Jan. 3, 2008
IOWA CITY — After crowning four champions and winning the 45th Midlands Open by 46 points over runner-up Iowa State, University of Iowa head coach Tom Brands was finally able to say it.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about being a good team,” Brands said. “Now we have to go from good to great and that will take all 10 weight classes firing. We still need an upgade.”
The primary source for Brands’ new-found optimism came from one of the five other Hawkeye placewinners, but non-champion, Charlie Falck at 125 pounds.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about being a good team. Now we have to go from good to great and that will take all 10 weight classes firing. We still need an upgade.”
“Falck was going for a major decision (against Gabe Flores of Illinois) when he was caught and pinned (in the quarterfinals at Midlands),” Brands said. “He came back with not much room for error and placed third. That’s what we’re looking for.”
There won’t be much time for the Iowa program to enjoy the Midland’s championship. The Hawkeyes host Oklahoma State on Saturday, Jan. 5, with a 7 p.m. start inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Last season the Cowboys defeated Iowa 21-11 in Stillwater for their eighth consecutive victory in the series. Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 24-16-1, but the Hawkeyes hold a 9-8 edge at Iowa City.
Iowa enters the dual ranked No. 1 in the nation and Oklahoma State is No. 9 according to the W.I.N poll released Jan. 2. Brands has never made a habit of putting much stock in paper rankings.
“This isn’t No. 5 against No. 1,” Brands said. “This is Oklahoma State against Iowa. This is (head coach) John Smith bringing his team to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. We have the most crazy, fanatical fans in the industry and they know what’s going on. We’ll have our team ready to go.”
One of the marquee matchups will be at 133 pounds where top-ranked and defending national runner-up Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State will square off against Iowa sophomore Joe Slaton. Scott is 14-2 this season and Slaton is 17-0 and rated No. 3. Scott defeated Slaton in a freestyle national tournament when the two were in high school.
“I’m not going to change what I’ve been doing,” Slaton said. “I want to keep attacking, stay dominant and be aggressive. I’ll be ready to get out there and wrestle. It’s an amazing feeling and a great environment to compete in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.”
Brands said that Oklahoma State could be favored in six weight classes. There will be key clashes at 133, 141, 157, 174 and 285. Iowa’s Dan LeClere won by medical forfeit over Nathan Morgan last season at 141, Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar is 2-1 against Newly McSpadden at 157, Iowa’s Jay Borschel is 0-1 against Brandon Mason at 174 and Iowa’s Matt Fields is 1-1 against Jared Rosholt at 285.
Iowa-Oklahoma State on the mat is one hot ticket!
“This is an opportunity for our guys to go out and do some damage,” Brands said. “They can go out and take control of their weight classes and put the Morningstar or Fields stamp back on their weight.”
POSSIBLE INDIVIDUAL BOUTS (Oklahoma State wrestler, followed by Iowa)
125 — Ben Ashmore (9-5) vs. No. 7 Charlie Falck (16-1)
133 — No. 1 Coleman Scott (14-2) vs. No. 3 Joe Slaton (17-0)
141 — No. 1 Nathan Morgan (16-2) vs. No. 11 Dan LeClere (14-3)
149 — Quinten Fuentes (9-5) or Mike Bizzle (7-5) vs. No. 1 Brent Metcalf (15-1)
157 — Newly McSpadden (16-3) vs. No. 15 Ryan Morningstar (11-4)
165 — No. 12 Jake Dieffenbach (9-1) vs. No. 2 Mark Perry (15-1)
174 — No. 6 Brandon Mason (13-2) vs. No. 10 Jay Borschel (15-3)
184 — Cody Hill (11-4) vs. No. 11 Phillip Keddy (14-3)
197 — Clayton Foster (15-3) vs. Rick Loera (7-6)
285 — No. 7 Jared Rosholt (15-1) vs. No. 11 Matt Fields (15-3)
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