Inflammatory insert spurs Iowa to victory

Allison Younge

On Saturday, the State College, Pa., newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, published a wrestling insert cover displaying Iowa’s black and gold hawkeye logo with a big red X through it.
While it was intended to be a preview of the breakdown of the Hawkeyes’ 24-year Big Ten dynasty, the paper was used as an effective motivational tool.
“The day we got here, the paper had that big tigerhawk crossed out,” Iowa’s 142-pound champion Jeff McGinness said. “(Iowa coach Jim Zalesky) showed us that and I think it hurt Penn State more than it could’ve helped them. Everybody got fired up. It was added fuel to the already burning flame that we had going in.”
Next year, Penn State hosts the 1999 NCAA wrestling tournament. There’s no word on whether the paper is planning to display Iowa’s legendary coach Dan Gable wearing a sparkling pink leotard doing a selected ballet number on the mats of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
As good as gold
Gophers Big Ten finalists Jason Davids (142 pounds), Tim Hartung (190 pounds) and Shelton Benjamin (Heavyweight) appeared in new, gold singlets for their championship matches.
“They’re our championship singlets,” Hartung said. “It’s kind of special, I guess, to get to wear them. I think it’s a good idea and it looks good.”
After winning his second consecutive Big Ten title at 190 pounds last weekend, Hartung hopes to have one more chance to wear the new uniform — in the finals of the NCAA tournament in two weeks in Cleveland.
Returning to the official mat at the Big Ten tournament for the first time since March of last year, Gophers senior Brandon Paulson appeared confident and ready for his conference opponents.
Paulson’s enthusiasm seemed to build as the tournament progressed. The former Olympian knew that he needed to win his seventh-place match to secure a position in the national tournament. Embracing match pressure, Paulson fixed a place for himself at the NCAA by fastening Michigan’s sixth-seeded Chris Viola to the mat.
“I was excited to pin him for some team points,” Paulson said. “I just wanted to get that pin to gain some confidence in myself and try to help the team in anyway I could.”
On your mark…
Upon completion of the Big Ten tournament Sunday, the Gophers wrestlers endured further conditioning in order to catch their flight home.
Driving from State College to Pittsburgh through dense fog, the majority of the team arrived at the airport just in time to sprint to the gate, luggage in hand, and hop on the plane.
While every member of the Gophers’ party was accounted for on the way to the airport, the number was slightly decreased at the time of the flight departure. One head coach, three assistants and an unconfirmed number of wrestlers were left in Pittsburgh, apparently clocking in at least five minutes behind their Minnesota counterparts.