IOWA CITY – If Tony Ramos has his way the only hair on Mike Evans’ head will be the awesome mustache he frequently sports.
Bobby Telford wants to silence the constant chirping from Ramos. Evans wants to dominate and make Ramos settle for second.
Members of the University of Iowa’s wrestling team have challenged each accumulate the most pins this season, which could help the Hawkeyes improve producing bonus points for big duals and tournaments.
“I probably instigated it,” Ramos said during the team’s weekly media gathering Tuesday before practice at the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “Asked Evans if I could shave his head. Then guys started pinning people and I guess it turned into a competition.”
Evans added to the stakes and said it adds fuel to the fire.
“It’s an extra little incentive to go out there,” Evans said, “and go rock someone’s world.”
It is unclear if Telford jumped into the challenge or if he was sucked in by persistent talking by Ramos. Telford is willing to get the better of Ramos whenever possible, noting that he can put Ramos in his place by bringing up a game-winning grand slam into a fire pit during a Fourth of July Whiffleball game a couple years ago.
“It’s fun,” Telford said. “Anything I can beat Ramos in, I don’t care if it’s tic-tac-toe, or anything, just to shut him up for 20 seconds.”
The Hawkeyes had 40 falls, sweeping all 10 individual titles in the elite division of the Luther Open on Saturday in Decorah. Telford posted five pins, which is two more than Evans and Ramos. Cory Clark (125) had three pins and Tomas Lira (197) earned four. They reminded each other after a pin during the tournament and Telford told Evans “one more” when he took an advantage Saturday.
Falls are the ultimate goal anyway.
“It’s not to major people and it’s not to (technical fall) them or win by the seat of your pants,” Telford said. “It’s to pin them.”
Ramos is the one that owns the miniature bird-like trophy that Coach Tom Brands hands out to the team’s pin leader at the end of the season. Ramos, an NCAA runner-up at 133 last year, led the team with 14. The Hawkeyes had 91 total as a team a year ago.
“There are going to be guys trying to take it,” Ramos said. “It’s exciting because that means we’re going to be putting up bonus points. That’s a good thing. That’s what we need to do.”
Brands has heard about the contest and likes the fact the guys are focused on falls.
“Now, let’s keep doing it as the competition gets a little tougher and have it carry over into the big dual meets,” Brands said. “Those bonus points and that domination is big for a lot of different reasons.”
There are plenty of products that could come from this competition. Not only will they get bragging rights, peace and quiet or cause a little inconvenience to their teammates, it could lead to national accomplishments.
“Most of it’s pride. That’s one of the biggest things,” Ramos said. “The other thing is it is a big factor for the Hodge Trophy and it’s going to be a big factor for the national championship team trophy.”
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