March 9, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When the 2013 Big Ten Championships begin today in Champaign, Ill., University of Iowa sophomore Josh Dziewa will qualify as an unknown.
Dziewa will make his 149-pound season debut after posting a 15-2 record at 141 pounds this season. Dziewa, the No. 9 seed, is 0-0 against the other 11 149-pound competitors.
"It doesn't matter," Dwieza says of being the unknown. "They can know what I do or not know what I do. I have moves from both sides, and I can do whatever.
"People have been saying it's to my advantage, but I don't necessarily think so. I am going out there to wrestle hard, that's the end of it. I have to get the job done."
Dziewa has been waiting for his opportunity to be one of the 10 Hawkeyes in the varsity lineup all season. His number was called at the NWCA National Duals, where he posted a 10-2 major decision over Missouri's Nicholas Hucke at 141 pounds.
"If I do my job and do what I am capable of doing, I am looking to win the tournament. It's not a matter of taking seventh place and qualifying for the national tournament. That's not even in the discussion. Whatever seed, whoever I wrestle, I am wrestling hard for seven minutes and looking to bang heads."
That performance gave him his chance.
"With (Michael) Kelly getting hurt, it opened some doors and I got a shot against Missouri at 141 to show I am able to go out there," said Dziewa. "I got it, took advantage of it, got a wrestle-off, and things went my way."
UI head coach Tom Brands calls the decision to insert Dziewa into the lineup a "coach's decision." He elected to go with the new look in Dziewa rather than a banged up Michael Kelly or Brody Grothus.
"We feel like he's our best chance, and we're going with it," said Brands. "We know he can wrestle, and he knows what he is capable of."
Dziewa says the biggest key for him in moving up a weight class will be staying strong mentally and staying true to himself.
"I have been wrestling my whole life," he said. "It's not a matter of size, speed, or technique, it's a matter of knowing I can scrap with these guys. I have wrestled in some of the best high school tournaments in the country. I am right in there with these guys and I know I can bang heads. I am ready and looking forward to it."
As a prep at Council Rock (Pa.) High School, Dziewa posted a 124-7 career record, which included a 33-1 mark as a senior where he won the 135-pound state title. He was an Asics first team All-American as a senior and was a 2009 Junior National champion, 2010 FILA Junior National runner-up and 2008 Wilkes Open champion.
Dziewa isn't selling himself short in his Big Ten debut. He isn't going into the tournament with a hope to compete, but rather with the mindset to win.
"If I do my job and do what I am capable of doing, I am looking to win the tournament," said Dziewa. "It's not a matter of taking seventh place and qualifying for the national tournament. That's not even in the discussion. Whatever seed, whoever I wrestle, I am wrestling hard for seven minutes and looking to bang heads."
Session I of the championships begin today at 10 a.m. (CT), and Sunday's finals start at 1:30 p.m. The Big Ten Digital Network will stream the duration of the event online at BTN.com, and the Big Ten Network will provide live coverage of the finals.