Commentary: Wrestling serves notice

BY J.T. BUGOS | JANUARY 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson said it best earlier this season.

Just as in the past two years, when the No. 1 Iowa captured its 21st and 22nd NCAA titles, the path heading toward a national championship comes right through Iowa City.

The statement also holds true for any Big Ten team seeking a conference crown.

On Jan. 22, the Hawkeyes declawed the Wolverines, 36-0, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

On Sunday, Iowa immediately stole the sledgehammer from hard-hat-wearing Purdue Pete and pounded the Boilermakers, 41-6, in Lowell, Ind.

Redshirt freshman 125-pounder Matt McDonough recorded a major decision and a fall in his two weekend bouts.

At 133, Daniel Dennis showed off the offensive explosiveness he possessed before his ankle injury, which last season pushed him to place seventh at the NCAAchampionships.

Iowa 141-pounder Montell Marion continued to impress observers, tallying a major decision and a fall. Since entering the Hawkeye lineup (seemingly for good now), the Des Moines native has risen to a No. 7 ranking with three victories over top-20 opponents.

He may ascend higher with matches against No. 3 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State and No. 6 Mike Thorn of Minnesota remaining ahead of him during the regular season.

Brent Metcalf continued to justify his No. 1 ranking at 149 over the weekend and shed a little blood in the process.

After Metcalf planted Purdue’s Nick Bertucci on his back and appeared to get a fall, the Boilermaker resorted to Ultimate Fighting Championship tactics to avoid getting pinned, smashing his knee into the All-American’s face numerous times.

My advice to Bertucci: Run the next time you see the prized product of Davison, Mich. It might also behoove you to stay far away from Iowa City.

Should Metcalf and Bertucci reunite at the Big Ten championships on March 3, a quick pin is certain.

He might lose some limbs in the process, too.

Question: Would you rather outrun a pack of hungry wolves or wrestle an angry Metcalf? I’m no Usain Bolt, but I like my chances of survival better facing the pack of wolves.

Phillip Keddy started slow because of off-season injury, but now the 184-pounder appears to be rounding into the shape that made him a fourth-place finisher in St. Louis last spring.

Dan Erekson, the Iowa heavyweight who put his future foes on public notice during his season début against Purdue on Sunday, is now also fully healthy following a pectoral tear he underwent surgery for in October.

The senior from Eagle, Idaho, pinned his Boilermaker opponent in 68 seconds on Sunday.

Heavyweights (Jared Rosholt, Nathan Everhart, and David Zabriskie in particular) be warned.

The wrestling world should take notice, too.

While teams — especially in the competitive Big Ten and Big 12 — surely know about the Hawkeyes’ incredibly deep strength, it’s scary to think Iowa is just now coming to form hungrier than ever.

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