Hawkeyes To Compete At Midlands

Dec. 22, 2005

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Iowa (3-0) will compete at the 43rd annual Midlands Championships December 29-30 in Evanston, IL. All matches will be held in Welsh-Ryan Arena on the Northwestern University campus. All-session passes are $48 for reserved seats, $36 for adult bleacher seating and $30 for student bleacher seating. Tickets can be purchased from the Northwestern Athletic Ticket Office at (847) 491-2287. Session start times and individual session ticket prices are as follows:

Session – Time – Day – Tickets (R/AB/SB)
Session I – 9:30 a.m. – Thursday – NA/$8/$6
Session II – 7 p.m. – Thursday – $11/$9/$7
Session III – Noon – Friday – $13/$10/$8
Session IV – 7 p.m. – Friday – $15/$12/$9
R – reserved seats, AB – adult bleacher seats, SB – student bleacher seats

Illinois is the two-time defending team champion, and is looking to join Iowa and Iowa State as the only schools to have ever won three or more straight team titles in the tournament’s 43-year history. Hawkeye seniors Ty Eustice (149) and Paul Bradley (184) are two of the six returning champions. Sophomore Mark Perry won the 165-pound title last season, and will have to dethrone 2004 174-pound champion Jake Herbert of Northwestern to earn his second individual title.

While the competition level at each weight class is expected to be high, two of the more hotly contested weights will be 157 and 184 pounds. At both weights, four of the top five rated wrestlers are expected to compete.

Iowa crowned three individual champions and scored 119.0 points en route to a runner-up finish at the 2004 Midlands Championships. Illinois scored 130.5 points to win its second straight team title.

Winning titles for the Hawkeyes were top-seeds Ty Eustice (149) and Paul Bradley (184), and third-seeded Mark Perry (165). Eustice defeated third-seed James Woodall of Penn State, 6-5, in the finals. Perry, a redshirt freshman, scored a 6-4 decision over fourth-seed Travis Paulson of Iowa State in the finals. Bradley recorded his 45th career victory with a 4-2 decision over third-seed Kurt Backes of Iowa State in the finals.

In the consolation bracket, Hawkeye junior Lucas Magnani (125) placed fourth and freshman Alex Tsirtsis (141) placed sixth. Magnani lost a 13-5 major decision to second-seed Efren Ceballos of Cal State Bakersfield in the third-place match. Tsirtsis, who was the sixth-seed, lost a 6-4 decision to third-seed and unattached competitor Max Meltzer in the fifth-place match. Freshman Matt Fields placed seventh at heavyweight and junior Joe Johnston placed eighth at 157. Fields defeated Paul Weibel of Lehigh, 13-6, in the placing match, while Johnston lost a 12-1 major decision to Jeremiah Jarvis of the Schultz Wrestling Club.

Iowa has won the most team titles (18) of any team in the Midlands 43-year history. The Hawkeyes won their first team title in 1974, and proceded to win nine of the the next 11 tournaments. Iowa also won team titles in 1990, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002. Other team winners include Iowa State (6), Michigan State (3), Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club (3), Illinois (2), Michigan (2), Arizona State (1), Minnesota (1), North Carolina (1) and Oklahoma State (1). Team scores were not kept at four tournaments (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995.)

Seven former Hawkeyes are enshrined in the Midlands Hall of Fame. Ed Banach, Chris Campbell, Steve Combs, Tim Cysewski, Barry Davis, Randy Lewis and Chuck Yagla are all members of the Midlands Hall of Fame.

Former Hawkeye Joe Williams holds the most individual titles in Midlands history, winning 10. Other former Hawkeyes to win at least three titles are Tim Cysweski (5), Mark Ironside (4), Royce Alger (3), Ed Banach (3), Jim Heffernan (3), Randy Lewis (3) and Chuck Yagla (3). Several Hawkeyes also hold Midlands weight class records. Ironside has the most wins (27) at 141 pounds, and he and Cysewski hold the most titles (4 each) at that weight. Jim Heffernan holds the most titles (3) at 157, while Joe Williams holds the most wins (35) and titles (6) at 174.

The Hawkeyes will try to regain the dual meet national attendance record when they host defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Oklahoma State on January 7. Match time is set for 7:30 p.m. The current national attendance record of 15,646 was set February 1, 2002, when Iowa wrestled at Minnesota.

HEAD COACH Jim Zalesky
Jim Zalesky is in his ninth season as head coach at the University of Iowa. He has a school and career record of 119-27 (.815). Named National Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999, and Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004, he has led the Hawkeyes to three NCAA (1998-00) and three Big Ten titles (1998, 2000, 2004). Zalesky has coached 10 NCAA Champions, 20 Big Ten Champions and 40 all-Americans at Iowa. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in June 2004, the University of Iowa Letterman’s Club Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994.

A three-time national champion and one of Iowa’s 15 four-time all-Americans, Zalesky was an assistant coach and head recruiter at Iowa under Dan Gable for seven seasons (1991-97). He was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the N.W.C.A. in 1992 and 1997. Undefeated as a junior and senior, Zalesky ended his career on an 89-match winning streak.

Iowa improved to 3-0 with a 25-11 win over Northern Iowa December 8 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won seven matches, including two bonus-point victories. Iowa opened the dual with five straight wins, starting with junior Lucas Magnani’s 7-3 decision over Seth Wright at 125. True freshman Daniel Dennis followed up with an 11-5 win over Chris Helgeson to improve to 7-2 on the season at 133. Sophomore Alex Tsirtsis improved to 6-2 at 141 with his 10-4 win over Ryan Osgood. Senior Ty Eustice remained undefeated at 8-0, scoring a 15-5 major decision over Justin Swafford at 149. Senior Joe Johnston came back from a 4-3 deficit in the second period to beat Chris Bitetto, 8-5 at 157. Johnston is now 6-2 on the season.

Northern Iowa put its first team points on the board with Nick Baima’s 21-6 technical fall over junior Joe Uker at 165. Iowa sophomore Mark Perry responded by pinning Curt Zinnel in 2:11 at 174 to pick up his 30th career win and improve to 3-0 on the season. The Panthers won close decisions at 184 and 197 before Iowa sophomore Matt Fields ended the night with a 7-3 win over Tyler Rhodes at heavyweight. Fields improved to 7-1 on the season.

Iowa’s overall dual meet record is 787-202-30 (.787) in 94 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 20 national titles, including nine of the last 15, and 31 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 47 NCAA Champions have won a total of 73 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 13 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 99 Big Ten Champions have won a total of 180 conference individual titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 24 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 127 all-Americans have earned all-America status 258 times, including 16 four-time, 27 three-time and 29 two-time honorees.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been the home for Iowa wrestling since 1983. The Hawkeyes have a record of 147-12 (.925) in the arena, which includes a record 10 victories during the 1986 season. Iowa has recorded 16 undefeated seasons in the arena, with the most recent (8-0) occurring in 2002-03. The dual wrestling attendance record for Carver-Hawkeye Arena is 15,291, set when Iowa defeated Iowa State on February 22, 1992. The arena seats 15,500 for a dual wrestling meet.

Tickets for Iowa’s six remaining home duals are on sale at the University of Iowa Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-424-2957, 319-335-9327 or www.hawkeyesports.com. University of Iowa students will be admitted free of charge for all duals except Oklahoma State.

Single-Match Tickets (Advance Purchase)* – $8 – Adults; $4 – Youth
Single-Match Tickets (Gate Purchase)* – $10 – Adults; $5 – Youth
Group Rates* – $4 – Per person with a group of 15 or more

* Iowa vs. Oklahoma State tickets are $10 each. The group rate for the Oklahoma State dual is $5 per person.

Iowa wrestling fans love their Hawkeyes, and have no problem coming out to show it. Iowa led the nation in home dual meet attendance last season, posting a season average of 5,073 fans per home dual. Oklahoma State was second (4,542) and Lehigh third (2,488).

The Hawkeye’s ability to draw crowds on the road has helped 10 schools set dual attendance records. In 2004-05, Cal Davis (5,150) and Illinois (3,573) set records when they hosted the Hawkeyes. The other eight schools are Minnesota (15,646 – 2002), Iowa State (14,507 – 1982), Penn State (11,245 – 1996), Northern Iowa (10,200 – 1976), North Dakota State (6,307 – 1992), Pennsylvania (5,109 – 2002), Wisconsin (4,800 – 1978) and Cleveland State (3,620 – 1987).

Iowa has been a part of the 35 largest recorded dual meet crowds, helping to set the national attendance record 10 times. The current attendance record of 15,646 was set February 1, 2002, when Iowa wrestled at Minnesota. Thirty-two of the top 35 matchups were with intra-state rival Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have also wrestled in front of 44 of the 47 recorded dual crowds over 10,000. In 2004-05, Iowa competed in 11 of the top 20 reported dual crowds, hosting six (Iowa State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Indiana and Arizona State) and visiting for five (Oklahoma State, Cal-Davis, Illinois, Penn State and Northern Iowa).

The Hawkeye wrestling staff of Jim Zalesky, Troy Steiner, Tim Hartung, Luke Eustice and Mike Zadick earned a total of six NCAA titles, 10 Big Ten titles and 15 all-America honors. Their combined college career wrestling record is 596-90-1 (.881), including four undefeated seasons.

Iowa (3-0) will host top-ranked and defending NCAA Champion Oklahoma State (3-0) January 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes will try to regain the national dual meet attendance record at the dual. The current national attendance record of 15,646 was set February 1, 2002, when Iowa wrestled at Minnesota.