Defending champion Iowa and top-ranked Oklahoma State suffered costly upsets, but each still advanced three individuals into the finals at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships Friday night.
Iowa, which had 90 points, will be represented by three former champions in tonight’s finals. Oklahoma State was second with 85 points, followed by Minnesota with 84.
Zac Taylor of Sandpoint, wrestling for Minnesota at 167 pounds, was eliminated in the third round after losing 7-6 to Kevin Welsh of Edinboro.
The team race is the closest in recent memory heading into the finals.
“Good and bad,” Oklahoma State coach John Smith said of the day. “We’re still in it. No question, there were a couple of really disappointing losses at the end.
Iowa is seeking its fourth straight title and seventh in eight years.
The Hawkeyes’ Joe Williams, unbeaten in 32 matches, will go for the title at 167 pounds after winning the last two 158-pound crowns. Mark Ironside locked up a shot at his second straight 134-pound title, with teammate Jeff McGinness - who won at 126 three years ago and redshirted last season - returning in the 142-pound final.
Oklahoma State advanced defending 126-pound winner Eric Guerrero, Teague Moore - who beat Iowa’s Eric Juergens at 118 to start the semifinals - and 158-pound top seed Hardell Moore.
Minnesota sent surprise winner Tim Hartung (190) and 150-pound Chad Kraft into the finals.
But the big news was made by some of those who didn’t survive.
Williams beat Michigan’s Jeff Catrabone 3-2, a victory that was supposed to set up a matchup in the final with Oklahoma State’s Mark Smith. But third-seeded Brandon Slay of Penn upset Smith 5-3, sending shockwaves through the arena.