season.

Reiter boldy stated a February return to the Gophers lineup back in an interview with InterMat in November. Looks like that timetable was dead on.

Streaking
Speaking of the Gophers, Cole Konrad is currently in the midst of the second-longest win streak in the country, having won his last 61 bouts in a row. Returning national champion Dustin Schlatter has won 54 straight since his only collegiate loss in November of 2005 to Central Michigan's Mark DiSalvo.

Both Konrad and Schlatter trail NCAA champion Ben Askren's win streak, which is now at 73 in a row.
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