The Iowa wrestling team will have half of its starting lineup in championship matches at the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midland Championships tonight when the finals take place at Welsh-Ryan Arena on the campus of Northwestern beginning at 7 p.m.
Iowa won all five of its semifinal matches Friday afternoon and have all but locked up the team title in the standings.
The Hawkeyes have 145 points heading into tonight’s finals. Host Northwestern is second with 97.5, while Oklahoma is third with 87.5. Virginia Tech with 72.5 points is fourth and Edinboro is fifth with 68.5 points. Illinois and Iowa State round out the top six.
The first three championship matches tonight on the Big Ten Network will feature three of Iowa’s top four wrestlers — Junior Matt McDonough, sophomore Tony Ramos and senior Montell Marion. Also advancing to the finals were sophomore Ethen Lofthouse and redshirt freshman Bobby Telford.
McDonough kicks off the night with a title match at 125 pounds. The former NCAA champion is the No. 2 seed for the tournament, and he defeated third-seeded Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma, 7-1.
McDonough will be heavily favored in the championship match as he takes on No. 8 seed Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech.
At 133 pounds, Ramos, the top seed, earned another win over Illinois’ B.J. Futrell in the semifinals. This time around, Ramos advanced to the finals with a 6-2 victory. He will face No. 2 Devin Carter of Virginia Tech in the championship match.
Marion, the top seed at 141, survived a tough semifinal match against 12th-seeded Adam Krop of Princeton. The former Des Moines Roosevelt standout advanced but only won 3-2. He will take on No. 3 Kendrick Maple of Oklahoma in the finals.
The next championship match for Iowa will be at 174 pounds where Lofthouse, the second seed, advanced following an 8-6 win over No. 3 Jordan Blanton of Illinois. His championship match may get easier though as he takes on No. 5 Lee Munster of Northwestern.
The final match of the night also will feature an Iowa Hawkeye grappler as Telford is in the championship match following his overtime win over No. 10 Mike McMullan of Northwestern in the semifinals.
Telford, the third seed, won 4-2 and will face top-seeded Jarrod Trice of Central Michigan in the finals.
Two other wrestlers will hit the mat Friday night. Senior Tyler Clark, seeded ninth, won a pair of wrestlebacks in the consolation round and will go for third place at 133 pounds.
Also wrestling will be redshirt freshman Mike Kelly at 149 pounds. Kelly, unseeded, went 1-1 in his wrestlebacks and will try to take home fifth place for the Hawkeyes.
Redshirt freshman Nick Moore (157), redshirt freshman Mike Evans (165), Vinnie Wagner (184) and junior Grant Gambrall (197) all placed seventh in their respective weight classes.
The finals from Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois, will start tonight at 7 p.m. The championship round can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.