Ramos becoming 'the man' at 133

BY J.T. BUGOS | DECEMBER 06, 2010 7:20 AM

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Tony Ramos is one of four wrestlers vying for the starting spot at 133 pounds.

In his mind, though, there's only one: Tony Ramos.

"All week long, I was preparing like I was going to be the guy," the redshirt freshman said. "You have to know in your head you're the guy, and you can't have any doubts about it."

Ramos has left no doubt whether he can handle the starting spot. He's wrestled three times this season in dual meets; all have been bonus-point victories. Against both Cornell College and Iowa State, he posted 14-5 major decision wins.

On Dec. 4, he ignited his offense further with a technical fall win over Michigan State's Josh Harper. Ramos scored three takedowns in the match and accumulated eight near-fall points while allowing only a first-period escape.

"He's looking better because of the things that he's doing," head coach Tom Brands said. "Very explosive, and sharp, and crisp, and tight on the corners. There's not a lot to counter there when you're behind a guy and you've got that head tight and you bring that leg up. There's not a lot to counter there, so good job from him. He's really coming along."

Ramos is fighting to lock down the weight class with Tyler Clark, Nate Moore, and Nick Trizzino. Clark won the wrestle-off but is out with an injury. Trizzino wrestled in the Iowa City Duals and posted two victories. Moore was on the mat against Chattanooga and also was victorious.

But Ramos has been "the guy" for the past two duals, though his spot is far from secure. Brands said the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29 and 30 will go a long way in determining who will lay claim to 133 pounds for the season.

"Every time I step out on to the mat now, it's kind of like a test," Ramos said. "When there's three of us fighting for a spot, I have to do everything I can to keep my spot. I'm going to go out there and score points, I'm going to do whatever I can. It doesn't matter if I'm winning by two or winning by one, in my head I'm always losing in the match and I always have to keep scoring points."

Ramos' age certainly has no bearing in whether he will consistently be on the mat for the Hawkeyes. Much has been made of the youth in Iowa's lineup this season, but the grapplers are quick to shrug off questions about their alleged inexperience. Mark Ballweg, the 141-pounder, said the Hawks wrestle some of the best guys in the country every day in the practice room and noted "it was nothing new."

Ramos pointed out he's been wrestling for 15 years — that is a bit of experience.

"I've been doing this my whole life," he said. "It's nothing different. You just have to be able to go out there and block everything out. It's you and the other guy on the mat, whoever wants it is going to go out and get it."

Ramos made sure to get after it with a strong offensive attack against the Cyclones and Spartans. The Carol Stream, Ill., native was continually in deep on shots and ignited the Carver-Hawkeye crowd with his aggressive style.

"You like that kind of wrestling as a fan? Absolutely," Brands said. "Hard, physical, and he can do some things with the front headlock. Pulling guys down, getting angles, going around behind guys and then getting hard, crisp offense in a big environment. I don't know if you can make an argument about the opponents or not, but I'll tell you what, those guys want to win.

"They want to beat him, and he's taking that away from them."

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