The University of Iowa wrestling team advanced six wrestlers to the quarterfinals of the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.
The Hawkeyes opened Session II with six straight wins, getting a major decision from top-seeded Thomas Gilman (125), a technical fall from No. 2 Michael Kemerer (157), and a pin from No. 3 Sammy Brooks (184).
Cory Clark (133), Brandon Sorensen (149), and Alex Meyer (174) all advanced with decisions.
Gilman advanced to the quarterfinals for the third straight year with a 22-8 win. He scored 41 points and recorded two major decisions in the tournament’s opening day, establishing the pace for an team that was 16-3 overall and enters day two with all nine wrestlers still alive in the tournament.
“Moving forward is big,” Gilman said. “Whether it is the quarterfinals, finals or first round. You can’t get to the quarterfinals if you don’t win this round. You can’t get to this round if you don’t win the first round. It’s important. Those advancement points, staying on the front side. It’s big (for the team).”
Kemerer one-upped his opening round major decision with a 21-6 technical fall in round two. He scored 12 points in the third period, terminating the match with his eighth takedown.
“I was getting comfortable and getting my motor going once I got on the bottom (to start the third),” Kemerer said. “I started attacking and getting my shots. It was more of a feel thing — time to pick up my pace. It led to me scoring a bunch of points at the end.”
Brooks led the match 6-1 before securing the fall 44 seconds into the second period. The win was the 100th of his career and he’s moving into the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
“The positions where I’m good tailor to a longer match, a seven-minute match, so I can put pressure on a guy and they open up. That’s where I like to wrestle,” Brooks said.
Meyer trailed 4-2 heading into the third period before scoring a pair of takedowns, the second one with five seconds remaining on the clock, to win 7-5. He is making his first career appearance in the quarterfinals.
Clark is in the quarterfinals for the fourth time. The three-time All-American advanced with a 10-5 decision. Brandon Sorensen is going to the quarters for the second straight year. He scored two takedowns in the opening period and piled up 2:36 of riding time to win 6-2 at 149.
The Hawkeyes’ lone loss on the championship side of the bracket was at 197, where Cash Wilcke lost 4-1 to No. 4 Jared Haught. Wilcke will compete in the wrestle-backs Friday with teammates Topher Carton and Joey Gunther. Both wrestlers picked up wins on the backside of the bracket. Carton dominated the third period and earned a 16-4 major decision at 141, and Gunther scored a takedown in the final minute to win, 3-1, at 165.
“Day two is on the horizon,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “We have a one-hour weigh-in and a lot of wrestling left to do. There are a lot of big matchups tomorrow, not that any of them wouldn’t be big matchups, but there are going to be some against teams that are in the team race, so we are going to be ready to go.”
Iowa is in fourth place with 24.5 points. The Hawkeyes trail Penn State (30.5), Ohio State (26), and Oklahoma State (25.5) in the team race.
The NCAA quarterfinals and consolation rounds begin Friday at 10 a.m.