2005-06 Big Ten Wrestling Season in Review

April 4, 2006

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For the third-straight year, a pair of Big Ten wrestling squads finished in the top-five at the NCAA Championships, while a conference team earned a top-two finish for the fourth consecutive season.  Led by runner-up Minnesota and fourth-place Iowa, the league took four of the top 10 team spots and nine of the top 25 places at this season's event.  The Golden Gophers finished second with 84 points behind national champion Oklahoma State.  The conference has had at least one top-two finisher at the NCAA Championships each of the past 16 years since 1990.  Big Ten champion Minnesota and Iowa (70 points) were followed by Michigan (7th, 57.5) and Penn State (T-9th, 53.5) in the top 10.  Five additional squads followed in the top 25 in Northwestern (13th, 48.5), Indiana (T-18th, 35.0), Michigan State (T-18th, 35.0), Purdue (20th, 34.0) and Illinois (25th, 29.0).

Displaying its national dominance, the Big Ten boasted national champions or runners-up in eight of the 10 weight classes, including an all-Big Ten final for the 149-pound title.  Indiana's Joe Dubuque claimed his second-straight NCAA title at 125 pounds, while Minnesota's Dustin Schlatter and Cole Konrad took home the 149-pound and heavyweight championships, respectively.  Six conference grapplers earned second-place finishes in Purdue's Chris Fleeger (133 pounds), Iowa's Ty Eustice (149), Michigan's Ryan Churella (165), Northwestern's Jake Herbert (174), Minnesota's Roger Kish (184) and Penn State's Phil Davis (197).

In all, Big Ten wrestling celebrated 28 All-Americans (39 percent) of the 72 competing at the NCAA Championships, as well as 51 Academic All-Big Ten honorees this year.  Over a 17-week period, a total of 20 wrestlers earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors, while one representative from each of the 11 institutions was named an honoree for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, which will be given at the end of the academic year.