ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands wasn't in a reflecting type of mood late Thursday night.
Brands wasn't in a sour mood. No, Brands was sending a subtle message to his Hawkeye wrestling team that had six wrestlers advances to the quarterfinals and all nine of its qualifiers still alive after a solid first day at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships at the Scottrade Center.
Iowa sits in fourth place with 24.5 points, one behind Oklahoma State, 1.5 behind Ohio State and just six behind defending champion Penn State.
"Day two is on the horizon," Brands said. "We have a one-pound weigh-in, a one-hour weigh in and we have a lot of wrestling left to do and that is where I'm at and that is my assessment."
Brands got for the most part exactly what he needed out of his team Thursday. The Hawkeyes scored 9.5 bonus points, only topped by the 15.5 scored by Penn State and 13.5 by Ohio State. He saw unseeded Cash Wilcke pull off a first-round upset at 197, and Alex Meyer, seeded 11th at 174, rally to top sixth-seeded Ryan Preisch of Lehigh, 7-5.
In addition to Meyer, top-seeded Thomas Gilman at 125, fourth-seeded Cory Clark at 133, fifth-seeded Brandon Sorensen at 149, second-seeded Michael Kemerer at 157, and third-seeded Sammy Brooks at 184 also advanced to the quarterfinals where Iowa has some huge head-to-head matches against teams above them in the team standings.
"We have a lot of big matchups tomorrow, not that any wouldn't be a big match up but it is going to be head-to-head for the teams that are in it for the team race," Brands said. "We got to be ready to go."
Gilman, who registered a pair of major decisions, including a 22-8 win over Campbell's Nathan Kraisser in the round of 16, will face Nicholas Piccininni in the quarterfinals. Sorensen, 6-2 winner over Andrew Crown to get to the quarterfinals, has a rematch against Mitch Jordan of Ohio State, who beat him in the Big Ten semifinals. Alex Meyer gets Bo Jordan of Ohio State, and Assumption grad Topher Carton will face the Buckeyes' Luke Pletcher in an elimination match at 141.
Carton started his day with a 4-0 preliminary decision over Joshua Heil of Campbell before falling to Virginia’s George DiCamillo by a 13-4 major decision in the first round.
Carton bounced back in the consolations with a 16-4 major decision over Cole Martin of Wisconsin.
Sorensen, the Cedar Falls native, scored early and often in his opening two wins and says he needs to stay active if he wants to get back to the finals.
"I got to keep my hands and feet moving because that is where my best wrestling comes from," Sorensen said. "That is what we need to happen. I got to keep that high pace and wrestle like I know how."
Brooks, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3 minute and 44 second pin of Dakota Geer of Edinboro, hopes to shake his quarterfinal jinx today against Emery Parker of Illinois, who upset defending champion Myles Martin of Ohio State in the round of 16.
"Yeah win instead of lose like I did the other years," Brooks quipped. "It's just the same thing I've been saying.
“Just taking it one match at a time. This is the big daddy and everybody is in the zone. Everybody’s got their best wrestling, so I have to take it one match at a time. Relax when I need to relax and come here ready to whip some tail.”
Iowa State saw two of its three qualifiers eliminated and only all-American Lelund Weatherspoon at 174 is alive. Two-time all-American Earl Hall at 133 and sophomore Marcus Harrington at 197 both went 0-2.
Rock Island grad Barlow McGhee of Missouri bowed out of nationals at 0-2 at 125 pounds. He lost in overtime to Gabe Townsell of Stanford and then fell to Dylan Peters of UNI by a 4-3 decision.
Illinois defending national champion Isaiah Martinez cruised into the quarterfinals with a pair of victories over Shaun’Qae McMurty of Northern Illinois and Nicholas Wanzek of Minnesota.