Hawkeyes get final tune-up before Division I schedule begins


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Wrestling is back in Iowa City. After competing in the Luther Open on Nov. 16, the Black & Gold have their home-opener in Carver-Hawkeye Arena today.

Baker, Iowa Central Community College, and Cornell College will come to town to face off with the nation’s second-ranked team in the InterMat rankings.

Coming off of a dominating performance in Decorah, Iowa, which included 48 pins, head coach Tom Brands’ squad will try to replicate the performance this morning.

At Luther, one of the Hawkeyes’ 10 champions was redshirt freshman Cory Clark. The Pleasant Hill native finished with three pins and a 4-0 win over teammate Thomas Gilman in the 125-pound finals. He will use this meet to gain more varsity experience before diving into the team’s rivalry dual with Iowa State on Dec. 1.

“We’re always seeking to dominate, I would say,” Clark said. “We’re going to go out there and treat them like they’re anybody else — just go out and wrestle hard. Whether they come back and wrestle hard or not, we’re going to wrestle hard.”

As noted to above, pins are key for the Hawkeyes. While the schools traveling to Iowa City may not pose the strongest challenge to Iowa, Brands said racking up falls can make it easier for his grapplers, not just against weaker competition — also against stronger foes.

“That domination is big and for a lot of different reasons,” the eight-year head coach said. “Putting your opponents away before you maybe step out on the mat just because of the way you wrestle. There’s a fear you’re putting in the future.”

And based on the similar level of competition in Decorah and Iowa’s history against those teams, Hawkeye fans could see a lot of pins in Carver.

At the 2011 Iowa City Duals, the Hawkeyes put a 47-3 thumping on Baker, which included pins from Bobby Telford and Ethen Lofthouse. Telford recorded his fall in 2:17.

Even more lopsided, Iowa’s rout of Cornell in last year’s edition of the matchup — Lofthouse, along with Tony Ramos, Derek St. John, and Nick Moore recorded falls in the dual.

The matchup with Iowa Central saw another high pin count, to no surprise. In the exhibition, Ramos, Moore, Lofthouse, and Telford recorded falls to go along with Josh Dziewa’s pin, which took a whopping 43 seconds to record.

With the easy matchup, at least on paper, Brands and Company will use this dual to sort out some unclear positions in the lineup, including the 141 and 149 slots. While Dziewa and Michael Kelly won the respective brackets at Luther, there is still uncertainty in those positions.

Ramos, in his senior season, is excited to wrestle in Carver for the first time this season, and he said he will have his eye on 141 and 149.

“Being back at home at Carver, getting back into that atmosphere,” Ramos said. “Who’s going to emerge at 49? [Is] Dziewa moving forward, that kind of stuff — so we’ll get to see how those guys are coming along.”

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