Hawkeyes Ready For Final Season Dual

Feb. 19, 2008

Top-ranked Iowa (20-1, 7-0 Big Ten) will end the 2007-08 dual meet season Sunday at #11 Illinois (12-3, 4-2 Big Ten). The dual will be held in Huff Hall at 1 p.m. in Champaign, IL.

The Hawkeyes clinched a share of the 2008 Big Ten regular season title Sunday night when they defeated Michigan, 20-16, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Going into Sunday’s dual at Illinois, Iowa is the only undefeated team in Big Ten duals (7-0). It is also the first time an Iowa team has won 20 duals in a season since the 1990-91 squad went 25-0-1.

This is the 71st dual between Iowa and Illinois. The Hawkeyes lead the series, 43-26-1, but Illinois has won the last two duals. Iowa holds a 21-17 advantage in Champaign. Illinois won the last dual (24-13) in 2006 in Iowa City. Iowa’s last win was 40-4 in 2003 in Iowa City.

Radio – Steven Grace and two-time Hawkeye NCAA champion and four-time all-American Mark Ironside will call the action live on AM-800, KXIC. All dual meets will be broadcast live, as will action from the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. Live audio broadcasts from all competitions and are available online at www.hawkeyesports.com. Broadcasts are available using the Hawkeye All-Access subscription ($9.95 per month or $79.95 per year) or the CSTV XXL Premium subscription ($119.95 yer year).

Internet – Press releases, meet results, audio broadcasts and live video broadcasts from home dual meets are available online at www.hawkeyesports.com. To access live dual scoring for home meets, go to the wrestling schedule page, select the event and click on the Livestats link. Results will be updated after each bout during the dual. Current staff and student-athlete head shots can be found at pics.hawkeyesports.com.

Illinois is 12-3, 4-2 in the Big Ten, and is ranked 11th in the nation in the USA Today/NWCA/Intermat Coaches Poll and 11th by W.I.N. Magazine. The Fighting Illini have wins over Findlay (30-10), McKendree (31-9), Lehigh (28-3), Kent State (19-15), Old Dominion (29-9), Cleveland State (37-0), Liberty (41-0), Ashland (46-0), Penn State (18-15), Wisconsin (24-13), Indiana (23-9) and Minnesota (19-17), and losses to Oklahoma State (12-21), Michigan (16-22) and Northwestern (11-22). Illinois will host Purdue Friday night at 5 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Head Coach Mark Johnson is 189-41-3 in 16 seasons at Illinois and 209-45-5 in 18 seasons as a college head coach. He was a member of the Iowa coaching staff for 11 seasons, serving as an assistant coach from 1983-90 and a graduate assistant from 1980-83. Johnson is assisted by Big Ten alums Jim Heffernan (Iowa, 1987), Carl Perry (Illinois, 2000) and Jeremy Hunter (Penn State, 2001). Heffernan was a four-time all-American and Big Ten champion for the Hawkeyes at 150 (1983, 1985-87). His career win total of 131 ranks seventh in school history.

The Fighting Illini are led by senior Gabe Flores (125), junior Mike Poeta (157) and sophomore Jimmy Kennedy (133). Poeta is ranked second in the country and boasts a 26-2 record. Kennedy and Hawkeye sophomore 133-pounder Daniel Dennis both prepped at Grant High School in Ingleside, IL.

There two marquee match-ups based on the probable starters for Sunday’s dual in Champaign. The individual rankings listed below are the most recent from the NWCA/Intermat/NWMA poll.

125 – #2 Charlie Falck vs. #8 Gabe Flores
Flores handed Falck one of his two season losses at the Midlands Championships in December, pinning him in 4:27 in the championship semifinals. Flores also beat Falck, 9-5, at the 2004 UNI Open. Falck enters the match on a five-match winning streak with a 25-2 record, while Flores has lost his last three matches and is 21-8.

133 – #3 Joe Slaton vs. #7 Jimmy Kennedy
Slaton (23-2) and Kennedy (23-4) are both undefeated in Big Ten dual competition and enter Sunday’s dual on winning streaks. Slaton, who is 7-0 in conference matches, has won his last 11 matches, while Kennedy, who is 6-0 in the Big Ten, is on a nine-match win streak. The pair have a 1-1 record against each other.. Kennedy won the first meeting (3-1) at the 2006 UNI Open, while Slaton won the last meeting (6-0) at the 2007 Midlands championship semifinals.

Iowa was defeated by Illinois, 24-13, Feb. 10, 2006, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The meet started at 197 pounds where Illini senior Tyrone Byrd defeated Hawkeye freshman Dan Erekson, 4-3. At heavyweight, junior Ryan Fuller evened the score by defeating Matt Weight 4-3. The Hawkeyes dropped the next two matches as Kyle Ott pinned Trent Goodale (3:30) and Gabe Flores beat Daniel Dennis by a major decision (10-2).

The Hawkeyes came back strong winning the next three matches. Sophomore Alex Tsirtsis defeated Casio Pero 6-2, Alex Grunder decisioned Troy Tirapelle 9-4, and Joe Johnston beat Dan Zeman by major decision, 14-6. Johnston’s win tied the team score at 13.

The final three matches, and the meet, went the way of the Illini. Eric Luedke fell to Mike Poeta (10-2) at 165, Ben Stedman lost a major decision (9-0) to Donny Reynolds, and in the final match of the night, Paul Bradley lost to Pete Friedl, 4-2.

Illinois 24, Iowa 13
197 – Tyrone Byrd (IL) dec. Dan Erekson (I), 4-3
Hwt. – Ryan Fuller (I) dec. Matt Weight (IL), 4-3
125 – Kyle Ott (IL) pinned Trent Goodale (I), 3:30
133 – Gabe Flores (IL)maj. dec. Daniel Dennis (I), 10-2
141 – Alex Tsirtsis (I) dec. Cassio Pero (IL), 6-2
149 – Alex Grunder (I) dec. Troy Tirapelle (IL), 9-4
157 – Joe Johnston (I) maj. dec. Dan Zeman (IL), 14-6
165 – Mike Poeta (IL) maj. dec. Eric Luedke (I), 10-2
174 – D. Reynolds (IL) maj. dec. Ben Stedman (I), 9-0
184 – Pete Friedl (IL) dec. Paul Bradley (I), 4-2

Following are past career results of potential Iowa-Illinois match-ups:

125 – Charlie Falck vs. Gabe Flores, 0-2
? Flores dec. Falck, 9-5, at 2004 UNI Open
? Flores pinned Falck, 4:27, at 2007 Midlands

133 – Joe Slaton vs. Jimmy Kennedy, 1-1
? Kennedy dec. Slaton, 3-1, at 2006 UNI Open
? Slaton dec. Kennedy, 6-0, at 2007 Midlands

165 – Mark Perry vs. Roger Smith-Bergsrud, 2-0
? Perry maj. dec. Smith-Bergsrud, 12-0, at 2006 Midlands
? Perry pinned Smith-Bergsrud, 2:39, at 2007 Midlands

165 – Jake Kerr vs. Roger Smith-Bergsrud, 0-2
? Smith-Bergsrud dec. Kerr, 3-1, at 2006 Spartan Classic
? Smith-Bergsrud dec. Kerr, 8-5, at 2006 UNI Open

Hwt. – Matt Fields vs. John Wise, 2-1
? Fields maj. dec. Wise, 12-3, at 2005 UNI Open
? Fields dec. Wise, 9-5, at 2006 Spartan Classic
? Wise dec. Fields, 2-1, at 2007 Midlands

Iowa’s overall dual meet record is 827-215-30 (.785) in 96 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 20 national titles and 31 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 48 NCAA champions have won a total of 74 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 13 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 100 Big Ten champions have won a total of 181 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 24 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 130 all-Americans have earned all-America status 266 times, including 16 four-time, 28 three-time and 32 two-time honorees.

Senior 165-pounder Mark Perry has undergone knee surgery. The announcement came Jan. 24 from Head Coach Tom Brands. The Stillwater, OK, native, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is expected to return to the lineup soon. Perry, a three-time all-American, has a career record of 89-15. He currently has a 13-2 record and is ranked first nationally. His nine pins, this season, are best on the team.

Iowa extended its winning streak to 13 matches with victories over Indiana (28-7) and Michigan (20-16) in its final home duals of the season last weekend. Senior Matt Fields (Hwt.), junior Charlie Falck (125) and sophomores Joe Slaton (133), Brent Metcalf (149) and Chad Beatty (197) each picked up two wins on the weekend. Head Coach Tom Brands recorded his 50th career win against Indiana.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead with wins at the first four bouts against the Hoosiers Friday night. Falck brought the crowd of 6,116 to its feet when he upset #2 Angel Escobedo, 4-2, at 125. Falck, who is ranked third in the nation, handed Escobedo (24-1) his first loss of the season. Slaton won his 10th straight match with a 3-2 decision over Andre Hernandez at 133. Sophomore Dan LeClere scored 19 points in the last two periods of his 141-pound match to post a 23-8 technical fall over Scott Kelly, and Metcalf posted a 19-6 major decision over Kurt Kinser. Indiana put points on the board with wins at 157 and 165, but the Hawkeyes shut the Hoosiers out in the final four matches. Sophomore Jay Borschel extended his winning streak to 12 matches with his 11-3 major decision over Trevor Perry at 174. Sophomore Phillip Keddy followed with a 17-5 major decision over Marc Bennett at 184. At 197, sophomore Chad Beatty scored a takedown with 30 seconds left in the match to beat Joe Fagiano, 9-7. Senior Matt Fields closed out the dual at heavyweight with a 7-3 victory over Nate Everhart.

The Hawkeyes scrambled against Michigan with Beatty pulling out a huge 2-1 upset over Anthony Biondo to keep the team win a possibility. Iowa scored bonus points in four of its five wins to secure the 20-16 victory. Major decisions by Falck and Slaton, and a technical fall by Metcalf gave the Hawkeyes a 12-3 lead. Falck picked up his 25th season, 20th dual and fifth-straight win with the victory. Slaton extended his winning streak to 12 matches and remains undefeated in Big Ten duals (7-0). Metcalf picked up his 25th season and career victory, and 20th dual win, while extending his winning streak to 22 matches. He remains undefeated in Big Ten duals (7-0) and in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (7-0). The Wolverines rolled off four-straight wins to take a 16-12 lead with two bouts remaining. The Hawkeyes needed a win at 197 to have a shot at the team victory. Beatty, who lost an 8-0 major decision to Biondo last month at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, scored a takedown as time expired to win, 2-1. Fields made the most of Senior Night and his last match in Carver-Hawkeye Arena by scoring a 20-5 technical fall over Michigan freshman Chad Bleske at heavyweight to secure the team win and score his 85th career victory.

The Hawkeye wrestling staff of Tom Brands, Wes Hand, Doug Schwab and Mike Zadick earned a total of one Olympic gold medal, four NCAA titles, six conference titles and 12 all-America honors. Their combined college career wrestling record is 487-83-2 (.853).

Sophomore Dan LeClere and freshman Nick LeClere from Coggon, IA, are the lone set of brothers on the 2007-08 Hawkeye roster.

There have been 10 sets of brothers to wrestle together in the Hawkeye varsity lineup since the 1950s. They are Don and Tom Huff (1961), Mark and Scott Trizzino (1981), Lenny, Larry and Jim Zalesky (1981-82), Ed and Lou Banach (1981-83), Marty and Lindley Kistler (1984-85), Jim and John Heffernan (1987), Tom and Terry Brands (1989-92), Troy and Terry Steiner (1991-93), Ryan and Randy Fulsaas (2001) and Luke and Ty Eustice (2003-04).

There have also been five sets of twins to wrestle at Iowa. They are Ed and Lou Banach, Tom and Terry Brands, Ben and Brett Stedman, Troy and Terry Steiner and Randy and Ryan Fulsaas.

The 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships are scheduled for Mar. 20-22 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. The Scottrade Center was the site for the national wrestling tournament in 2000, 2004 and 2005, and will also host the event in 2009. The NCAA, University of Missouri and the St. Louis Sports Commission will co-host the event.

Sessions I (11 a.m.) and II (6:30 p.m.) will be held Mar. 20, Sessions III (10 a.m. and IV (6 p.m.) will be Mar. 21, and Session V (10 a.m.) and the championship finals (7:30 p.m.) are set for Mar. 22.

Tickets to the event are available at (866) 646-8849 or ticketmaster.com. All-session tickets are priced based on seat location. The price breakdown is as follows: Plaza – $150, Mezzanine Center & Mezzanine Corner (1st 2 rows) – $120, Mezzanine Corner & Mezzanine End (1st 2 rows) – $95, Mezzanine End – $60.

Top-ranked Iowa will try for its 32nd conference title at the 2008 Big Ten Championships Mar. 8-9 in Minneapolis, MN.

The tournament will feature a three-session format and will be held at Williams Arena. Saturday’s competition will feature the Session 1 preliminary matches 11 a.m. and Session 2 championship and consolation matches at 6 p.m. The Session 3 championship matches will start at noon Sunday. Sessions 1 and 2 will feature four mats, while Session 3 will have three.

All-session tickets are $30 and are available at gophersports.com, at the Minnesota athletics ticket office in Mariucci Arena or by calling 800-846-7437 or 612-624-8080. Single-session tickets, if available, will go on sale Mar. 3.

The Big Ten Championships serve as an NCAA qualifying tournament. The Big Ten is allotted 72 qualifiers for the national meet. The top seven placewinners in each weight class will automatically advance to the national tournament. Big Ten coaches will select two additional wild card qualifiers after the meet.

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