March 4, 2012
2012 Big Ten Championship Notes
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Purdue University - Mackey Arena
West Lafayette, Ind.
Session 3 Notes
The first ninth-place matches in Big Ten Championship history were wrestled on Sunday, qualifying four wrestlers for automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
The Big Ten Championships awarded a record number of automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA Championships this weekend, handing out 74 trips to St. Louis.
The longest match of the tournament came in the consolation semifinals as Michigan’s Eric Grajales and Ohio State’s Cam Tessari went all the way to a fourth tie-breaker to decide a winner. Grajales came away with a 3-2 victory.
Illinois had the most consolation semifinal wins, earning 14 team points with four victories. All four came by decision.
Penn State and Minnesota finished the session within 2.5 points of each other (126.5-124).
Penn State University won its second consecutive Big Ten Championship team title, amassing 149 points.
Penn State’s David Taylor was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.
Penn State’s Frank Molinaro and Michigan’s Kellen Russell were named Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Championships.
Penn State’s Cael Sanderson was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Ohio State’s Logan Steiber was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
The Nittany Lions had the most individual champions as well, winning three titles. The top seeds at 149, 165 and 174 pounds, senior Frank Molinaro and sophomores David Taylor and Ed Ruth accounted for the three championships, all scoring bonus points in the finals.
Michigan senior Kellen Russell won his fourth straight Big Ten title at 141 pounds, defeating Iowa’s Montell Marion, 7-2, in the finals. He is just the 11th wrestler in Big Ten history to win four titles, and the first since Iowa’s Mark Ironside (1995-98), and the first-ever for Michigan.
Iowa’s sixth-seeded Derek St. John was the lowest-seeded wrestler to win a championship, taking the 157-pound title with a 4-3 win over Northwestern’s top-seeded Jason Welch.
Three wrestlers tied for the most falls in the championship, with Michigan’s Zac Stevens coming out on top as he pinned his two opponents in just 3:08. Northwestern’s Levi Mele (125) and Illinois’ Mario Gonzalez (197) had two falls each as well.
Seventh-seeded 184-pounder Tony Dallago of Illinois had the fastest fall of the tournament, pinning Purdue’s sixth-seeded Braden Atwood in 23 seconds in the consolation quarterfinals. His fall ties the Big Ten Championship record for fastest fall with Iowa’s Mark Chelesvig (pinned Illinois’ Keith Bollman in 1992 in the 177-pound quarterfinals).
Penn State was the only school to have all 10 wrestlers earn placing positions.
Penn State and Minnesota tied for the most automatic qualifying spots to this year’s NCAA Championships, earning nine apiece. Iowa and Illinois each earned eight and Ohio State secured seven.
Michigan State’s David Cheza was the only unseeded wrestler from the Big Ten to earn an automatic bid to this year’s NCAA Championships.