Wrestling to host No. 4 Ohio State

BY J.T. BUGOS | FEBRUARY 19, 2010 7:30 AM

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Eleven seniors will enter Carver-Hawkeye Arena donning their black and gold singlets for the last time when No. 1 Iowa takes on No. 4 Ohio State today.

A total of 640 career wins will leave with them, as well, along with 1,640 team dual points, one individual NCAA title, three Big Ten individual trophies, and nine All-American honors.

The group has helped Iowa win two-consecutive national titles and a 59-match win streak — the fourth-longest in college wrestling history.

For 149-pounder Brent Metcalf, all those wins will be what he remembers most.

“The success and the things we’ve been through together has been pretty cool,” he said. “What we’ve done together as a team has been our best experiences.”

Iowa 174-pounder Jay Borschel reverted to what head coach Tom Brands has regularly preached — a career is defined by wins and losses and championships. Borschel said he would be disappointed if he doesn’t win a title during his senior season, both individually and for the team.

Metcalf echoed those thoughts.

“I think you definitely want to cap it and finish it the right way,” the Davison, Mich., native said. “So right now, you do everything you can to make sure you’re doing that and putting yourself in the position to win the title. I think you feel better at the end of the day if you finish it off the way you want.”

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But what has happened off the mat may be more important than the success.

Borschel said the people he has bonded with in the program are a great aspect to his career.

Daniel Dennis was less reserved about his favorite memories as a Hawkeye.

“Many things I’m never going to forget: Brands singing and dancing to Katy Perry. I’m going to leave it at that, though,” he said. “There’s things you’re never going to forget, and relationships and bonds with your teammates that are going to last forever.”

Dennis said he’d never forget the times Borschel cheered him up after a loss or Iowa assistant coach Doug Schwab “acting like a nut job.”

The 133-pounder said what happens on the mat affects the way he lives off it, but if Dennis had to choose one aspect, he’d take the life lessons.

“It’s been a great experience as a person,” he said. “I feel like it’s developed me and my relationships with some of the best people I know. There are life lessons that I feel developed me into a better person than what I was when I came to Iowa.”

Metcalf agreed the Iowa coaches are unique because they take care of business in the wrestling room. But at the same time, they are lighthearted and funny.

Brands said the camaraderie was something he worked hard to establish, and every Hawkeye pulls for his teammates.

The fourth-year head coach said winning championships is important, but seeing wrestlers come out of hard times and start to shine is even more rewarding.

Dennis went so far as to say that long after his hair turns gray — with memories being stripped from his grasp — Iowa wrestling will remain locked in his mind.

“There’s really too many memories to think of that I’m never going to forget,” he said. “There’s instances with every single person on our coaching staff and every single person in this room that I’ll take with me to the day I die.”

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