ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Pretty, no. A victory? It most definitely was.
Iowa's Cory Clark has never allowed his banged up right shoulder to be an excuse, but it hurt him more to know somebody noticed he was in pain after his 7-4 victory over Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello Friday in the 133-pound semifinals at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships at the Scottrade Center.
As his hand was raised to pronounce his victory, Clark winced slightly in pain.
"First of all, one of my main goals as a competitor is to show no pain, show no emotion," Clark said. "So that sucks you noticed that hurt."
Clark's victory, which gave the Hawkeyes a national finalist for the 42nd time in the last 43 years, and for the 28th consecutive year, was the only win in Iowa's four semifinal matches.
After losing with one second left to Tomasello in the Big Ten finals, Clark won definitively Friday to reach his third consecutive national championship match. He scored two takedowns in the third, the first to take a 4-3 lead, and then he secured the victory with 19 seconds left and earn a riding time point for the final margin of victory.
"Two third-period takedowns to win that match,” Brands said. "Composed. He didn’t get rattled."
"Tough match, good, hard-fought match," Clark said. "It wasn't pretty in my favor, but I got the 'W' and I'm always just out there to wrestle hard and when I got out there I felt real loose and I felt relaxed and I felt really good. When I'm feeling that way I'm tough to beat."
Clark has lost each of his of his previous two national finals appearances — 7-6 last year to Nashon Garrett of Cornell in New York City, and 11-8 to Cory Brewer of Oklahoma in 2015 here in St. Louis.
"I mean every year I've thought I was capable of winning this tournament," Clark said. "I thought I was the best guy at my weight when I put my best self out on the mat. I think the same tonight I think the same this year and tomorrow night if I go out and put my best self out on the mat and I come out the way I want to there is no question in my mind am I going to win that match.
Clark will face former Iowa teammate Seth Gross of South Dakota State in the finals.
Iowa lost its other three semifinals.
At 125, top-seeded Thomas Gilman was stunned by fourth-seeded Darian Cruz of Lehigh, 4-2 in sudden victory. At 149, former Denver-Tripoli star Brandon Sorensen was pinned by Penn State's Zain Retherford in 2 minutes and 37 seconds, while at 184, Sammy Brooks was pinned by the Nittany Lions' Bo Nickal in 1:02.
The Hawkeyes will finish with five all-Americans as freshman Michael Kemerer remains alive at 157.
Davenport Assumption grad Topher Carton bowed out early Friday with a 9-7 consolation bracket loss to Ohio State's Luke Pletcher.
Penn State, which went 5-for-5 in the semifinals, all but clinched its second consecutive and sixth title in seven years. The Nittany Lions finished Friday with 121 points, 32.5 points better than current runner-up Ohio State's 89.5. Oklahoma State is third with 86, while Iowa is in fifth with 74 points.
Iowa State's lone remaining wrestler Lelund Weatherspoon dropped his only match and was eliminated with the Cyclones in 57th place with 1 point.
Illinois defending champion Isaiah Martinez advanced to the final at 165 with a 2-1 decision over Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin. He will face Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State for the championship.