The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 22, 1999 - 7B
Iowa maintains dominance
By Michael Shafr
Daily Sports Writer
STATE COLLEGE - There was a
reversal of fortunes this weekend at the
NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Minnesota, the Big Ten and pre-tourna-
ment favorite, looked to be in the driver's
seat heading into the final session.
But when Minnesota's heavyweight,
Brock Lesnar, walked off the mat a 3-2
loser to California State-Bakersfield's
Stephen Neal, there was no cheering
from the Minnesota fans.
Instead, the screams came from the
/ other side of the arena - Iowa's side.
Iowa's score of 100.5 was enough to
outdistance the most tightly packed field
in recent history and to take the title.
y Minnesota tallied 98.5 to take second, a
hitter defeat after their victory over Iowa
just two weeks earlier at the Big Ten
y Minnesota coach J Robinson was
despondent after the loss.
a "I feel terrible," Robinson said. "How
would you feel?"
\ Minnesota, needing two wins from its
three finalists - 184-pound Brandon
Eggum, 197-pound Tim Hartung and
Lesnar - got only Hartung's win over
./ <Iowa's Lee Fullhart, an opponent he had
,.tbeaten nine out of 10 times.
After the championship, an elated Jim
Zalesky, Iowa's coach, explained the dif-
4 . ference between this tournament and Big
JUSTIN O'BRIEN/The Daily Iowan Tens.
A gutsy performance in the final by Otto Olson was not enough to win him the championship in the 174-pound weight class at "We don't stress the Big Ten, we stress
the NCAA Championships in State College this past weekend. the national tournament," Zalesky said.
Hrovat, teammates become All-Americans
"It's a feel-good, feel-bad situation and I
Michigan finished a disappointing
13th with 39 points. 174-pound Otto
Olson advanced to the finals of his
weight class, only to lose to Penn State's
Glenn Pritzlaff. Olson had beaten
Pritzlaff 9-4 in the Penn State-Michigan
dual meet earlier this season.
"Otto's just crushed," Michigan coach
Dale Bahr said.
Michigan assistant coach Kirk Trost
was the last individual champion for the
Wolverines in '86.
Freshman Andy Hrovat and sopho-
more Damion Logan, in their first
NCAA Championships, achieved all-
America status by virtue of their top-
"I'm really proud of these guys," Bahr
said. "Usually you have to be here one
time, and then you do something the sec-
Michigan's last freshman all-
American was current assistant coach
John Fisher in '85.
Corey Grant, Frank Lodeserto and
Matt Brink didn't make it past the first
day as all three lost their first two match-
Michigan's biggest disappointment
was Joe Warren, the fifth seed at 133
pounds. Warren lost his second-round
match to 12th seed Stan Greene of
Fresno State and was eliminated in the
consolation rounds by sixth seed Eric
Juergens of Iowa.
"He's disappointed - he had a tough
draw," Bahr said. "He wants in the worst
way to be an All-American and a nation-
Bahr, in the final NCAA
Championship meet of his 21-year
career, said that the tournament was a
success. He was particularly pleased
with the performance of Olson, Hrovat
But the three-day grind took a toll on
his body, and he said that he was looking
forward to going home and sleeping.
"I'm so tired right now," Bahr said. "I
just want to relax for a few days."
Two other coaches will be relaxing for
a few days. One with a championship
trophy sitting on his mantle. The other
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-STATE COLLEGE -When the final
match of the NCAA Wrestling
Championships was completed and
most of the 14,000 fans at the Bryce
Jordan Center on Penn State's campus
were heading to the exits, Michigan's
Atidy Hrovat stood alone at the head of
ihe players' tunnel.
*Wrovat's gaze focused on center stage,
where all 10 of this year's national
ich fhpions were posing victoriously in
frbfit of an army of photographers.
One could only guess that Hrovat was
irhagining himself up there with them,
ad after Hrovat's performance this
Weekend, one can only wonder if it is
only a matter of time before that image
becomes a reality.
But all was not lost last weekend.
Wvat and teammates Damion Logan
Otto Olson earned All-America
honors for the Wolverines this weekend.
Olson was the most successful of the
group, losing in the 174-pound champi-_
onship match to Penn State's Glenn
Phftzlaff, who enjoyed an overwhelming
Logan finished seventh in the 141-
Corktinued from Page 1B
Pritzlaff wrestled conservatively for
tlieremainder of the contest, preventing
Olson from taking the shots he needed to
catch up. With the home crowd firmly
-behind Pritzlaff, a flustered Olson
-looked helpless against Pritzlaff's attri-
'1 was a little too confident and I gave
him that early lead," Olson said. "When
it came time to get that critical takedown,
I never got that takedown."
Pritzlaff attributed his victory to a
number of things, most notably his
health, which he said was not up to par
the last time he faced Olson. Pritzlaff's
joy was a cruel companion to the pain
TAKE IT TO CLASS.
pound weight class and Hrovat finished
eighth at 184 pounds.
Hrovat's performance was especially
impressive consideringhe is just one year
removed from St. Edwards High School
in Lakewood, Ohio, where he won the
state championship his senior year.
Hrovat became the first Wolverine to
earn All-American honors since John
Fisher did it in 1985.
Hrovat, who entered the tournament
unseeded, began his successful run by
upsetting eighth seed Greg Gingeleskie
of Navy, 5-4, in the first round, and ninth
seed Russel Jones of Hofstra, 4-1, in the
The win over Jones sent Hrovat to the
quarterfinals where he was pinned by
Iowa State's No. I seed Cael Sanderson,
who was eventually named the most out-
standing wrestler of the tournament.
Hrovat rebounded from the loss and
clinched All-America honors with a
clutch 5-3 overtime victory over
Oklahoma State's Mark Munoz in the
The victory set up an in-state con-
frontation with Central Michigan's Mike
Greenfield in the seventh place match,
which Greenfield won by pinning
Hrovat 23 seconds into the third period.
Earning All-America honors was a
surprise to everyone but Hrovat himself.
"Coming into college my goal was to
be a four time All-American, and even-
tually a national champion," Hrovat said.
"I wanted to shoot high. I knew I could
do it from my success in high school."
But heading into the NCAA
Tournament Hrovat had been struggling.
He suffered disappointing losses in front
of his home crowd at Crisler Arena dur-
ing the Big Ten Championships to Nick
Preston of Ohio State, 2-1, and 14-9 to
Paul Jenn of Iowa. He finished the Big
Ten tournament in seventh place.
"I wasn't wrestling that great at the
end of the year," Hrovat said. "The Big
Ten tournament was really disappoint-
Things changed in a hurry, however,
as Hrovat said he wrestled with renewed
intensity and a refined defensive game
at the national tournament. Hrovat
attributed his turn around at the National
Championships to his desire to perform
well in the spotlight.
"I like to shine, and I like the crowd,"
Hrovat said. "I got my mind ready to go,
and forgot about Big Tens. When I'm
feeling good and concentrating I think
I'm a better wrestler than most guys in
Michigan coach Dale Bahr was
impressed with all three of his young
All-Americans' abilities to shine in the
hottest spotlight of their still budding
"I'm really proud of these guys
because usually in a big tournament like
this you have to be here one time before
you enjoy any kind of success," Bahr
said. "We had three All-Americans and
they are all underclassmen. Hrovat was
huge. Huge. I think the future of this
team is really bright."
Next year the Wolverines return eight
of this year's 10 starters, including all
three All-Americans. Bahr expects that
Hrovat will be one of the leaders of next
"If Andy continues to improve, he
could really do some things next year,"
And if things fall just right for Hrovat,
he may find himself standing on the cen-
ter stage of the Kiel Center in St. Louis
next year, among the best wrestlers in
the nation, basking in the spotlight
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WE'VE BEEN THERE.
hed after NCAA loss
that Olson felt.
"There's nothing better than winning
- winning it here and beating a guy that
beat me earlier in the year," Pritzlaff said.
Michigan's last individual national
champion was current assistant coach
Kirk Trost in 1986. Michigan coach Dale
Bahr also won an individual title in 1968
- when the championships were held at
Trost and Bahr said that their situa-
tions were very similar to Olson's, and
they both spent time with him relaying
"I talked to him about the advice I got
before I won it, Bahr said. "I told him to
make the best of this opportunity
because you may not make it again."
Immediately after the match, one in
which the home fans from Penn State
cheered their loudest, Bahr offered the
defeated Olson some advice for his two
"I just told him to remember how he
feels right now,' Bahr said. "Otto's the
type that works so hard, I told him that
when no one else will drive you, this
feeling will drive you."
As Olson walked down the tunnel
toward the locker room, eyes still red
from the tears he had just shed, he turned
one more time toward the arena floor on
which he had just suffered his most
And with one final look, he bowed his
head and walked through the door - a
defeated warrior who had lost the one
fight he had worked so hard to win.
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