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Top-ranked Iowa wrestling edges No. 2 Iowa State, 18-16

BY J.T. BUGOS | DECEMBER 07, 2009 7:30 AM

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AMES — The top-ranked Iowa wrestlers took down No. 2 Iowa State in a dual that came down to the last match in hostile Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The Hawkeyes won four of the first five weight classes before falling in four of the final five.

Iowa held on for an 18-16 win over their in-state rival in an event that was as big as any other for the Hawkeyes.

“This isn’t March, but it’s important on our calendar,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “We circled it, highlighted it, and put an asterisk by it. It was important to us.”

The clash of the top-two ranked teams began at 125 pounds. Iowa redshirt freshman Matt McDonough pumped excitement into the Hawkeyes with a 13-7 decision over Andrew Long.

Brands said after the dual that McDonough is a natural spark plug for the team because of his wrestling style and energy on the mat.

Iowa senior 133-pounder Daniel Dennis and Iowa State senior Nick Fanthorpe stepped onto the mat next in the first of three matches decided by sudden victory in the event.

Even though Dennis managed a takedown in extra time to win 10-8, he said he wasn’t happy with the way he wrestled.

“I was put in a tough spot,” the Ingleside, Ill., native said. “Before overtime, I was waiting a little too long for him to give instead of me pushing the pace. It’s good to win in overtime, but it’s not good to be there.”

At 141 pounds, the Hawkeyes suffered their first loss when senior Dan LeClere fell to Cyclone Nick Gallick, 8-6 in sudden victory.

Iowa senior 149-pounder Brent Metcalf followed LeClere and ended up excitedly sprinting off the mat after pinning Iowa State’s Mitch Mueller 50 seconds into the third period. The six team points that provided proved to be vital when Iowa’s lead started to shrink in the last five weight classes.

“I think you talk about strategy of a match, especially a big match like that, you don’t go out and think you need to get a pin right away,” Metcalf said. “It’s about scoring points, and then those opportunities will present themselves. You break a guy by scoring points and putting pressure on them, and then things open up for you.”

In the 157-pound bout, junior Aaron Janssen scored an 8-6 victory over Iowa State’s Andrew Sorenson.

Janssen’s win gave Iowa a 15-3 team lead halfway through the dual.

Two losses by highly ranked and favored Hawkeyes sandwiched a 10-4 Jay Borschel win at 174 pounds in the next three matches.

After intermission, Iowa’s fourth-ranked Ryan Morningstar fell to fifth-ranked John Reader, 4-3.
Iowa State’s Jerome Ward, ranked 18th, then upset second-ranked Hawkeye Phillip Keddy, 5-3.

The last two matches for Iowa were also losses.

At 197 pounds, Iowa’s Chad Beatty fell to Jake Varner, the top-ranked grappler at that weight class, in a major decision, 12-4.

Clinging to an 18-13 team lead, Iowa heavyweight Blake Rasing became the third Hawkeye to need extra time in his match with David Zabriskie. Rasing eventually lost, 3-1.

Although his squad emerged victorious over a highly-ranked Cyclone team in an intense environment, Brands said the Hawkeyes looked sloppy and have much work to do.

Metcalf expressed hopes the Hawkeyes could perform at a consistently high level in the future.

“Any time you’re going to win on the road, you want to do it in an environment like this,” the 149-pounder said. “It’s hostile, and it got more hostile as the meet when on. I don’t think you look at records at this time of year.

“Our focus is going out and performing our best every time we step on the mat.”


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