Saturday, November 24, 2007
Hawks gear up for St. Edward Duals
By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen
St. Edward Duals
? When, Where: 9 a.m. today in Lakewood, Ohio.
? Projected Iowa line up with InterMat/National Wrestling Media Association rankings: 125 pounds -- No. 5 Charlie Falck; 133 -- No. 20 Joey Slaton; 141 -- No. 20 Dan LeClere or Alex Tsirtsis; 149 -- No. 6 Brent Metcalf; 157 -- No. 10 Ryan Morningstar or T.H. Leet; 165 -- No. 1 Mark Perry Jr.; 174 -- No. 17 Jay Borschel or Chad Beatty; 184 -- No. 20 Phil Keddy; 197 -- Rick Loera; Hwt. -- No. 7 Matt Fields.
The Iowa wrestling team's season premiere didn't receive rave reviews from Tom Brands, but the coach of the Hawkeyes is a tough critic who puts more value into end results than opening acts.
Fourth-ranked Iowa had six individual champions in the elite division last Saturday at the Kaufman-Brand Open. That's five more than the Hawkeyes had a year ago but four fewer than the 10-for-10 standard Iowa was shooting for.
Nevertheless, Brands liked some of the things he saw during Iowa's first competition of the season. Charlie Falck (125), Joey Slaton (133), Brent Metcalf (149), Mark Perry Jr. (165), Phil Keddy (184) and heavyweight Matt Fields won titles for the Hawkeyes in Omaha.
"When you have a chance to win championships and you win championships, that's a good thing," Brands said. "You'd like to think we would've been in it for 10 individual titles, and instead we won six. But I tell you what, you look at seizing the opportunity and that's what we did. We know we have work to do, and the work's being done. They're working at it right away."
The work continues today in Lakewood, Ohio, where the Hawkeyes wrestle in the St. Edward Duals. Iowa starts the day with a 9 a.m. dual against the University of Findlay (Ohio) at 9 a.m., and also competes against Iowa Central, Old Dominion and North Carolina State.
The event gives Iowa an opportunity to showcase its storied program at a high school that has produced dozens of college wrestling stars and one who won the national championship last season.
"You're going to an area that's strong in wrestling, they appreciate wrestling and you're bringing it to them," Brands said.
"It's good for the area, it's a strong area to go to, and it's good for the schools we're wrestling. But we've got to be ready to go. The goodwill stops once we get there."
St. Edward produced a flyer for the event and publicized Iowa's arrival. The Hawkeyes are certainly the main attraction. But Iowa's opponents have some individual draws, too.
Findlay's line up includes two-time Division II champion Antonio Guerra at 157.
Iowa Central has won the last two Junior College national titles and is coached by former Hawkeye Luke Moffitt. The Tritons had three junior college national champions last year, including Matt Burns, who returns at 157.
Old Dominion is coached by ex-Hawkeye Steve Martin and has a pair of ranked wrestlers in Ryan Williams (No. 17 at 141) and David Mendoza (No. 19 at 197).
North Carolina State 149-pounder Darrion Caldwell has explosive scoring ability. Caldwell was involved in the match that was the talk of the NCAA meet in March when he and top-seeded Ryan Lang of Northwestern racked up 16 points in the first 1 minute, 40 seconds of their action-packed 141-pound quarterfinal bout. Lang, a St. Edward product, trailed 8-3 before pinning Caldwell. Both wrestlers were given a standing ovation by the crowd at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or email@example.com.