With Marion in, Ballweg may move up


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Mark Ballweg had prepared all week for a match on Jan. 30 against Penn State’s fifth-ranked Andrew Alton.

Less than an hour before the match, Ballweg learned he would still take on a fifth-ranked wrestler — but a heavier one.

Montell Marion’s return from a suspension gave Iowa a boost against then-No. 1 Penn State. His comeback victory gave the Hawkeyes the momentum they needed for an upset, and his presence in the lineup gives Iowa a second top-five wrestler along with Matt McDonough — Marion’s victory moved him to No. 3 in Intermat’s rankings.

But it also brought the displacement of Ballweg, who had been a pleasant surprise. Until the Penn State dual, Ballweg had posted a 13-3 record and earned a No. 15 ranking.

But the sophomore said he isn’t feeling sorry for himself.

“It doesn’t matter what weight you’re wrestling,” Ballweg said. “It’s the same goals, the same philosophy, and you’ve just got to go out there and do battle.”

In his first match at 149, Ballweg prevented Penn State’s Frank Molinaro from earning bonus points, dropping a 10-3 decision. Fifth-ranked Molinaro scored four takedowns and racked up over three minutes of riding time, but he couldn’t manage any back points and didn’t win a major decision.

Still, Ballweg called the match “disappointing,” lamenting what he thought were missed scoring opportunities.

Head coach Tom Brands agreed, noting that Ballweg had enough explosiveness to win matches at 149.

“I think he realizes that there was a lot of wrestling undone there for him,” Brands said. “I know he has horsepower. Maybe he was undersized, I’ll take that, but I believe in his horsepower.”

Neither Brands nor Ballweg, however, would confirm that Marion was entrenched as the 141 starter, and that Ballweg would continue to wrestle at 149, the spot his brother, Matt Ballweg, had previously occupied. Matt Ballweg is 2-4 this season.

“Nothing’s final. Nothing’s set in stone,” Ballweg said. “I’m just going day-by-day, talking to the coaches.”

And while Marion’s NCAA runner-up credentials and spectacular opening performance would seemingly make it difficult to remove him from the lineup, Brands deflected questions about the starting status of Marion and Ballweg.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “It’s a step-by-step process. Mark Ballweg factors into this. Matt Ballweg factors into this. We’ll have to know quick, but I don’t know the best way to solve this either.”

Brands said Mark Ballweg and Marion would weigh in at 141 pounds for tonight’s match against Indiana, and that Matt Ballweg would weigh in at 149 pounds. But beyond that, Brands said, even he didn’t yet know who would wrestle where.

Redshirt freshman Tony Ramos said it was a nice problem to have for the Hawkeyes.

“[Marion] helps the team. Ballweg was doing great there, too,” Ramos said. “We’re just loaded at every weight class.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.