Behind three champions, Iowa claims title at 54th Midlands; ISU finishes 12th

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

It was a Hawkeye kind of night.

Backed by wrestling titles from Thomas Gilman (125), Brandon Sorensen (149) and Michael Kemerer (157), Iowa rolled to a team championship Friday night at the 54th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships at Northwestern University. The Hawkeyes led with 150.5 points for their fourth straight Midlands title and 26th overall. Nebraska finished second (135.5) and Arizona State third (106.5).  

Iowa head coach Tom Brands watches as Cory Clark pins Chattanooga's Nick Soto at 133 pounds during their EAS/NWCA National Duals quarterfinal matchup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Clark pinned Soto in 4:16.

The top-ranked Gilman got things started, wrestling to a 13-4 win by major decision over Nebraska’s Tim Lambert in a 1-vs.-2 showdown. It was the Iowa’s senior’s third career Midlands championship and his fifth career victory over Lambert.   

Iowa's Thomas Gilman celebrates receiving 4 points for a near fall at 125 pounds on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Gilman won 19-4







After rolling through the first day with four wins, Gilman racked up an 8-6 quarterfinal victory over American’s Josh Terao in Friday’s morning session. The Iowa senior is now 20-3 all-time at Midlands. He was named the tournament's most-outstanding wrestler.

Sorensen followed up with a 7-1 victory over Central Michigan’s Justin Oliver, his second Midlands title.

Kemerer capped off the Hawkeye dominance with a thrilling 6-5 tie-breaker win against Nebraska’s Tyler Berger. Kemerer’s triumph marked his first Midlands win at 157 pounds.

The Iowa duo began the day with major decision victories in the semifinals — Sorensen defeated North Carolina State’s Sam Speno, 10-2, and Kemerer moved past Arizona State’s Jason Tsirtis, 11-2.   

Meanwhile, Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon secured a second-place finish, falling to Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia, 11-2, by major decision in the 174-pound championship. Weatherspoon first defeated Iowa’s Alex Meyer in Friday’s semifinals, ending the tournament as the highest-placing Cyclone.

Iowa State finished 12th as a team with 54.5 points.

Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.