ISU Leads NCAAs; Three to Finals
AUBRUN HILLS, Mich. – NCAA 197-pound finalist Kurt Backes said it best."Tonight, we showed people what Iowa State was all about."Backes, 157-pounder Trent Paulson and precocious freshman 184-pounder Jake Varner all advanced to the championship match of the NCAA wrestling tournament to push Iowa State into the team lead over a Minnesota squad that came into the event as a heavy favorite. The Cyclone surge gave ISU the top total of 83.5 points. Along with the trio of finalists, Travis Paulson will wrestle in consolation semifinals Saturday. Minnesota has prohibitive heavyweight favorite Cole Konrad in the finals with four wrestlers in the consolation bracket. A strong performance by the Gophers in the consolation round could make it very tough for Iowa State to win its first NCAA team title since 1987. Nevertheless, the Cyclones are still in the title hunt in a year where Minnesota was considered a clear favorite. Missouri is third with 69.5 points, followed by Oklahoma State (62.5) and Northwestern (56.5).