ISU Second; Paulson Finishes Fifth
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Iowa State will have an uphill climb to win its first NCAA wrestling title in 20 years. Head coach Cael Sanderson describes it as a "half court shot" chance. But ultimately, the Cyclones control their own destiny heading into Saturday's championship bouts at the NCAA meet in the Palace at Auburn Hills. Minnesota, which had four wrestlers in the consolation round Saturday morning, leads the team race with 92 points. The Gophers' only finalist is prohibitive heavyweight favorite Cole Konrad. Iowa State, second with 84.5 points, has favored Trent Paulson at 157 pounds and underdogs Jake Varner at 184 pounds and Kurt Backes at 197 pounds in tonight's title matches. A winner of a championship match secures four team points. Thus, if two Cyclones win national titles with no bonus points, Iowa State would lead Minnesota by 1/2 point when Konrad stepped on to the mat. All of this has come together in a year when top-rated Minnesota was expected to run away with the team title.