ST. LOUIS: Iowa clinched its first national team title since 2010 following the medal round of the NCAA wrestling championships Saturday.
The Hawkeyes had 125 points entering the evening finals, where three of their wrestlers will compete for individual titles. Penn State, which had won four straight titles and eight of the last nine, is second with 97.5 points and four wrestlers in the finals. Oklahoma State is in third with 95.5 and two finalists.
Neither the Nittany Lions or Cowboys have enough scoring opportunities Saturday night to catch the Hawkeyes, who secured their 24th team title.
The Hawkeyes won six of seven matches in the medal rounds and scored bonus points in two bouts, getting a technical fall from Austin DeSanto (133) and major decision from Tony Cassioppi (285). Both wrestlers went 2-0 Saturday to earn third-place finishes.
Cassioppi won his two matches by a combined score of 13-0. He was 5-1 competing in his first NCAA tournament, outscoring his opponents 37-2 in his five wins and winning three times by major decision.
I feel good. Its the next best thing I could get, Cassioppi said. I dont want to be third place. I want to be first place, but after the loss in the semis, I had to refocus on getting the next best thing and climbing that podium.
DeSanto won two matches Saturday on the back side of the 133-pound bracket. He finished his tournament 5-1 overall with four bonus-point wins, outscoring his opponents 67-17.
I was letting it go and believing in myself, believing in my coaching staff and believing in everyone else around me, DeSanto said. I know no matter what my teammates and coaches love me, win or lose, and thats a great thing to have behind you.
Michael Beard (197) and Greg Kerkvliet (285) won seventh-place matches for Penn State.
Oklahoma State’s Boo Lewallen (149) and Travis Wittlake (165) finished fourth at their weights, Dakota Geer (184) was fifth and Dakota Geer (157) was eighth.