In the words of Iowa’s head wrestling coach Tom Brands, the hawkeyes went through a “trial by baptism” tonight in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The #1 ranked Hawks took the challenge head on though and routed the #15 Iowa State Cyclones 28-8. It was an intense and exciting night. Even though the team score ended up a little lop-sided, seven of the ten matches were settled with decisions. The clear cut domination that Iowa displayed last week in the Iowa City duals was not quite as obvious against the more competitive cyclones.
And rivalries flare when the cyclones come to town. At 174 senior Mike Evans had a close match against his long time CyHawk Series rival Tanner Weatherman. The match ended with a bit of a scare when Evans got taken down in the third period, narrowing his lead 5-4. Evans, ranked 4th nationally, bounced back with a quick escape, however, and accumulated another point for riding time finalizing the score at 7-4. Evans won for the third year in a row against his 6th ranked opponent, Weatherman.
Another tough match was at 133 where Iowa’s Cory Clark defeated Iowa State’s Earl Hall. This was their third career meeting after Clark defeated Hall 8-7 in Ames and 10-4 in the NCAA tournament last year. Clark finished 5th and Hall 8th in the tournament. Despite his unfruitful history, Hall struck first with a single leg finish coming from a knee snatch in the first period. Hall went big again with a head lock throw attempt as soon as Clark escaped, but the Hawkeye grappler kept his cool, ducked out of it, and came up with a takedown of his own. The match was all Clark after that as he came up with another takedown, escape, stalling point, and riding time point.
After the match coach Brands, now 10-0 against the cyclones, was still looking for some improvements to be made, “We’re not capitalizing on major decision opportunities. Even if we win by three at the end there or 4 or 5 you’ve got to score 8 to get a major, and I think you do that by getting the ball rolling earlier.”
When asked about Clark possibly looking tired in his match he said when it comes to Clark, “So what if he’s tired. He can wrestle when he’s tired, and he proved it.” Looking at Sorensen (who started tonight over the hawkeyes’ own 10th ranked junior Brody Grothus) there was a definite difference. Sorensen squeaked by with a 7-6 decision over ISU’s Gabe Morenos after being taken down twice during the final two periods to barely maintain his lead and the win. “Sorensen said he got tired and I think he let how he felt affect him … he let guys in on his legs,” said Brands afterwards.
Iowa’s All American heavyweight, Bobby Telford, looked good though sticking Quean Smith in 5:36. “Telford is patient. He had an oportunity with a leg in the air finish and he hit it again” is how head coach Tom Brands described it. This match advanced the third ranked Telford to 8-0 on the season.
Telford and the rest of the hawkeyes look to continue their winning streak next week when Big Ten Rival Michigan State comes to town. The meet is set to begin at 7 p.m. in Iowa City.