MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A bad start turned into a terribly disappointing weekend for the University of Iowa wrestlers.
The second-ranked Hawkeyes suffered more losses in a matter of hours than it had the entire season before Saturday.
Iowa was derailed with a 22-15 loss to fourth-ranked Minnesota and then dropped an 18-16 defeat to sixth-ranked Missouri to place fourth at the National Wrestling Coaches Association/Cliff Keen National Duals on Saturday at Williams Arena.
The Hawkeyes (20-3) lost six matches in both duals, losing back-to-back duals for the first time since falling to Ohio State and Penn State on the same weekend of January 2012. Missouri’s top-ranked heavyweight sealed the Tigers win for third, scoring a takedown :32 into the second sudden victory period for a 4-2 win over Bobby Telford.
“We have work to do,” Brands said. “We have to move forward. There are some things that are maybe a little bit bizarre. We need to not go back down that path.”
The bizarre came in the form of uncharacteristic performances and losing tight matches.
Missouri (15-3) received huge upsets from fourth-ranked Alan Waters (125) and Kyle Bradley (157). The knocked off Iowa’s top-ranked Matt McDonough and Derek St. John, respectively. Waters used a first-period takedown and second-period escape for a 3-0 win. Bradley scored all four points in the final period, including a late takedown and rideout, for a 4-3 victory.
“This is the match I’ve been looking forward to the past three years,” said Waters, who is 26-0. “It’s a big win for me, but I go out there expecting to win, so it’s nothing I didn’t expect to happen.”
Bradley, ranked 19th, handed St. John his first loss of the season.
The Hawkeyes too a 10-3 lead with consecutive wins from Tony Ramos and Josh Dziewa.
Dziewa got the nod at 141, replacing regular starter Mark Ballweg, and scored a 10-2 major decision, following a forfeit collected by second-ranked Ramos at 133.
A decision 149 and Bradley’s win pulled the Tigers within, 10-9.
Nick Moore and Mike Evans won decisions at 165 and 174, putting Iowa up, 16-9. Moore scored a takedown in sudden victory overtime to beat No. 16 Zach Toal. Evans eclipsed an early 2-0 deficit to beat Todd Porter, 5-2.
They were among the positives drawn from Saturday. The individual feats, or lack thereof, is what Brands is focused on, and not necessarily the team setbacks as a whole on the scoreboard.
“The way I look at this is we want to win as a team,” Brands said. “That is the goal, but there are also 10 individual matches that you are evaluating. If we win this dual meet, I’m talking the same way I am right now.”
Evans found a way to bounce back after a tough loss to top-ranked Logan Storley of Minnesota. He had no choice, because he is determined never to taste the bitterness of losing two straight like he did at last year’s NCAA tournament.
“You have to bounce back,” Evans said. “This will carry over to Big Ten’s and NCAA’s. I do feel there is a correlation, so if you can’t bounce back after one dual and five hours how are you going to bounce back after a half-hour and a change of rounds.”
Evans was asked what the next couple weeks would be like in the room. Changes and strides need to be made by everyone in the lineup for the Hawkeyes to succeed in the postseason.
“We have to get our stuff together,” Evans said. “He have to start hammering some stuff out here. You can’t fly into Big Tens or NCAA’s with loose nails on the ship. You have to hammer those things down.”
The Tigers won the last three matches. According to the Tigers head coach Brian Smith, this was Missouri first dual win over Iowa.
“This is a big win for the program,” Smith said. “We believed we could win that match. We have some good people.”
Minnesota advanced to the finals with its win over Iowa, and then avenged another loss in the finals. The Gophers (16-2) handed top-seeded Oklahoma State its first loss of the season with a 28-9 win in the National Duals championship. Oklahoma State is 17-1.
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