March 20, 2010
OMAHA, Neb.--Sophomore Andrew Howe defeated Penn State’s Dan Vallimont, 9-3, for the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship title at 165 lbs. With the win, Howe becomes the 13th different NCAA Champion in school history and the first since current UW Associate Head Coach Donny Pritzlaff won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.
“It’s a great feeling,” Howe said. “I can’t explain it yet. It’s good.”
Howe scored his first takedown of the championship match at the 1:51 mark and then rode out Vallimont for the remainder of the period. Howe started down in the second, but escaped two seconds in and scored another takedown 12 seconds later. Vallimont escaped with 46 seconds left in the period, but Howe took him down once again to end the second period up 7-1.
Vallimont scored a takedown one minute into the third period after starting in neutral. However, Howe escaped with 55 seconds remaining, holding on to the lead to win the title by a 9-3 decision.
“I wasn’t going to let this one get away from me,” said Howe, who was a runner-up in last year’s final. “I’ve been telling myself that for a whole year now. I’ve been thinking about that loss (in last year’s finals) every single day for that entire year and I didn’t want to go another year thinking the same thing.”
Howe finishes his sophomore season as an All-American, as well as an NCAA and Big Ten champion. He compiled a 37-0 overall record, including four wins by pin, two by tech fall and 13 by major decision.
The undefeated sophomore is just the fourth Badger to go undefeated in a single season, joining Matt Demaray (42-0 in 1990-91), Andy Rein (40-0 in 1979-80) and Lee Kemp (39-0 in 1975-76).
As a team, Wisconsin finished in fourth place with 70.5 points, to tie for the best finish in school history and the best under current head coach Barry Davis. Wisconsin also finished in fourth place in 1976 and 1978. In addition, the Badgers crowned four All-Americans, tied for the second-most in school history and the most since getting five in 1984.
Coach Davis was also named the 2010 NWCA Coach of the Year.
“It’s great,” Howe said of the team’s performance. “We kind of struggled at some points during the year, but I knew we had some tough guys and we put together a good tournament for the most part.”
UW Athletic Communications