The Iowa Hawkeyes beat the #17 Michigan Wolverines tonight on their way to securing the Big Ten Dual Championship title outright. Although the score was awefully lopsided at 22-9, the Hawkeyes were still upset with losing the three matches that they did.
The Hawkeyes did, however, have a lot of great matches on the night. Among them were #6 Cory Clark’s dominant win against Zebulon Hillyard, which ended in a 14-3 major decision, and #3 Mike Evans’ 8-3 victory over Jake Salazar. While Clark’s match was all him from the very start, Evans took a while longer to get going. After giving up a first period takedown he came through with a beautiful high single in the second period and then followed up with two more takedowns in the third, including an impressive edge of the mat takedown on the way to capturing his win.
Maybe the highlight of the night for the Hawkeyes though was #6 Nathan Burak’s win over #8 Max Huntley in the 197 lb match. The match began slow but exciting as both contestants went back and forth shooting and reacting, keeping the score tied at zero all the way through the first period. The second and third periods were about the same as the first except each grappler scored an escape when it was their choice. Finally when the match went into overtime tied at 1-1 Burak made his move with a double leg shot that completely overpowered Huntley.
When asked about his exciting, overtime takedown compared to his sluggish performance during regulation Burak offered some insight, “The whole match I was too focused on getting my high crotch instead of really flowing, moving him, and getting different set ups. So I went for the double, and it was there.”
The real dissapointments of the night came when #16 Michael Kelly lost to #10 Brian Murphy 2-7, #8 Sammy Brooks lost to #12 Domenic Albounader 2-3, and when #2 Bobby Telford lost to #7 Adam Coon 2-3. All three of the Iowa wrestlers had chances to win at different points. Kelly’s match was tied 2-2 in the second period before he gave up a takedown and reversal, Brooks was tied 1-1 in the third period before he gave up the final takedown with less than a minute left, and Telford went all the way to the tiebreaker in the first overtime before he gave up the match-winning reversal.
After the meet Head Coach Tom Brands shared his disappointment and frustration with Telford’s match,”It was very uncharacteristic of him. It can’t happen. It cost us big.” Even with the team in general which won seven of the ten matches Brands said, “We’ve got work to do. It was not an inspiring performance.” The redshirt freshman sensation, Brandon Sorensen, echoed coach Brands’ thoughts with distaste of his own, “I didn’t like the way I performed at all… it could’ve been a lot better.”
With the Big Ten Dual Championship under their belts the Iowa Wrestling Team has their next challenge to look forward to: the National Duals which begin this Sunday. Whether they are ready or not, Brands says, “We don’t have a choice… we’ve got ten guys upstairs and I’ll leave that question to them.” Come Sunday at 1:00 p.m. those ten Hawks will answer that question as they take on #16 Virginia.