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Commentary: Another dual, another beating

BY J.T. BUGOS | FEBRUARY 01, 2010 7:30 AM

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The No. 1 Iowa wrestling team dismantled Michigan State on Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
I know, I’m surprised, too.

This Hawkeye squad lacks the toughness of a typical Tom Brands team … Oh, who am I kidding?

Coming into the season, I thought it would be easy to write about the 10-man wrecking crew that won the last two national titles and treats opponents like Kimbo Slice treats his staged street fights.

But instead I find myself sitting in press row, engulfed by the sweeping sound of the cleaning crew’s brooms.

I’ve tried to avoid noting how dominant the Hawkeyes are after every meet, because they routinely administer a butt-kicking whenever an opponent is foolish enough to show up.

Somehow, though, I’ve written more commentaries about how dominant the wrestlers are than the Iowa basketball team has double-digit scorers.

This team enters the arena, hands out a beating, then walks away as if it’s an everyday occurrence (which, as I’ve established, it practically is).

The latest display featured pins by redshirt freshman Matt McDonough and Metcalf. Both grapplers sit at 24-0 on the season. McDonough sports a No. 4 ranking, and Metcalf tops the 149-pound weight class.

But the biggest story of the day was the 133-pound match.

Daniel Dennis faced defending national champion Franklin Gomez, and a more exciting match would be hard to come by.

Dennis fell one second short of securing a riding time advantage that would have given him a win in regulation. So overtime ensued with the score tied. Then it went into a tie-breaker.

Dennis started down and scored an escape in the first 30-second period. The Ingleside, Ill., native rode Gomez for the entire second tiebreaker period as 7,120 fans stood, cheering.

The Hawkeye senior later played down the win, saying he still hasn’t accomplished what he wants. But this victory is one giant step on the road to achieving the end result Dennis craves.

While his win individually wasn’t dominating, it was part of Iowa’s clean sweep at all 10 weight classes — the sixth time the Hawkeyes have shut out an opponent this season.

The Spartans ultimately were just another casualty in Iowa’s quest for (wrestling) world supremacy.
Though unmatched, question marks still remain for the top-ranked wrestlers.

Can Montell Marion capitalize on his obvious immense talent at 141 to become a threat to the crown? Will Aaron Janssen or Jake Kerr emerge to solidify 157 pounds and continue to be serviceable? Can Chad Beatty continue to be a top-ranked 197-pounder when he eventually returns from injury?

But among the myriad of questions is one certainty: There is one road to Omaha and the national championship, and it runs through the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.

But then again. I’m sure you’ve heard that already before.


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