MINNEAPOLIS — One last day of wrestling allowed top-ranked Iowa to come from behind to beat Big Ten Conference Tournament host Minnesota for the championship Sunday at Williams Arena.
Iowa’s Brent Metcalf was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler after defeating Minnesota’s Dustin Schlatter in the 149-pound title bout. Metcalf, just a sophomore, was Iowa’s only champion of the tournament, but the Hawkeyes won four out of five third-place matches to make up ground against ninth-ranked Minnesota.
Metcalf’s win over Schlatter, a 5-3 decision, unseated the two-time defending conference champion on his home mat.
Iowa’s Mark Perry returned from injury in time to reach the 165-pound finals, only to suffer a 3-2 decision loss to Michigan’s Eric Tannenbaum.
The Hawkeyes’ Tom Brands was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
“We had a good session, then a not-so-good session and ended with a good session, which is what you want,” Brands said of the three-day event. “We won the team title and had a lot of fans at the arena. We also had a lot of guys stay tough in the wrestlebacks.”
Iowa finished with 127 pounds, holding off the host Gophers with 112.5 points. Metcalf became the 101st Big Ten champion in school history, and the Hawkeyes advanced nine wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.
Iowa’s third-place finishers included Joe Slaton (133), Jay Borschel (174), Phillip Keddy (184) and Matt Fields (hwt.).
Charlie Falck placed fourth at 125 and Dan LeClere came in fifth at 141. Ryan Morningstar (157) also earned an automatic bid to the national tournament with his seventh-place finish.
Iowa’s nine national qualifiers is the most the school has had since 2004, when the entire Hawkeye lineup of 10 qualified for the NCAA Tournament. This year’s national championships will be held March 20-22 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, and the finals will be televised by ESPN.