Wrestlers preparing for Big Ten championships

BY J.T. BUGOS | MARCH 03, 2010 7:30 AM

David Scrivner/The Daily Iowan
Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands speaks during a press conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday.
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Ten championships.

That’s the goal for Iowa wrestling as the Hawkeyes prepare for the Big Ten championships, which will begin Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“You want 10 weight classes contributing, and you have 10 guys who believe they’re the champion,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “Two good ingredients for a tournament team are bonus points and having 10 contributors. And that doesn’t mean it’s automatic, but it’s a good formula.”

Iowa will also venture into the Big Ten championships with its strongest lineup to date. Injuries affected myriad grapplers, including 197-pounder Chad Beatty and heavyweight Dan Erekson.

But Brands said he doesn’t see health as a factor, stressing that his 10 wrestlers should want to be the best in the Big Ten regardless.

“You’re going into battle, and there are 10 weight classes to contest, and everybody in that wrestling room should believe that he’s the champion at his weight class.”

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157 still in limbo

Neither Jake Kerr nor Aaron Janssen know which one of them will go into battle for Brands.

And even though Kerr is seeded No. 5 at 157 pounds in upcoming Big Ten championships, the fourth-year Iowa head coach said he likely won’t make a decision until Friday.

“The bottom line is when we go Friday, we’ll make a decision,” he said. “The only thing that factors our decision is what my gut feeling is at noon on Friday.”

Kerr noted Brands had originally planned to resolve the issue on Feb. 26 but put it off. But for now, Kerr said, he needs to perform better in both the practice room and the classroom if he wants to make his first trip to the Big Ten championships as a starter.

With one high-profile victory to his name this year — a 4-2 victory over then-No. 5 Cyler Sanderson of Penn State — the junior admitted his excitement, even if it is slightly premature.

“I’m unbelievably amped,” the Oskaloosa, Iowa native said. “I can’t wait to show what I can do and wrestle those guys this year I haven’t been able to wrestle.”

Beatty returns to the mat

Iowa’s starting 197-pounder will return to action this weekend after being sidelined for more than two months with a broken foot.

Cleared by doctors and having wrestled on the practice mat over the last week-and-a-half, Beatty said he feels “good.”

He is still exempt from running for precautionary purposes, he said, and he is restricted to the stationary bike at times.

“I’m excited, and I think, just like everyone else, I’m geared up and ready to wrestle. It’s just time to do it,” the Wilton, Iowa, native said. “I’ve been doing everything the team has been doing, so I’m on the same page as everyone else.”

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