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Iowa wrestling senior night set for Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

BY SAM LOUWAGIE | FEBRUARY 15, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa wrestling team wrapped up its Big Ten schedule last week, finishing 8-0 in the conference and winning the dual-meet team title. All that stands between the Hawkeyes and postseason tournaments now is a dual meet in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday night against No. 15 Edinboro.

The Fighting Scots last came to wrestle in Iowa City in 1987, so they might not be well known to Iowa fans. But a few different Hawkeyes will have some serious tests on Saturday night with major NCAA Tournament seeding implications. The Daily Iowan looks at a few of tomorrow night’s biggest match-ups.

133 pounds — No. 2 Tony Ramos vs. No. 3 A.J. Schopp

Ramos has become an excellent pinner this season, flattening nine opponents on the way to a 19-0 record.

Schopp has pinned nine of his last 11 opponents and has 16 total this season. The sophomore has beaten two top-10 opponents this season. Ramos has only wrestled three ranked opponents, and none as high up the ladder as Schopp.

This match represents a good chance for the Iowa junior to put to rest any doubts about the soft schedule he has faced so far, and to make a statement against an opponent he could very well see again in March.

But he’ll have to be careful to avoid being caught in a pinning move.

141 pounds — No. 8 Mark Ballweg vs. No. 5 Mitchell Port

Port is a solid defensive wrestler who typically keeps his matches low-scoring. But he wins almost all of them. Ballweg has a team-high 10 major decisions this year, and he has shown an impressive ability to work from the top position for near-fall points and pins.

Ballweg has hung around the fringes of the All-American race — according to the rankings — all season. A win here against a top-five opponent would help vault him up the rankings and earn him a better seed in the NCAA tournament. This match could very well come down to one third-period takedown.

149 pounds — Mike Kelly/Brody Grothus vs. No. 17 Dave Habat

Iowa, for the third-straight year, has gotten very little from this weight class. Kelly and Grothus have alternated spots in the lineup with middling results. The pair is a combined 16-12 this season. In last year’s NCAA Tournament, the Hawkeyes scored zero points at this weight class. Making up that deficit would help Iowa catch Penn State in the title race. But either Grothus or Kelly needs to start showing the ability to score points. Habat is the kind of good-but-beatable opponent — he’s 22-7 on the season — that could give either wrestler some confidence going into the postseason.


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