The University of Iowa is gearing up for the “real” season.
The Hawkeyes will compete in the Big Ten Championships this weekend at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill. The tournament begins Saturday at 10 a.m. with a second session at 5 p.m. Action starts Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with the finals set for 1:30 p.m.
Iowa two wrestlers that earned the No. 1 pre-seeds in Matt McDonough (125) and Derek St. John (157). Tony Ramos and Mike Evans are the No. 2 pre-seeds at 133 and 174, respectively. Mark Ballweg is seeded third at 141 with Nick Moore (165) and heavyweight Bobby Telford the No. 4 pre-seed. Freshman Nathan Burak is the No. 6 pre-seed at 197.
The Hawkeyes answered the looming questions in their lineup. Sophomore Josh Dziewa will wrestle at 149, instead of Michael Kelly and Brody Grothus, who both contended for the spot in the regular season. Dziewa wrestled in one dual, posting a major decision at 141 against Missouri in the National Duals. Dziewa stayed at 141 to ensure depth for the Hawkeyes, if Ballweg had suffered injury. He is ninth in the pre-seeds with a 15-2 record and without a match against anyone in the Big Ten at 149.
Ethen Lofthouse won a wrestle-off against Grant Gambrall, as the two former All-Americans faced off for the 184-pound spot. Lofthouse was seventh last year at the NCAA Championships and has finished third in the Big Ten the last two seasons.
Iowa hasn’t changed much in its approach since the National Duals, which resulted in a 1-2 mark for the Hawkeyes. Evans said he is battle-tested for the postseason.
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