Courtesy of ISU Athletic Communications NORMAN, Okla. – The Iowa State wrestling team entered the Big 12 Championship finals Saturday evening with the team score lead, but a string of close finals losses proved too much to overcome for the three-time defending champions. ISU relinquished its stranglehold on the league championship to Oklahoma State, which took the conference crown with a 70.5-point performance. The Cyclones, paced by individual champions Jake Varner (197) and David Zabriskie (HWT), took team runner-up honors with 69 points. Oklahoma posted a 64-point score for third place, with Missouri (33) and Nebraska (32) rounding out the event
Nine Iowa State wrestlers are automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. Only ISU 184-pounder Jerome Ward, who placed fifth Saturday, must await the awarding of a at-large berth March 11.
“We are disappointed,” Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson said. “We had a chance to take care of our own destiny and didn’t wrestle and do the things we knew we had to do. I was impressed with Varner’s match. He rode Brester throughout the match and was real quick on his takedowns. I am starting to worry less about Dave Zabriskie in these overtime matches. You always worry when it comes down to that in overtime at the NCAA tournament but what can I say. He beat two of the nation’s best heavyweights to win a third Big 12 title. Very impressive.
The man waiting at the end of the Cyclone lineup always brings his best for the Big 12 Championship. Iowa State’s Zabriskie has a storied rivalry with Oklahoma State’s Jared Rosholt, but that was in the back of the two-time All-American’s mind. With the score knotted at 1-1 after regulation, a first sudden victory period and a tie breaker period couldn’t determine a winner. In the second sudden victory period, Zabriskie sprawled away from a Cowboy shot attempt and covered for the decisive takedown with 20 seconds remaining on the clock to record his third Big 12 title at heavyweight. He is the first ISU heavyweight ever to take home three conference first-place trophies.
“It was really hot and we both were sweating,” Zabriskie said. “I wanted to come out aggressive because he had clubbed me in the dual meet and I got down early. We were both tired but I kept up the pace the whole match.”
Zabriskie improves his career record against Rosholt to 6-3. The Cyclone 285-pounder is the 14th three-time conference champion in ISU history.
Varner, Iowa State’s defending NCAA champion at 197 pounds, kept Nebraska’s Craig Brester at bay this time. After surrendering a takedown to the Husker in their previous match, Varner left no doubt this time with a controlling 5-2 victory for Big 12 first-place honors. Varner added a takedown with three seconds left in the match to distance his lead. The title is Varner’s second league trophy, with his first coming at 184 pounds as a sophomore.
“It starts with going to practice with a purpose,” Varner said. “I don’t focus on any one person. It is all about the bigger goal.”
Varner improves to 5-1 all-time against the Husker. ISU’s three-time NCAA finalist is 26-0 this season. He is the 38th two-time conference titlist in program history.
“It feels good as a senior to have another conference title,” Varner said. “But this isn’t the big one. That is in two weeks and that is what I’ve been training all season for. That is the title I’m after.”
Iowa State’s first four finalists fell to their opponents for runner-up performances, with No. 1-seeded Andrew Long dropping first to Oklahoma’s second-seeded Jerrod Patterson at 125 pounds, 5-3. Senior 133-pounder Nick Fanthorpe was unable to turn away top-seeded Cowboy Jordan Oliver, losing by decision, 6-2. Fellow senior teammate Mitch Mueller was edged by No. 1 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma, 4-2.
ISU’s Jon Reader couldn’t pick up his second career victory against Missouri’s Nicholas Marable at 165 pounds. With the score in the Tiger’s favor, 6-5, in the final thirty seconds, the Cyclone two-time All-American couldn’t secure the proper hold to record the takedown necessary to win.
ISU 157-pounder Andrew Sorenson notched a third-place finish with a grinding decision against Nebraska’s Tyler Koehn, winning 2-1. Senior 174-pounder Duke Burk used overtime to score a third-place finish for Iowa State. Burk downed OU’s Jeff James in sudden victory, 3-1. Cyclone sophomore Dalton Jensen placed fourth at 141 pounds after dropping to third-seed Todd Schavrien of Missouri, 7-6.
In consolation semifinal action, Iowa State split bouts with second-seeded Sorenson winning 15-4 over Missouri’s Patrick Wright, and No. 3 Jerome Ward falling to fifth-seeded Sooner Erich Schmidtke, 4-3.
2010 Big 12 Championship Final Team Scoring Oklahoma State 70.5 Iowa State 69 Oklahoma 64 Missouri 33 Nebraska 32
2010 Big 12 Championship – Second Session Results Finals 125 pounds – No. 2 Jerrod Patterson (OU) dec. No. 1 Andrew Long (ISU), 5-3 133 pounds – No. 1 Jordan Oliver (OSU) dec. No. 2 Nick Fanthorpe (ISU), 6-2 149 pounds – No. 1 Kyle Terry (OU) dec. No. 2 Mitch Mueller (ISU), 4-2 165 pounds – No. 2 Nicholas Marable (MU) dec. No. 1 Jon Reader (ISU), 6-5 197 pounds – No. 1 Jake Varner (ISU) dec. No. 2 Craig Brester (NU), 5-2 HWT – No. 2 David Zabriskie (ISU) dec. No. 1 Jared Rosholt (OSU), 3-1 (SV2)
Third-Place Matches 141 pounds – No. 3 Todd Schavrien (MU) dec. No. 5 Dalton Jensen (ISU), 7-6 157 pounds – No. 2 Andrew Sorenson (ISU) dec. No. 4 Tyler Koehn (NU), 2-1 174 pounds – No. 4 Duke Burk (ISU) dec. No. No. 3 Jeff James (OU), 3-1 (SV)
Consolation Semifinals 157 pounds – No. 2 Andrew Sorenson (ISU) major dec. No. 4 Patrick Wright (MU), 15-4 184 pounds – No. 5 Erich Schmidtke (OU) dec. No. 3 Jerome Ward (ISU), 4-3