Iowa, ranked first in the NWCA team rankings (rankings which look at a team's dual meet strength rather than tournament strength), finally wrestled their first dual meets of the season this weekend, hosting the Iowa City Duals at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday. As expected, the Hawkeyes dominated the competition, mowing through most of the wrestlers from Baker College, Cornell College, and Iowa Central Community College. The competition Iowa saw in these events was scarcely better than what they faced at the Luther Open last weekend, so unfortunately we still don't really know much more about this team -- and, in particular, its question marks -- than we did entering the season.
Let's break down the Iowa City Duals by the numbers, though.
- Iowa went 29-1 across thirty matches; Patrick Downey's win over Kris Klapprodt at 197 in the Iowa-Cornell College meet was the only Iowa loss of the Duals.
- Iowa wrestlers recorded 19 pins, led by Nick Moore and Bobby Telford with three pins apiece. Thomas Gilman, Cory Clark, Mike Evans, and Sam Brooks all contributed a pair of pins each.
- Iowa wrestlers recorded 6 technical falls.
- Iowa wrestlers had just three decision wins: Klapprodt's 9-4 win over William Leone in the Iowa-Baker College dual, Mike Kelly's 8-5 win over RIchie Lewis in the Iowa-Iowa Central dual, and Topher Carton's 11-5 win over Trevor Engle in the Iowa-Cornell College dual
- I hope Bobby Telford's getting a workout in practice, because he hasn't been getting of a workout in competition thus far; his three wins on Friday totaled 3:52 of mat time.
While Iowa wrestled a mostly full-strength lineup of first-choice starters in the Duals, there were a few unexpected faces at 149 and 197. Topher Carton bumped up from 141 to wrestle three matches at 149; he's not a factor in the race at 149, but the three men who are (Brody Grothus, Brandon Sorensen, and Edwin Cooper) were held out of the Duals because they went down to wrestle at the Joe Parsi Open in Lindenwood, MO on Saturday (results below). Kris Klapprodt filled in at 197 because presumptive starter Nathan Burak is dealing with a knee injury.
The good news for Burak is that Iowa's bizarre schedule -- no duals of consequence until January, and no real events of significance at all until Midlands -- should give him ample time to rest and heal up. While he has a redshirt that he can use if need be, not having Burak this year would be a big blow to Iowa's team championship aspirations, since we've been penciling him in as one of Iowa's better bets at All-America status. We'll just have to wait and see on his status.
In the meantime, the Iowa City Duals... yeah. I don't know if Iowa is unwilling or unable to schedule stronger competition for this event, but until they do add better opposition, this event is going to remain a sideshow. There are the odd good wrestlers here (and at events like the Luther Open or Joe Parsi Open), guys who were highly touted coming out of high school and have the talent to wrestle DI, but not the grades or attitude. But for the most part the competitive gap is huge and the results reflect that.
It was entertaining to listen to Steven Grace and Mark Ironside, Iowa's radio commentators, discuss ideas for making the Duals more interesting. They ranged from bringing in west coast teams to adding a dual with UNI, perhaps during the evening, rather than as part of the back-to-back-to-back dual meet triangular you get with the Iowa City Duals. I don't know if those ideas are feasible or not (bringing in western teams sounds potentially cost-prohibitive), but it would certainly be nice to do SOMETHING to goose interest in the Iowa City Duals.
Steven Grace on Sam Brooks: "He's sporting a mullet this season." Mark Ironside: "He's sporting it pretty well, too."— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) November 21, 2014
IOWA 55, BAKER 0
125: Thomas Gilman FALL (2:05) Alex Fortuna (Iowa 6-0)
133: Cory Clark FALL (4:11) Bryce Shoemaker (Iowa 12-0)
141: Josh Dziewa TECH FALL (17-1) Juan Rivera (Iowa 17-0)
149: Topher Carton TECH FALL (24-7) Tyler Dickman (Iowa 22-0)
157: Mike Kelly FALL (1:32) Nick Haugen (Iowa 28-0)
165: Nick Moore FALL (4:24) Connor Middleton (Iowa 34-0)
174: Mike Evans FALL (1:45) Joshua Thomas (Iowa 40-0)
184: Sam Brooks INJ DEF Bryant Guillen (Iowa 46-0)
197: Kris Klapprodt DEC (9-4) William Leone (Iowa 49-0)
285: Bobby Telford FALL (1:52) Beau Bennett (Iowa 55-0)
IOWA 49, IOWA CENTRAL 3
125: Thomas Gilman TECH FALL (26-10) Alex Delacruz (Iowa 5-0)
133: Cory Clark FALL (2:06) Tyler Miller (Iowa 11-0)
141: Josh Dziewa FALL (4:34) Cory Collins (Iowa 17-0)
149: Topher Carton TECH FALL (22-6) Eddie Harvey (Iowa 22-0)
157: Mike Kelly DEC (8-5) Richie Lewis (Iowa 25-0)
165: Nick Moore FALL (2:45) Stephon Gray (Iowa 31-0)
174: Mike Evans FALL (1:52) Jacob Meehan (Iowa 37-0)
184: Sam Brooks FALL (2:06) Armani Robinson (Iowa 43-0)
197: Patrick Downey DEC (11-6) Kris Klapprodt (Iowa 43-3)
285: Bobby Telford FALL (0:48) Richard Gonzalez (Iowa 49-3)
IOWA 55, CORNELL COLLEGE 0
125: Thomas Gilman FALL (1:45) Scott Smith (Iowa 6-0)
133: Cory Clark TECH FALL (16-1) Phillip Opelt (Iowa 11-0)
141: Josh Dziewa FALL (1:09) Nathan Shank (Iowa 17-0)
149: Topher Carton DEC (11-5) Trevor Engle (Iowa 20-0)
157: Mike Kelly FALL (2:28) Aaron Engle (Iowa 26-0)
165: Nick Moore FALL (0:55) Michael Maksimovic (Iowa 32-0)
174: Mike Evans TECH FALL (19-3) Brent Hamm (Iowa 37-0)
184: Sam Brooks FALL (3:33) James Garrett (Iowa 43-0)
197: Kris Klapprodt FALL (1:58) Jim Kirby (Iowa 49-0)
285: Bobby Telford FALL (1:12) Eric Tucker (Iowa 55-0)
Meanwhile, as noted above, a handful of Iowa wrestlers went down to Lindenwood, MO to wrestle in the Joe Parsi Open. The most notable Iowa names there were the trio of 149 contenders, as well as Alex Meyer and several of Iowa's incoming freshmen class (all of whom wrestled unattached to preserve their redshirts). The competition at the Joe Parsi Open was a little better than the Luther Open last week, if only because Oklahoma State sent a host of wrestlers, including several starters, and Oklahoma and Missouri sent a few back-ups as well.
Joe Parisi Open (Lindenwood, MO)
GOLD DIVISION (OPEN)
141: SETH GROSS (3-1, Runner-Up)
W, FALL (0:50) Clifford Ikenberry (Benedictine College)
W, FALL (1:08) Kyle Webb (Lindenwood College)
W, TECH FALL (20-5) Tyler Willers (UNI)
L, MAJ DEC (12-4) Dean Heil (Oklahoma State)
A nice showing for Gross, who figures to be one of the main contenders for Iowa's starting spot at 141 next season. He rolled through his first three opponents before coming up on the wrong end of a blowout against Okie State's Heil. There's work to be done, for sure, but this was still a good showing.
141: LOGAN RYAN (2-3, 6th Place)
W, MAJ DEC (20-7) Kyle Borders (McKendree University)
W, DEC (4-2) Joseph Schumacher (Oklahoma State)
L, DEC (8-1) Dean Heil (Oklahoma State)
L, DEC (4-3) Dean Dolan (Oklahoma State)
L, DEC (5-1) Tyler Willers (UNI)
Things started well for Ryan with a blowout win, but things quickly went pear-shaped; maybe wrestling three straight Okie State wrestlers confused him. In any event, things didn't go so well for Ryan here; hopefully better days are ahead for him.
149: BRANDON SORENSEN (4-0, CHAMPION)
W, DEC (10-3) Gunnar Wolfensperger (UNI)
W, TECH FALL (18-2) Tyler Sonnabend (Hannibal-LaGrange)
W, DEC (3-1) Edwin Cooper (Iowa)
W, DEC (4-1) Terrel Wilbourn (Lindenwood College)
So is Sorensen the new front-runner to start at 149 for Iowa this season? Definitely maybe. He had two dominant wins over lesser opponents (though it would have been nice to get the major over the wonderfully-named Wolfensperger), then beat one of his competitors for the starting gig in a head-to-head match before toppling the guy who beat his other competitor for the starting gig in the finals. Ultimately, I think the decision at 149 is going to be made on how the competitors look against top opponents -- who's the most competitive, who's the most aggressive, who's likely to score the most points -- and it's unfortunate that the bracket at 149 here wasn't very instructive on that front. Sorensen may have inched ahead in the battle at 149, but there's still a long way to go here.
149: BRODY GROTHUS (5-1, 3RD PLACE)
W, FALL (2:56) Peter Tatanish (Liberty College)
W, FALL (2:16) Colt Rogers (Bethany College)
W, FALL (0:46) Dillon Scanlon (Benedictine College)
L, DEC (3-1 OT) Terrel Wilbourn (Lindenwood College)
W, MAJ DEC (8-0) Gunnar Wolfensperger (UNI)
W, FALL (0:53) Edwin Cooper (Iowa)
Last week's front-runner at 149 fell back a step this week, losing to Lindenwood's Wilbourn and settling for 3rd place at this weight as a result. The loss to Wilbourn isn't awful -- he was a quality recruit coming out of high school and has spent time at the Olympic Training Center; attitude issues have reportedly kept him off DI teams to this point -- but that's still a guy you'd like to see Grothus beating if you're hoping that he has All-America potential this year. Still, all of his other wins were via bonus points, including a lightning-quick dispatching of teammate Cooper in the 3rd place match. He's going to remain a factor in the race at 149.
149: EDWIN COOPER (3-2, 4TH PLACE)
W, FALL (1:39) Karsten Van Velsor (SIU-Edwardsville)
W, FALL (2:57) Jacob Rubio (Oklahoma)
L, DEC (3-1) Brandon Sorensen (Iowa)
W, DEC (8-4) Jacob Ekster (Missouri Valley)
L, FALL (0:53) Brody Grothus (Iowa)
Not a great tournament for Cooper, unfortunately. He looks like he's in third-place in the 149 horse race at the moment and it might be time for him to start think about bulking up and challenging Mike Kelly at 157. The sooner that decision is made (for Cooper or for any of the competitors at 149), the better, so they'll have more time to get acclimated at their new weight. Cooper had a pair of pins here, but also lost to both Sorensen and Grothus. I still think he's an intriguing option and it would be nice to see him against more non-Iowa foes, but I'm not sure it makes sense to let him wrestle those other 149ers at Midlands if his odds of winning the starting job are so low.
165: LOGAN MCQUILLEN (0-2, DNP)
L, MAJ DEC (17-5) Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State)
L, DEC (9-3) Diorian Coleman (McKendree)
It's been a rough start to the season for McQuillen and it didn't get any better here. There isn't a ton of shame in getting worked by Dieringer, a returning national champion (at 157 lbs), but McQuillen's results this year have still been ugly.
174: ALEX MEYER (4-0, 1ST PLACE, CHAMPION)
W, DEC (12-7) Payne Hatter (Ouachita Baptist)
W, DEC (4-3) Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State)
W, DEC (7-5) Zeb Wahle (Maryville University)
W, DEC (11-10) Jordan Rogers (Oklahoma State)
Well, this was a pleasant semi-surprise. Meyer beat two Okie State opponents here, Crutchmer and Rogers, and they're fringe top-15 guys. Both guys were also far more decorated recruits than Meyer, so it's a nice testament to his hard work and ability to improve in the Iowa wrestling room that he's able to get results like this. That said, four close (or close-ish) decision wins isn't the sort of results we should get too worked up about, especially since two of those decisions came against far-less celebrated wrestlers from Maryville and Ouachita Baptist. But Meyer's continued development is worth taking note of; I'm curious to see what he might bring to the Iowa lineup next season.
285: SAM STOLL (4-1, 3RD PLACE)
W, DEC (7-1) Ethan Driver (Oklahoma State)
W, DEC (3-1) Ross Janney (McKendree)
L, DEC (6-1) Devin Mellon (Missouri)
W, DEC (6-2) Josh Pelletier (Liberty)
W, DEC (4-2) Donnell Walker (Maryville University)
After pinning his way through the easy division at the Luther Open last week, Stoll got bumped up to the big boy division (relatively speaking) this week and while his results were solid enough, they should also probably get us to pump our brakes a little bit on him. He's got tremendous potential, but he's definitely got work to do before he's ready to step in as Iowa's main heavyweight; luckily, we don't need him until next year and he has a full season to learn behind Telford.
BLACK DIVISION (FRESH/SOPH)
184: MITCH BOWMAN (3-1, 2ND PLACE, RUNNER-UP)
W, TECH FALL (15-0) Khial Jamison (Hannibal-LaGrange)
W, DEC (6-4) Spencer Wilson (Bethany)
W, DEC (3-1 OT) Adam Drain (UNI)
L, DEC (5-4) Dakota Downs (Lincoln College)
285: LANCE EVANS (2-2, DNP)
L, DEC (3-1) Dalonte Holland (Ellsworth Community College)
W, DEC (7-0) Ben Melton (Maryville University)
W, DEC (4-0) Jacob Borgmeyer (Lindenwood)
L, MED FFT J Semple (Missouri)
Like the Luther Open last week, the Joe Parisi Open had a separate division for freshmen and sophomores. Iowa had just two guys in that division, Bowman and Evans. Bowman put together a few wins at 184, while Evans had a rocky go at 285. There's not much point in reading much into these results, though.
NEXT: Iowa hosts Iowa State in a dual meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 PM CT on Saturday, November 29.