Wrestlers trounce UNI


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Coming off a sloppy 18-16 victory against No. 2 Iowa State in Ames, concerns about a potential fall from grace weighed heavily on the Hawkeyes.

But any misgivings were quickly eased Thursday night as No. 1 Iowa posted six pins and three major decisions to down Northern Iowa in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 48-3.

“It’s lopsided. That’s the way it needs to be,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “That’s what you preach, and that’s what you see these guys talk about, so you feel good that maybe these guys feel good.”

With four-straight falls, Iowa mounted a 24-0 lead. Redshirt freshman Matt McDonough spearheaded the effort at 125 pounds, sticking Northen Iowa redshirt junior Caleb Flores to the mat in 4:38.

At 133, Iowa lacked the services of All-American senior Daniel Dennis, who donned a walking boot during the meet. Brands said “a bad thing happened” during practice Wednesday night but declined to comment on the severity of the injury.

“Dan Dennis is a tough guy, and he’ll be fine,” the fourth-year Iowa head coach said.

The Hawkeyes didn’t falter in Dennis’ absence, though. Iowa City product and West High graduate Nate Moore managed a late first-period pin against Panther redshirt freshman Ryan Jaunch in his collegiate début for Iowa.

Moore, a “game-time decision” by Brands, tallied a 23-4 record and 13 pins while competing unattached last season.

Afterwards, Iowa sported another lineup surprise at 141 in sophomore Montell Marion, who had been previously reinstated following a suspension in February.

Marion took the place of seventh-ranked senior Dan LeClere, who lost to Cyclone senior Nick Gallick, 8-6, in sudden victory on Sunday. The Des Moines native issued another second-period fall against Northen Iowa’s Trent Washington in 3:28.

Brands said the swap wasn’t a reflection of past performances and that LeClere is still the No. 1 wrestler at the weight class for the Hawkeyes. But considering the team’s November wrestle-off, the Iowa coaching staff elected to go with Marion against the Panthers.

LeClere, Marion, and senior Joe Slaton will all compete in the Midlands Championships later this month.

Marion said increased maturity and soaring positivity over the past 10 months helped earn him a chance on the mat.

“Basically, ever since the incident or since my suspension, I’ve shown that I’m a changed person,” he said. “A lot’s changed since then. I was stupid. I was a stupid kid.”

After Marion’s tyrannizing show in front of an announced crowd of 5,490, the top-ranked Hawkeyes continued to illustrate their in-state supremacy.

Seniors Ryan Morningstar and Jay Borschel posted back-to-back falls at 165 and 174, respectively, following an intermission that effectively put the meet well out of reach for Northen Iowa at 40-0.

Sophomore heavyweight Blake Rasing recorded the only Iowa loss, a 3-2 decision against No. 17 Panther big man Christian Brantley.

Heading into the holidays, the victory pleased Iowa 149-pounder Brent Metcalf.

“We did a pretty good job of taking what we wanted,” he said.

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