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Iowa takes lead in NCAA Wrestling

March 21, 1997

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) _ Oklahoma State coach John Smith dismissed two-time defending champion Iowa’s 13-point lead after the first two rounds of the NCAA wrestling championships.

``They got the pins and that’s why they’re leading,″ said Smith, who saw seven of his 10 wrestlers advance in the championship bracket Thursday. ``The points haven’t even started yet. These are play points.″

The Hawkeyes grabbed the lead because of bonus points piled up in the first two rounds in which they had five pins _ two by Joe Williams _ three technical falls and five major decisions.

``We’re in the lead because of our individual domination, that we’re able to score bonus points,″ coach Iowa coach Dan Gable, who has six wrestlers remaining in the championship bracket.

Iowa has 40.5 points, while Oklahoma State had 27.5. Minnesota was third at 24.5, followed by Edinboro (21.5), Lock Haven (20.5) and Iowa State (20).

Williams, the defending champion at 158 pounds, had a dominating day. He pinned Harvard’s Ed Mosley in just 31 seconds to improve to 25-1. Earlier, Williams pinned Maryland’s Arash Alizadeh in 2:35.

Another defending champion and top seed, Clarion’s Sheldon Thomas, struggled to beat Cal Poly-SLO’s Tyson Rondeau 6-3 at 118 after routing Nebraska’s Todd Beckerman in a 17-0 first-round technical fall.

``That was a pretty good tune-up for Friday,″ Thomas said of Rondeau. ``He was definitely ready for me. My coaches said I wrestled well, but I wasn’t happy.″

Defending 118-pound champions Cary Kolat of Lock Haven also advanced along fellow 1996 winners with Chris Bono of Iowa State at 150 and John Kading of Oklahoma at 190. All but Kading are seeded first. Kading is a No. 2 seed behind Edinboro’s Jason Robison, who won both his bouts.

Kolat, meanwhile, beat eighth-seeded Brett Matter of Penn 14-5. Bono topped Craig Welk of Cal Poly SLO in a 25-10 technical fall, and Kading pinned Scott Adams of Cal Poly SLO in 3:56.

``My goal was to come out and dominate two opponents _ whoever they were,″ said Bono, who pinned Arizona State’s Michael Douglas in 5:44 in the first round. ``I’m right where I want to be. I’m going out there to dominate everyone I wrestle.″

Top seeded wrestlers also had a good second round.

Winners included Iowa State’s Dwight Hinson at 126, Iowa’s Mark Ironside at 134 and Lincoln McIlravy at 150, and Oklahoma State’s Mark Branch at 167 and Mark Smith at 177, and Penn State heavyweight Kerry McCoy.

Hinson scored an 11-5 decision over Stanford’s Zack Zimmerer. Ironside earned a 19-9 decision over Clarion’s Chris Marshall. Branch beat Central Michigan’s Mike Greenfield 12-4, and Smith stopped Miami’s Rick Tomaro 6-5.

McCoy, the 1994 champion, beat Minnesota’s Shelton Benjamin 13-3.

Hinson, who finished second last year, said he feels more relaxed about going for a championship this year.

``I’ve been here before. I know what to expect,″ he said. I just feel more relaxed and hopefully I’ll feel like this all the way through Sunday.″

One of the biggest upsets of the day was at 150, where unseeded Jason Foresman of VMI decisioned third-seeded Bill Lecure of Michigan 4-3. Foresman went on to beat Pittsburgh’s Kevin Johnson 8-6 in the second round.

Two unseeded West Virginia wrestlers also pulled off early upsets.

Vertus Jones beat seventh-seeded Zac Taylor of Ohio State 9-7 at 167, while Jones’ teammate, John Koss, surprised third-seeded Aaron Simpson of Arizona State 5-3 at 177. In the second round, Koss decisioned Iowa’s Tony Ersland 2-1, and Jones lost 18-6 to Iowa State’s Bart Horton.

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