UNI wrestler Joe Colon knocked off the nation’s top two wrestlers and led the Panthers to a fifth-place finish at the 51st Ken Kraft Midlands Championships.
Colon dominated the championship match, pinning No. 2 Tony Ramos of Iowa in 2 minutes, 37 seconds. Colon is the only wrestler to pin Ramos in his college career.
“He beat three highly ranked guys. He showed he could find a way to win. He needs to build on it,” said head coach Doug Schwab. “He’s going to have to do that at the national tournament. He was the same tonight as he always is. He just wants to go and wrestle guys and attack his opponent.”
Colon struck first with a takedown early in the match, but he wasn’t able to keep Ramos down. Ramos earned an escape about midway through the first. However, Colon countered with a takedown that put Ramos directly to his back, giving him the fall.
Colon is UNI’s highest finisher at the prestigious competition since Nick Baima won the 165-pound weight class in 2005.
Dylan Peters earned two falls early in the second day of competition to become the team leader in pins - 12 total - and keep his chances alive for a third-place finish in the 133-pound weight class. However, top-ranked Jesse Delgado of Illinois stood in his way.
Delgado got a takedown early, but Peters earned an escape and reversal to close the gap, 4-3. Delgado got an escape to extend his lead 5-3 after the first period. An early escape put Delgado ahead 6-3. Peters escaped in the third to keep Delgado within two points. Despite earning a point for stalling, Peters eventually fell 6-5 to Delgado.
“Peters is close with all the top guys in the country,” said Schwab. “There are just some small finishing touches. He isn’t happy with where he is at. We get a great effort from him every time. We just have some small things to tweak.”
Four other Panthers got knocked out of medal rounds on the second day of competition.
Returning NCAA qualifier Levi Wolfensperger lost to No. 10 Devon Lotito of Cal Poly in the 133-pound weight class. In addition to pinning Moore, Harger of Northwestern earned a fall against Curt Maas in the 165-pound weight class.
Basil Minto and Blaize Cabell also lost their opening matches of the day in the 197-pound and 285-pound weight classes, respectively.
UNI will be on the road this weekend and face two Mid-American Conference foes. The Panthers face Buffalo Jan. 4 and Eastern Michigan Jan. 5.
On Jan. 11, the team hosts Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to buy tickets early, as fans were turned away at the first home dual because of limited seating.
To purchase tickets, go online at UNIPanthers.com or call (319) 273-4849.