Hawks gain heavyweight
Andy Hamilton ? Iowa City Press-Citizen ? October 15, 2009
This time a year ago, Bobby Telford was a wrestler with a big frame, a set of lightweight skills and a 35-39 career record.
He knew all about Iowa from its storied wrestling history, but competing for the Hawkeyes seemed further away in his mind than the 950-mile drive to Iowa City from his home in Wilmington, Del.
"Every kid who gets into wrestling figures out real quick what Iowa is all about," said Telford, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound heavyweight. "It's the greatest wrestling school in America, and it's every kid's dream to wrestle for Iowa. At the beginning of last year, I wouldn't have even dreamed of having this opportunity in front of me."
Telford's meteoric rise during his junior season launched him to the top of the national heavyweight rankings this summer and attracted the interest of the Hawkeyes and nearly a dozen other programs. He eventually trimmed that list to Iowa and Illinois before verbally committing Wednesday night to the Hawkeyes.
"My decision came down to history, the coaches, the people I'm going to be surrounding myself with, and my workout partners," Telford said. "I don't think anybody could beat Iowa. They had the best history, the best coaches, the best workout partners, everything. It's a privilege to wrestle for the Hawkeyes, and I can't wait to get out there."
Telford is rated the No. 43 prospect nationally in the Class of 2010 by InterMat. He's the third high school senior to verbally commit to Iowa's class, joining West High's Nick Moore (No. 14 on InterMat's list) and Waverly-Shell Rock's Jake Ballweg (No. 41).
Telford has been perhaps the fastest-rising prospect in the country during the last 12 months. He compiled a 13-23 record at 135 pounds as a freshman, fitting into a hole in his St. Mark's High School team's lineup that didn't necessarily fit his growing frame.
"A couple good guys moved up, they couldn't make the weight anymore, so the only way I could make the team was to cut down and wrestle 135," he said.
Telford moved up to 189 as a sophomore and went 22-16. He spent the following summer working out with former Penn State heavyweight Joel Edwards. Wrestling at heavyweight and weighing 230 as a junior, Telford went 38-0 and won the prestigious Beast of the East tournament.
"He's got such a great style for a heavyweight because he learned how to wrestle as a lightweight, kind of similar to (Ohio State's former two-time NCAA champion) Tommy Rowlands," St. Mark's coach Jay Basetianelli said. "He's not as quick or as explosive as Tommy Rowlands is, but Tommy Rowlands isn't 6-5, 270 and still growing. He might not be as strong as (former Minnesota two-time NCAA champion) Cole Konrad, but I bet you by the time he's 21 years old he's going to be that big."