Led by three champions, Iowa wins 54th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | Dec. 30, 2016, 11:45 p.m. (ET)
 Iowa freshman Michael Kemerer wins the 157-pound title at the
Midlands Championships. Photo: Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com.
EVANSTON, Ill. – The Iowa Hawkeyes crowned three individual champions on the way to the 26th team championship in program history at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Friday night in Welsh Ryan Arena.

Claiming top prize for the Hawkeyes were NCAA finalist Thomas Gilman at 125 pounds, NCAA finalist Brandon Sorensen at 149 pounds and emerging freshman Michael Kemerer at 157 pounds.

The fiery Gilman bounced back from a heated semifinal to dominate Nebraska senior Tim Lambert 13-4 in the 125-pound finals. Gilman scored five takedowns in the bout to give him his fifth bonus point win of the tournament and his third title at the Midlands Championships.

The other two Hawkeye finalists needed overtime to secure their place on the top of the podium.

Sorensen was knotted 1-1 with Central Michigan All-American Justin Oliver as time expired in regulation of the 149-pound finals. In the first sudden victory period, Sorensen struck with an outside fireman’s carry to send Oliver to his back and come away with a 7-1 win. This is the second-straight year Sorensen has won the prestigious event.

The award for most exciting final goes to Kemerer and Nebraska sophomore Tyler Berger at 157 pounds. The two foes exchanged numerous wild moments, scrambles, takedowns and reversed calls. When the dust settled, it was Kemerer taking the match 6-5 after exhausting every overtime period.

Led by its three champions, Iowa salted away the team title over second place Nebraska by 15 points. The Huskers also brought home three individual titles on Friday night.

At 133 pounds, Nebraska All-American Eric Montoya broke through with a clutch 6-4 win over Zane Richards of Illinois. The two Big Ten rivals were tied 4-4 at the end of regulation before Montoya sealed the win with an overtime takedown. Montoya avenged a 9-7 loss to Richards from the NWCA All-Star Classic in November.

NCAA finalist T.J. Dudley took care of business in the 184-pound finals with a controlled 4-2 win over Old Dominion All-American Jack Dechow.

Husker senior Aaron Studebaker made a statement with a 4-1 decision over top seed Nate Rotert of South Dakota State in the 197 pound finals.

The rising Arizona State program finished in third place in the team standings behind championship efforts from freshman Zahid Valencia and big man Tanner Hall.

Valencia bolstered his impressive freshman resume with a Midlands championship by defeating Iowa State All-American Lelund Weatherspoon for the second time this year, this time by major decision, 11-2. Valencia holds an undefeated record and won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in addition to tonight’s win.

Hall topped Lehigh freshman Jordan Wood 4-1 in the 285-pound finals to win his first Midlands crown as a sophomore for the Sun Devils. Hall finished in second place at this event last season.

Two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of Illinois found himself dog fight late in the 165-pound finals against Rider All-American Chad Walsh. Tied 5-5 in the third period, Martinez was able to capture a pair of takedowns to solidify the win, 10-6.

North Carolina State All-American Kevin Jack emerged as the 141-pound champion with a 1-0 decision over top-seeded freshman Matthew Kolodzik of Princeton. The only point of the bout came off a Jack escape late in the third period.

For complete brackets, match-by-match results and archived from the 54th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships visit trackwrestling.com.

December 29-30 at Evanston, Ill.

Team Standings
1. Iowa 150.5
2. Nebraska 135.5
3. Arizona State 106.5
4. Rutgers 93
5. Illinois 83
6. NC State 78
7. Wisconsin 70.5
8. SD State 66
9. Rider 60
10. Oklahoma 58.5

Final Results
125 pounds
1st – No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 2 Tim Lambert (Nebraska), 13-4
3rd – No. 5 Josh Terao (American) forfeit Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern)
5th – No. 3 Shakur Laney (Ohio) dec. No. 8 Lucas Malmberg (Messiah), 9-3
7th – No. 11 Johnny Jimenez (unat/Wisconsin) dec. Christian Moody (Oklahoma), 12-9

133 pounds
1st – No. 2 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) dec. No. 1 Zane Richards (Illinois), 6-4 SV1
3rd – No. 3 Seth Gross (SD State) maj. dec. No. 4 Earl Hall (Iowa State), 13-1
5th – No. 12 Jamal Morris (NC State) dec. No. 11 Scott Delvecchio (Rutgers), 7-5
7th – No. 7 Cameron Kelly (Ohio) dec. Eli Stickley (Wisconsin), 5-3

141 pounds
1st – No. 2 Kevin Jack (NC State) dec. No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton), 1-0
3rd – No. 3 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) tech. fall No. 12 Chad Red (unat/Nebraska), 17-0
5th – Kanen Storr (unat/Iowa State) dec. No. 6 Russell Rohlfing (CSU Bakersfield), 7-5
7th – No. 7 Christopher Carton (Iowa) dec. Nick Zanetta (Pittsburgh), 4-1

149 pounds
1st – No. 1 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. No. 2 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 7-1 SV1
3rd – Ryan Deakin (unat/Northwestern) dec. No. 16 Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma), 6-2
5th – No. 5 Sam Speno (NC State) inj. def. No. 6 Joey Delgado (Oregon State), 4:10
7th – No. 14 Anthony Giraldo (Rutgers) dec. No. 3 Alfred Bannister (Maryland), 4-3

157 pounds
1st – No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. No. 1 Tyler Berger (Nebraska), 6-5 TB2
3rd – No. 8 Josh Shields (Arizona State) maj. dec. No. 16 Evan Wick (unat/Wisconsin), 8-0
5th – No. 3 Jason Tsirtsis (unat/Arizona State) dec. No. 5 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan), 3-2
7th – No. 10 Alex Griffin (Purdue) dec. No. 13 John Van Brill (Rutgers), 5-1

165 pounds
1st – No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) dec. No. 2 Chad Walsh (Rider), 10-6
3rd – No. 4 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) fall No. 9 Alex Marinelli (unat/Iowa), 2:41
5th – Kaleb Young (unat/Iowa) dec. Lorenzo De La Riva (CSU Bakersfield), 9-4
7th – No. 3 Clark Glass (Oklahoma) dec. No. 8 Andrew Fogarty (ND State), 6-4 SV1

174 pounds
1st – No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) maj. dec. No. 3 Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State), 11-2
3rd – No. 4 Zac Brunson (Illinois) dec. No. 2 Alex Meyer (Iowa), 9-5
5th – Devin Skatzka (Indiana) dec. No. 7 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin), 9-2
7th – Jordan Pagano (Rutgers) maj. dec. No. 10 Josef Johnson (Harvard), 15-2

184 pounds
1st – No. 1 T.J. Dudley (Nebraska) dec. No. 7 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion), 4-2
3rd – No. 4 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Nate Jackson (Indiana), 10-5
5th – No. 3 Pete Renda (NC State) forfeit No. 6 Nicholas Gravina (Rutgers)
7th – No. 10 Michael Macciavello (NC State) forfeit No. 2 Myles Martin (Ohio State)

197 pounds
1st – No. 3 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) dec. No. 1 Nate Rotert (SD State), 4-1
3rd – No. 6 Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois) dec. No. 10 Ricky Robertson (Wisconsin), 2-1 TB1
5th – No. 7 Ryan Wolfe (Rider) forfeit No. 5 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion)
7th – No. 9 Matt Williams (CSU Bakersfield) dec. Jacob Berkowitz (Northwestern), 11-6

285 pounds
1st – No. 2 Tanner Hall (Arizona State) dec. No. 13 Jordan Wood (unat/Lehigh), 4-1
3rd – No. 3 Sam Stoll (Iowa) fall Gage Hutchison (Eastern Michigan), 4:45
5th – No. 5 Collin Jensen (Nebraska) forfeit No. 1 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)
7th – No. 10 Cody Crawford (Oregon State) dec. Conan Jennings (Northwestern), 1-0