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Lightweights prepped for Edinboro

BY DANNY PAYNE | DECEMBER 05, 2013 5:00 AM

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The nation’s top-ranked wrestling squad, according to InterMat, hasn’t had much competition outside of Iowa State on Sunday. Other than a 23-9 victory in Ames over the Cyclones, Iowa has battled with sub-Division I schools Iowa Central CC, Baker, and Cornell College.

But head coach Tom Brands’ squad will face with No. 15 Edinboro tonight in McComb Field House. Top-ranked 133-pounder Tony Ramos’ tilt with No. 8 AJ Schopp will mark the first time Ramos has faced a ranked opponent in a non-exhibition match since the NCAA championships in March, when he fell to Ohio State’s Logan Stieber, 7-4, in the first-place bout.

Ramos will use his experience from his match with Schopp on Feb. 16, when he defeated then-ranked No. 3 Schopp, 9-0. The Carol Stream, Ill., native won 9-0 with a riding time of 1:26.

In addition to Ramos’ highly touted bout, Josh Dziewa will face one of the opposition’s strongest wrestlers. Mitchell Port, the second-ranked 141-pounder in the land, poses the strongest challenge the junior has faced this season.

In last year’s dual with Edinboro in Carver-Hawkeye, which the Hawkeyes took, 31-6, Port took one of the Fighting Scot’s two victories in a marquee matchup with now-graduated Mark Ballweg and defeated Ballweg 5-0.

Because of Port’s résumé, Dziewa knows he won’t be able to fight the way he did Sunday against Iowa State, when he wrestled with a  laissez-faire style, in the words of Brands.

“There has to be some more explosion, and with that change of pace and explosion, I think his awareness will increase — and this match he’s going to have to have some awareness,” the 8-year head coach said.

Dziewa knows he needs to wrestle in a way that Brands referred to. He said he was slow at the beginning of periods and after whistles and won’t be able to rebound from these mistakes his matchup with Port.

“I just think I have to be ready,” the Yardley, Pa., native said. “I only got seven minutes, that’s how I’ve been looking at it now … I have to put them points up early and often.”

Aside from Dziewa and Ramos, another lightweight will square off with a ranked opponent. As Brands announced Tuesday, redshirt freshman Thomas Gilman will start in his first dual of the season Tuesday. Edinboro’s Kory Miles is ranked 17th at 125 pounds, while Gilman does not appear in InterMat’s top-20.

The four-time Nebraska high-school state champion will fill in for starter Cory Clark, who Brands said is still Iowa’s No. 1 at 125 pounds.

With these three big matches, among others, Ramos and Company are ready for the increasing level of challenge that comes every week as the season progresses.

“We’re getting into the meat of the schedule now, and we’re starting to pick up, wrestling ranked guys, tougher opponents,” Ramos said.  “Iowa State was the first test; now, this is our second test. We know that we’re ready and what we have to go out there and do.”


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