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Iowa builds insurmountable lead

OMAHA, Neb. -- Iowa locked up a third straight team title Friday night at the NCAA championships, sending five wrestlers to the finals and building an insurmountable lead over Cornell.

After winning the tournament with no individual champions last year, the Hawkeyes are positioned to have their most since 1997.

No. 2 seeds Daniel Dennis (125 pounds), Brent Metcalf (149) and Jay Borschel (174), No. 3 Matt McDonough (125) and No. 6 Montell Marion (141) all made it through to the finals.

The Hawks amassed 120.5 points through the semifinals. Cornell had 75, Iowa State 67 and Wisconsin 62.

Iowa coach Tom Brands said having the team race decided on the meet's second day gives the Hawks the freedom to focus solely on individual goals the rest of the way.

"It's flexing your muscles," Brands said. "It shows you're in control and that you've wrestled well as a team, but it doesn't lessen the urgency of winning five titles."

Friday's biggest drama involved Borschel, who came back from a 9-3 deficit to stay undefeated with a 10-9 win over No. 3 Christopher Henrich of Virginia.

Borschel (36-0) hadn't been tested the second half of the season until Friday. He had outscored his first three opponents here by a combined 20-1, but he trailed Henrich 9-5 in the third period.

Borschel scored an escape and was awarded a point when Henrich was given a second warning for stalling. Borschel tied it with a takedown with 47 seconds left and got an extra point for his 1:03 in riding time.

"Sometimes I get in trouble with my laid-back approach and I come out slow," Borschel said. "It's our mentality as a team to get stronger the deeper into a tournament you get. What a feeling to come back like that."

Borschel will face the unbeaten top seed, Cornell's Mack Lewnes (40-0), in the finals. Lewnes beat No. 4 Stephen Dwyer of Nebraska 3-2 after getting a scare in the quarterfinals, where he earned a 4-2 sudden-victory decision over No. 8 Colby Covington of Oregon State.

The second-seeded Metcalf (35-1) earned a much-anticipated rematch at 149 against No. 1 Lance Palmer (31-2) of Ohio State. Palmer handed Metcalf his only loss of the season two weeks ago in the Big Ten finals.

They'll square off again after Palmer beat No. 5 Frank Molinaro of Penn State 2-0 and Metcalf decisioned No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma 6-2.

"I've been waiting the past two weeks to get to this point, and we both had to do our jobs and we did," Metcalf said. "It's time to go out and compete and work it out."

Metcalf won the 149 title in 2008 and was the national tournament's outstanding wrestler. Last year, he had a 69-match winning streak ended by North Carolina State's Darrion Caldwell in the finals. This season Metcalf won 31 in a row before losing a stunning 9-3 decision to Palmer on March 7.

"If it is a rivalry, I would consider it friendly," Palmer said. "I don't have any type of hate toward him."

Iowa State's 125-pounder Andrew Long opened the semifinals with one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, posting a 7-4 decision over top seed and previously unbeaten Angel Escobedo of Indiana.

The fifth-seeded Long (27-6) will face the third-seeded McDonough (36-1), who decisioned unseeded Cashe Quiroga of Purdue 14-3 and has won all three meetings with Long this season.

"He's going to come out wanting blood," McDonough said.

A pair of sudden-victory decisions decided the 133 semifinals. No. 1 Jayson Ness (30-0) of Minnesota used an escape to beat No. 4 Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State 1-0 and Iowa's Dennis (22-3) used a takedown to win 5-3 over third-seeded defending champion Franklin Gomez of Michigan State.

Marion, who decisioned No. 10 Tyler Nauman of Pittsburgh 7-6, has rebounded from a series of off-the-mat incidents to reach the finals in his first national tournament. The sophomore will face top-seeded Cornell freshman Kyle Dake, who won 3-2 over No. 4 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State in a tiebreaker.

Marion was suspended in February 2009 for vandalizing a car, and in 2008 was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

"I know I'm not a perfect person, obviously. I've made mistakes in my past," he said. "But it's a time in my life where it's time to leave all childish things behind me and to start becoming a man and making sure everything I do is representing Iowa in a positive way, and that's what I'm doing."

At 157, unseeded Justin Lister of Binghamton had his magical run end in the semifinals when he lost 13-5 to No. 7 Chase Pami of Cal Poly. Lister had pinned No. 3 Jesse Dong of Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals for his third straight upset. Pami (29-6) meets unbeaten and top-seeded J.P. O'Connor (34-0) of Harvard, who rolled over No. 5 Steve Fittery of American 14-2.

Wisconsin's Andrew Howe (36-0), top-seeded at 165, will face No. 6 Dan Vallimont (31-7) of Penn State. The 184 title will be decided by top-seeded Kirk Smith (29-0) of Boise State and No. 6 Max Askren (19-2) of Missouri.

Iowa State's unbeaten and top-seeded Jake Varner (30-0) will meet No. 2 Craig Brester (30-2) of Nebraska in a rematch of last year's 197-pound final. It will be their eighth meeting in two seasons, with defending champion Varner having won the previous seven. Varner, who competed at 184 as a freshman and sophomore, is a four-time finalist.

No. 1 heavyweight David Zabriskie (25-2) of Iowa State will face No. 2 Jared Rosholt (34-2) of Oklahoma State.