IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa’s next dual could be a happy homecoming for a couple of ranked Hawkeye wrestlers.
Josh Dziewa and Mike Evans will visit their old stomping grounds. It might be closer to where Evans grew up, but Dziewa will have the chance to grow from the awaiting challenge.
Dziewa is expected to face second-ranked Mitchell Port at 141 pounds when third-ranked Iowa travels to Pennsylvania for a dual against No. 15 Edinboro on Thursday at McComb Fieldhouse, beginning 6 p.m. (Iowa time). Iowa is 4-0 and the Scots are 0-1.
The dual is about seven hours from his home in Yardley, Pa. He doesn’t expect big group of followers for his return, but anticipates some familiar faces.
“It’s good to be back in the Keystone State and show off what I’ve got,” said Dziewa, noting his parents may not make the trip due to work. “I’m sure there will be fans from the Pittsburgh area that I’ve known for a while.”
Evans, originally from Enola, Pa., expects some family and friends to make the two-hour trip. It will be a rare chance for them to attend a dual, watching the junior 174-pounder win two nailbiters at Carver-Hawkeye Arena last season.
“It’s going to be a fun time,” Evans said. “They go to Big 10 (Championships) and tournaments where they can see me wrestle more than once. Aside from that, they came to Ohio State and Penn State duals last year. They almost left with heart attacks.”
Evans welcomes the chance to compete out East. He has a chance to influence some aspiring athletes that are following in his footsteps.
“You have friends and kids that look up to you,” Evans said. “You have kids that go to the same club because you went to that club. They get to see you and that you’re still out and about. It’s good for them.”
Reserve heavyweight Terrance Jean-Jacques, who could get another start, is from Haverhill, Pa. Near or far, it is still a chance to compete in their home state.
“(Pennsylvania) is (Pennsylvania) to those guys,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “That’s where their roots are and we’ve got big matches, especially at 141.”
Dziewa has a chance to turn some heads with a win in his home state. It is his first meeting with Port, who is 3-0.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Dziewa, who was a state champion with a 124 career wins as a prep or Council Rock in Newtown, Pa. “He’s a tough kid, but so am I, so I’m ready to go for it.”
Dziewa is 9-0 is undefeated in Hawkeye duals in his career. He beat Iowa State’s Gabe Moreno on Sunday in the Hawkeyes 23-9 victory over the Cyclones, giving up the first takedown before earning a 12-5 decision. More energy and urgency is imperative to counter Port’s controlling style.
“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 awareness,” Brands said. “We can’t let him wrestle his slow pace match. Obviously, the guy is capable
“This is a big opportunity. He’s going home. (Pennsylvania) is home. This is a big match.”
Dziewa was quick to agree with Brands’ assessment to his performances. He said he can’t afford the slow start he had in his previous match.
“I have to be ready to go from the beginning to the end,” Dziewa said. “One thing that I like is I felt like my pace got higher as the match went on but I can start at that pace. It doesn’t have to be such a dramatic change.”
One change in the lineup is Thomas Gilman making the trip and competing at 125 instead of fourth-ranked Cory Clark. Brands said Clark will benefit with staying home at this time and it won’t be a permanent move.
“It’s not an indication in any way, shape or form on Clark’s performance,” Brands said. “He’s still the guy and he will be the guy when we come back to town.”
The Hawkeyes have yet to field a team with every starter. Former All-American heavyweight Bobby Telford and NCAA qualifier Nathan Burak (197) have missed all four duals this season. Red-shirt freshman Sam Brooks bumped up from 184 to 197 and was within a point of beating the country’s third-ranked 197-pounder. Brands said Brooks is making progress.
Brands is comfortable with Gilman’s ability to step in the lineup. He already has a win over Oklahoma State’s Eddie Klimara, ranked as high as 11th nationally.
“This shows our depth,” Brands said. “Either guy we’re good with and it’s good for Gilman as well.:
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