IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s Topher Carton has faced seven ranked opponents in his last nine matches, and he’s competed with all of them.
Carton, a 141-pound senior, beat his third ranked opponent in the last six weeks Sunday, toppling No. 10 Colton McCrystal, 6-4, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was Carton’s first top-1o conquest this year after dropping his previous two top-10 bouts by eight combined points. His match helped propel the Hawkeyes to a 27-9 win against Nebraska in the regular-season finale.
Leading 4-3 with 37 seconds left in the match, Carton pulled in a single leg, but initially the takedown wasn’t called. Iowa coach Tom Brands called for a review, and Carton was awarded the takedown.
“I knew I had the two,” Carton said. “The new rules, if it’s a fingertip, a fingernail that touches, it’s a takedown and he touched both hands flat. If they overturned it, who cares? Go get another one.”
Carton (20-6) is one of five Iowa seniors who wrestled their final matches at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday. The Hawkeyes (12-2, 8-1 Big Ten) will travel to an undetermined opponent next Sunday in the National Duals.
“Going into this match, getting ready, even walking over to my apartment across the street, I was trying to take everything in,” Carton said. “It was going to be my last time, my last walk down this huddle with my group of guys. I wasn’t going to lose.”
Iowa coach Tom Brands was impressed with Carton’s victory.
“He loves to play to the crowd,” Brands said. “Whatever keeps a guy going and gets a guy going.
“A lot of good things going on for him, but we’re still building.”
Match of the day
At 157, Iowa’s Michael Kemerer withstood a late flurry from Nebraska’s Tyler Berger to hold on 3-2. Kemerer, who is ranked No. 2, scored a first-period takedown and earned the decisive point on a third-period escape.
“I got in on that first shot and finished clean right away,” Kemerer said. “I want to score more than one takedown so I’ve still got to focus on finishing those shots clean. Overall, a good win.”
Berger (26-3), who is ranked No. 3, nearly pulled in a single leg with 6.8 seconds left just past the edge of the mat but was waved off. It was reviewed but no takedown was given.
“My first thought is if it’s a takedown, I’ve got to get out on bottom and I’ve got to keep wrestling until there’s no time left on the clock,” said Kemerer, who improves to 24-1.
It was a rematch of the Midlands Championships, which Kemerer won 6-5 in double overtime. Two of Berger’s three losses have come to Kemerer.
“That guy doesn’t stop wrestling,” Brands said of Berger. “He’s got that funky roll where he almost makes you feel like you’ve got him and then he hits that quick roll.
“The big there is we’re relaxed and we’re wrestling that whole matchup until maybe 20 seconds left and then we started doing things that aren’t characteristic of us. He’ll tell you that. Bottom line is keep wrestling.”
What it means for Iowa and Nebraska
The Hawkeyes (12-2, 8-1 Big Ten) have won five consecutive duals to finish the Big Ten regular-season race in second place behind Penn State (13-0, 9-0). Nebraska falls to 12-3, 6-3.
“That was a good Nebraska team,” Brands said. “They came for blood. They didn’t put their best team on the mat. They didn’t wrestle (No. 3-ranked T.J.) Dudley at ’84, but they came for blood. You saw it. I thought we responded well.”
Who starred for Iowa
Top-ranked Thomas Gilman (23-0) remained undefeated with a 6-3 win against No. 5 Tim Lambert (26-4) at 125 pounds. It was only the third time this year Gilman has not scored extra team points. Iowa’s No. 5 Sammy Brooks (20-2) won by fall at 184 pounds, and No. 11 Alex Meyer (19-5) won by technical fall.
Who starred for Nebraska
In a matchup of ranked opponents. Nebraska’s No. 5 Eric Montoya (22-2) scored a 9-6 win against Iowa’s No. 4 Cory Clark (11-2) at 133 pounds. In a sizzling third period, Montoya trailed 4-3 before reversing Clark. Both wrestlers were on their backs, and Montoya gained four back points before Clark gained a late reversal. The flurry drew strong reactions from both corners and the crowd. The Iowa faithful claimed Clark was in control the whole match, but the final score stood at 9-6. The Nebraska bench was docked a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Who is next for Iowa and Nebraska
Iowa and Nebraska both compete at an opponent to be determined in the National Duals next Sunday.
Box score: Iowa 27, Nebraska 9
125: No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Tim Lambert (Neb), 6-3
133: No. 5 Eric Montoya (Neb) dec. No. 4 Cory Clark (Iowa), 9-6 (Nebraska docked team point for unsportsmanlike conduct)
141: No. 18 Topher Carton (Iowa) dec. No. 10 Colton McCrystal (Neb), 6-4
149: No. 4 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) maj. dec. Collin Purinton (Neb), 13-5
157: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. No. 3 Tyler Berger (Neb), 3-2
165: No. 17 Joey Gunther (Iowa) dec. Dustin Williams (Neb), 4-1
174: No. 11 Alex Meyer (Iowa) tech. fall Eric Engler Barnes (Neb), 17-1, 5:21
184: No. 5 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) pinned Jaquan Sowell, 5:47
197: No. 6 Aaron Studebaker (Neb) maj. dec. Cash Wilcke (Iowa), 12-2
HWT: No. 14 Collin Jensen (Neb) dec. Steven Holloway (Iowa), 5-1