IOWA CITY – The miles separating the University of Iowa and Iowa State University wrestling programs is greater than the trip from Iowa City to Ames.
So, many received the expected when the Hawkeyes handled the Cyclones in their latest meeting.
Iowa won its ninth straight contest against intrastate rival Iowa State, taking nine matches for a 32-3 victory in front of 9,623 fans Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa increased its lead in the series to 61-16-2, and retained the Dan Gable Trophy, the prize named after the former Iowa State two-time NCAA champion who went on to a legendary coaching career with the Hawkeyes.
Iowa Coach Tom Brands was still urging for more from his fourth-ranked Hawkeyes, which produced their largest margin of victory against the Cyclones since a 33-4 win in 1996.
“I feel like we left points off the board in individual matches,” Brands said. “Consequently, we left points off the board in the team race.”
The Hawkeyes (6-0) were still decisive in the match count and the many of the matches, winning five by major decision including closing the dual with three in the final five matches.
There was a mild surprises for Iowa. Specifically, who took the mat for them at 174. Earlier in the week, Tom Brands said Grant Gambrall would likely wrestle and Evans would weigh-in and dress for the dual. Evans, who opened the season at 165 after qualifying for the NCAA tournament there last season, got the call shortly after they drew the weight to start.
“I found out right after weigh-ins,” Evans said. “I put my stuff on like you normally would, and Tom said you’re going.”
When asked if he knew why Brands selected him, Evans replied, “No. You don’t really question Tom Brands.”
Brands said it was a spontaneous selection and the competition continues for the spot.
“No reason,” Brands said about the choice. “It’s 50/50.”
Evans sparked the Hawkeyes with a strong offensive display. He tallied four takedowns and received a point for riding time in a 10-1 major decision against Tanner Weatherman in the opening bout.
“I feel good,” Evans said. “I feel light. I feel like I can move. I feel like I can keep it up the entire match.”
At the weekly media meeting Tuesday, Brands said Evans cut to 165 too fast this season and that affected his body. Evans was 2-0 at 165 this season.
“Losing weight and wrestling the way you want is always tough because you have to be meticulous and you have to be scientific about it,” Evans said. “A little screw up here and a screw up there is a bigger screw up later on.”
Evans plans to remain at 174. The situation is not settled, and he will battle to be the guy at the weight.
“I think every spot is subject to change,” Evans said. “I don’t think they will ever give these spots away.”
Iowa was the aggressor the entire dual, owning a 35-3 edge in takedowns. The Hawkeyes also managed seven points for riding time, awarded to a wrestler with at least a minute more than his opponent at the end of the match. When it was all over, Iowa outscored Iowa State, 98-34 in match points.
Seventh-ranked Ethen Lofthouse matched Evans’ output with a 10-3 victory over No. 15 Boaz Beard at 184. Lofthouse showed good motion, scoring four takedowns. They set the tone for the dual.
“You look at the dual meet and you look at some situations, especially the first two matches, the gap is fairly wide, but I don’t know how good they felt out there,” Brands said. “That’s good because there’s room to improve and they are doing some things to put the guy down.”
Iowa’s Tony Ramos amassed eight takedowns against freshman John Meeks, a former unbeaten four-time state champion at Des Moines Roosevelt, for a dual-high 19 points to win by 12. Two matches later Mike Kelly took the mat for Iowa at 149 to drop Luke Swalla, 16-6.
Top-ranked 157-pounder Derek St. John scored 16 of his own for a major decision over Logan Molina, giving Iowa a 29-3 lead before Nick Moore closed with a 3-2 win at 165.
Heavyweight Bobby Telford and top-ranked Matt McDonough provided the Hawkeyes with a 14-3 advantage midway through the dual.
Telford, ranked fifth, controlled 15th-ranked Matt Gibson most of the match until surrendering the lead with a third-period reversal. Telford answered with a reversal with a minute left and rode Gibson out for a 3-2 win.
McDonough, a two-time NCAA champion and three-time finalist, dominated Ryak Finch, forcing three penalty points for stalling and four takedowns to secure a 13-2 major decision.
The first bright spot for the Cyclones came at 197 pounds when 15th-ranked Kyven Gadson claimed a 5-4 win over freshman Nathan Burak.
Gadson was the only Iowa State wrestler favored coming in, and put the Cyclones on the scoreboard. The athletic sophomore from Waterloo East scored two takedowns in the opening period, adding an escape in the second for the advantage. Gadson, who has been plagued with injuries at Iowa State, improved to 2-0 this season.
Iowa State Coach Kevin Jackson said the Cyclones gave themselves a chance to win at 141, 165 and heavyweight, as well. He said he could live with some Cyclone performances but some otehrs’ feelings will be hurt when he shares his opinions of the showing.
“We got out-fought,” Jackson said. “Got out-hustled.”
He isn’t pushing the panic button, and expects the fan base to remain patient as the young Cyclones suffer through growing pains.
“I’m not telling anybody to be faithful,” Jackson said. “Obviously, Cyclone fans are fans for life. We just want them to realize that it is a long season. Obviously, we’re two matches in and we’re 0-2, so obviously we’re not feeling good about it, but we wrestle again in a couple weeks and we’ll keep pushing forward.”
#4 IOWA 32, Iowa State 3
174 – #7 Mike Evans (IA) major dec. Tanner Weatherman (ISU), 10-1
184 – #8 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) dec. #16 Boez Beard (ISU), 10-3
197 – #15 Kyven Gadson (ISU) dec. Nathan Burak (IA), 5-4
285 – #5 Bobby Telford (IA) dec. #15 Matt Gibson (ISU), 3-2
125 – #1 Matt McDonough (IA) major dec. #19 Ryak Finch (ISU), 13-2
133 – #3 Tony Ramos (IA) major dec. John Meeks (ISU), 19-7
141 – #13 Mark Ballweg (IA) dec. #18 Luke Goettl (ISU), 4-1; 21-3
149 – Michael Kelly (IA) major dec. Luke Swalla (ISU), 16-6
157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) major dec. Logan Molina (ISU), 16-5
165 – Nick Moore (IA) dec. Mike Moreno (ISU), 3-2