Big Ten Opener For Wrestlers

Jan. 20, 2009

Top-ranked Iowa (15-0) will open the 2009 Big Ten season when it hosts #15/13 Wisconsin (6-3) Friday at 7 p.m. and #7/15 Illinois (7-0) Sunday at 5 p.m. The Big Ten Network will air a live broadcast of the Iowa-Illinois dual. The Iowa-Illinois dual has been designated a “Be Bold, Wear Gold” event. The first 1,000 fans to the Iowa-Wisconsin dual will receive a free Hawkeye keychain.

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 and Broadcasts are available using the Hawkeye All-Access subscription ($14.95 per month or $119.95 per year).

Television – The Iowa-Illinois dual will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. Tim Johnson and Jim Gibbons will call the action.

Internet – Live results and video broadcasts from both duals will be available at The live results are free and the video broadcasts are available using the Hawkeye All-Access subscription ($14.95 per month or $119.95 per year). Current staff and student-athlete head shots can be found at

The 2009 Iowa Wrestling Youth Clinic will be held before the Iowa-Illinois dual meet Sunday at 3 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Youth, ages eighth grade and younger, are invited to participate in the annual free clinic put on by members of the University of Iowa wrestling coaching staff. Participants will receive a free ticket at the ticket office window to the Iowa-Illinois dual and a complimentary clinic t-shirt. Friends and family members will be able to purchase their ticket into the dual at this time as well. Check-in will start at 2:30 p.m. at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena north entrance.

Wisconsin is 6-3 with wins over Virginia (25-15), North Carolina (27-8), North Carolina State (20-15), Oregon State (24-13), Northern Iowa (36-9) and Indiana (19-15), and losses to Iowa State (7-27), Boise State (12-24) and Minnesota (15-22). The Badgers are ranked 13th by W.I.N. Magazine and 15th in the USA Today/NWCA/Intermat coaches poll.

Head Coach Barry Davis is 161-103-10 in 15 seasons at Wisconsin. During his tenure, he has coached two NCAA Champions, 10 Big Ten Champions and 17 all-Americans. The 1985 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, Davis was a four-time all-American and Big Ten Champion, and three-time NCAA Champion at 118 and 126 pounds for Iowa (1981-85). A two-time Olympian, he holds Iowa records for most wins in a season (46) and career (162). He served as a graduate assistant for the Hawkeyes for two seasons (1986-87) and an assistant coach for five (1988-92).

Davis is married to the former Nan Doak, who was Iowa’s first NCAA women’s track and field champion. She won the NCAA 10,000 meters in 1985, earning a total of nine all-America honors in cross country and track for the Hawkeyes. A three-time Big Ten champion and native of Hedrick, IA, she still holds the Iowa outdoor 5,000-meter record of 15:45.84.

Davis is assisted by Bart Chelesvig (Iowa, 1992), Donny Pritzlaff (Wisconsin, 2002) and Cory Wallman (Wisconsin, 1999). Chelesvig was a three-time all-American at 167 and 177 for the Hawkeyes (1988-92). Chelesvig and Hawkeye coaches Tom and Terry Brands wrestled together during the 1990-92 seasons, helping the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten and two NCAA team titles. Davis was an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes during those seasons.

Wisconsin is led by seniors Zach Tanelli (141), Dallas Herbst (197) and Kyle Massey (Hwt), and junior Kyle Ruschell (149). Tanelli, who beat Hawkeye senior Alex Tsirtis in the 2008 Midlands finals (10-3), is 16-3 this season and has won his last nine matches. Herbst is 12-2, and is ranked third or fourth in the nation. Ruschell has a record of 17-4, while Massey is 15-5.

Illinois is 7-0 with wins over North Carolina State (40-7), Virginia (39-7), North Carolina (26-9), Findlay (32-6), McKendree (39-9), West Virginia (26-19) and Pittsburgh (26-10). The Fighting Illini are ranked seventh in the USA Today/NWCA/Intermat coaches poll and 15th by W.I.N. Magazine.

Head Coach Mark Johnson is 197-42-3 in 17 years at Illinois and has a 217-46-5 mark in 19 years as a collegiate 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. During his tenure Iowa won seven NCAA and 11 Big Ten titles.

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 pounds (1983, 1985-87). His career win total of 131 ranks seventh in school history.

The Fighting Illini are led by junior Jimmy Kennedy (133) and seniors Mike Poeta (157) and John Wise (Hwt.). Kennedy, who was a high school teammate of Hawkeye junior Daniel Dennis at Grant High School in Ingelside, IL, is ranked between second and fourth in the nation with an 18-1 record. Dennis handed the Fighting Illini all-American his lone loss (5-3, SV-2) at the 2008 Midlands in December. Poeta, a two-time all-American and the defending Big Ten champion, made his season debut in January after missing the first five weeks of the season due to a knee injury. He is ranked either first or second in the nation. Wise is ranked between seventh and 10th nationally, and has an 11-4 mark.

Wisconsin – Iowa leads the series, 71-8-3, and has a 36-4-1 mark in Iowa City. Iowa’s last win in the series was 22-20 at Madison in 2008. Wisconsin’s last win in the series was 21-14 in Iowa City in 2007. The Hawkeyes have won 33 of the last 34 meetings. Iowa Head Coach Tom Brands is 1-1 against Wisconsin. Badger Head Coach Barry Davis is 1-14 against the Hawkeyes, picking up his only win (21-14) in 2007.

Illinois – Iowa leads the series, 44-26-1, and holds a 20-9-1 lead in Iowa City. Iowa’s last win in the series was 21-12 in Champaign in 2008. Illinois’ last win in the series was 24-13 at Iowa City in 2006. Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands is 1-0 against Illinois, while Fighting Illini Head Coach Mark Johnson is 3-6 against the Hawkeyes.

There are six marquee match-ups based on the probable starters for this weekend’s duals in Iowa City. The individual rankings listed below are the most recent from the NWCA/Intermat/NWCA poll.

Iowa vs. Wisconsin
141 – #1 Alex Tsirtsis vs. #3 Zach Tanelli
Tanelli won the first career meeting between the two – a 10-3 decision in the championship final of the 2008 Midlands. Tsirtsis has been looking for a rematch. Tsirtsis held a 3-2 lead early in the third period of his match. He took a brief injury timeout after colliding with Tanelli during an offensive flurry. After the timeout, Tanelli scored a takedown, rolled off two three-point nearfalls and secured the riding time point to win 10-3. That match is Tsirtsis’ only loss (16-1) of the season, and he brings a five-match winning streak to the dual. Tanelli is 16-3 and currently riding his own nine-match winning streak.

149 – #1 Brent Metcalf vs. #6 Kyle Ruschell
Metcalf owned the first meeting between the two – a 14-5 major decision in the championship final of the 2008 Midlands. The Hawkeye junior is 20-0 with a 52-match winning streak. Ruschell is 17-4 this season.

165 – #3 Ryan Morningstar vs. #9 Andrew Howe
This will be the first meeting between Morningstar and Howe. The Hawkeye junior brings a 18-2 record to the dual, while Howe is 14-4.

Hwt – #12 Dan Erekson vs. #7 Kyle Massey
This will be the first meeting between Erekson and Massey. The Hawkeye junior brings a 14-5 record to the dual, while Massey has a season record of 15-5.

Iowa vs. Illinois
133 – #5 Daniel Dennis vs. #3 Jimmy Kennedy
Dennis and Kennedy are no strangers on the wrestling mat. The duo both attended Grant High School in Ingelside, IL. In their only collegiate meeting, Dennis posted a 5-3 win in the second sudden victory period in the championship semifinals of the 2008 Midlands. Dennis is 16-2 this season and handed Kennedy (18-1) his only season loss.

Hwt – #12 Dan Erekson vs. #10 John Wise
This will be the first meeting between Erekson and Wise. The Hawkeye junior brings a 14-5 record to the dual, while Wise has a season record of 11-4.

Iowa has won its last 29 duals, and its last 25 duals away from Iowa City. The school record for overall consecutive dual wins is 42 (1994-97), and for consecutive away dual wins is 31 (1994-97). The 25 straight away duals rank second best in school history. Hawkeye junior Brent Metcalf (149) also has a winning streak of his own, winning his last 52 bouts.

Top-ranked Iowa used bonus points to defeat #13/#15 Wisconsin, 22-20, Feb. 3 at Madison, WI. Each team won five matches, but the Hawkeyes used pins from sophomores Brent Metcalf (149) and Phillip Keddy (184) and a major decision by sophomore Jay Borschel (174) to win their ninth-straight dual. Head Coach Tom Brands picked up his 30th win at Iowa and his 10th in the Big Ten, as Iowa improved to 16-1, 5-0 Big Ten. Wisconsin fell to 11-3-1, 2-2.

Iowa opened the dual with back-to-back decisions from junior Charlie Falck (125) and sophomore Joe Slaton (133). Wisconsin put its first points on the board at 141 when #7 Kyle Ruschell scored seven points in the third period to beat Hawkeye sophomore Dan LeClere, 8-0. Metcalf extended Iowa’s lead to 12-4 with his 4:02 pin of Trevor Bowers at 149. Wisconsin fought back within one (12-11) on Craig Henning’s 2-1 win over Ryan Morningstar at 157 and Jake Donar’s 13-1 major decision over redshirt freshman Aaron Janssen at 165. Borschel and Keddy’s bonus point wins gave the Hawkeyes a 22-11 lead, but the Badgers weren’t finished. Wisconsin scored a pin of its own at 197 and junior heavyweight Kyle Massey upset Hawkeye senior Matt Fields, 6-5, in the afternoon’s final bout.

Iowa 22, Wisconsin 20
125 – Charlie Falck (I) dec. Collin Cudd (W), 6-1
133 – Joe Slaton (I) dec. Zach Tanelli (W), 3-1
141 – Kyle Ruschell (W) maj. dec. Dan LeClere (I), 8-0
149 – Brent Metcalf (I) pinned Trevor Bowers (W), 4:02
157 – Craig Henning (W) dec. Ryan Morningstar (I), 2-1
165 – Jake Donar (W) maj. dec. Aaron Janssen (I), 13-1
174 – Jay Borschel (I) maj. dec. Justin Peterson (W), 15-7
184 – Phillip Keddy (I) pinned Eric Bugenhagen (W), 3:00
197 – Dallas Herbst (W) pinned Chad Beatty (I), 0:41
Hwt. – Kyle Massey (W) dec. Matt Fields (I), 6-5

The top-ranked Hawkeyes won their final dual of the 2007-08 season, defeating #11 Illinois 21-12 in Champaign. The Hawkeyes earned the Big Ten regular season title outright with the win, going 8-0 in conference competition. Iowa ended the dual meet season on a 14-match winning streak and posted a 21-1 record. Illinois fell to 13-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten.

Iowa opened the dual at 125 pounds with junior Charlie Falck beating senior Gabe Flores, 6-4 in sudden victory. Falck, who was 0-2 against Flores in his career, trailed 4-2 in the third period, but scored a takedown with 15 seconds left in regulation to force the match to sudden victory. He scored the winning takedown with 37 seconds left in sudden victory to post his sixth-straight win and improve to 26-2.

The Hawkeyes were on the losing end of the other marquee match-up of the day. Iowa sophomore Joe Slaton (23-2) and Illinois sophomore Jimmy Kennedy (23-4) both entered the dual with undefeated Big Ten records and significant winning streaks at 133. Kennedy posted the 8-4 win, handing Slaton his first Big Ten loss and snapping his 11-match winning streak.

Iowa responded with wins at 141 and 149 to take an 11-3 lead. Hawkeye sophomore Dan LeClere (141) posted his 20th season and career win when he beat Illinois freshman Ryan Prater, 6-5. Iowa sophomore Brent Metcalf dominated redshirt freshman Joey Kotowski at 149, scoring an 18-3 technical fall in 4:56. Metcalf is 8-0 in Big Ten duals and on a 23-match win streak.

Illinois followed with decisions at 157 and 165 to tighten the team score at 11-9, but a major decision from Iowa sophomore Jay Borschel at 174 and a decision by Hawkeye sophomore Phillip Keddy at 184 gave Iowa an 18-9 lead with two bouts remaining. Borschel picked up his 20th dual win, while Keddy scored his 35th career victory.

Illinois sophomore Patrick Bond gave Illinois a chance at the team win when he scored a takedown in the first tiebreak period to beat Hawkeye sophomore Chad Beatty, 7-5, at 197. Hawkeye senior heavyweight Matt Fields ended the dual with his 7-5 win in sudden victory over Illinois junior John Wise. Fields trailed Wise, 3-1, after two periods, but tallied an escape, a takedown and a stalling point in the third period to tie the match at 5-5. Fields scored a quick takedown in sudden victory to win, 7-5, and post his 20th dual win of the season.

Iowa 21, Illinois 12
125 – Charlie Falck (I) dec. Gabe Flores (IL), 6-4 SV
133 – Jimmy Kennedy (IL) dec. Joe Slaton (I), 8-4
141 – Dan LeClere (I) dec. Ryan Prater (IL), 6-5
149 – Brent Metcalf (I) tech. fall J. Kotowski (IL), 18-3 in 4:56
157 – Mike Poeta (IL) dec. Ryan Morningstar (I), 6-2
165 – Roger Smith-Bergsrud (IL) dec. Jake Kerr (I), 3-2
174 – Jay Borschel (I) maj. dec. John Dergo (IL), 10-2
184 – Phillip Keddy (I) dec. Ben Friedl (IL), 9-3
197 – Patrick Bond (IL) dec. Chad Beatty (I), 7-5 TB
Hwt. – Matt Fields (I) dec. John Wise (IL), 7-5 SV

Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands made his 50th win at Iowa extra sweet with a 20-13 victory at Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon in Stillwater, OK. A crowd of 4,159 saw the Hawkeye victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The win snapped the Cowboys’ nine-match winning streak in the series and was Iowa’s first in Stillwater since 1996. It was also Brands’ first win over Oklahoma State since he took the Hawkeye helm. Iowa improved to 15-0 on the season, picking up their 29th straight win. Oklahoma State fell to 11-4 with the loss.

The Cowboys put the first points on the board at 125 with senior Obenson Blanc’s 6-2 win over Hawkeye redshirt freshman J.J. Krutsinger. Krutsinger was wrestling for injured Hawkeye starter Charlie Falck. Iowa rolled off wins at the next three weights to take an 11-3 lead and never looked back. Iowa junior Daniel Dennis started the streak at 133 with his 3-2 win over junior Chris Notte. Hawkeye senior Alex Tsirtsis posted his 85th career victory and his fifth-straight win at 141 with a 4-1 victory over redshirt freshman Jamal Parks. Tsirtsis also remains undefeated at 13-0 in dual competition. Iowa junior Brent Metcalf posted his 52nd straight win with a 23-6 technical fall in 5:47 over Luke Silver at 149. Metcalf, who scored Iowa’s only team bonus points on the afternoon, is now 20-0 this season.

Oklahoma State won a decision at 157 when sophomore Neil Erisman posted a 4-1 victory over Hawkeye sophomore Matt Ballweg, but three Iowa juniors followed with decisions to seal the team win. At 165, Ryan Morningstar scored nearfall points in the second period to beat Shenandoah, IA, native Brandon Mason, 3-1. Jay Borschel fought off a last second takedown attempt by Cowboy senior Newly McSpadden to gain a 3-2 win at 174. Phillip Keddy posted his fifth straight win with a 12-7 decision over sophomore Cody Hill at 184 to remain undefeated (15-0) in dual competition.

The Cowboys won the final two bouts, but it wasn’t enough for the team win. Senior Clayton Foster scored a 9-1 major decision over Hawkeye redshirt freshman Brodie Ambrose, who was wrestling for injured starter Chad Beatty, at 197. Hawkeye heavyweight Dan Erekson put up a fight against top-ranked junior Jared Rosholt in the final match, but lost, 9-5.

Iowa 20, Oklahoma State 13
125 – Obenson Blanc (OSU) dec. J.J. Krutsinger (I), 6-2
133 – Daniel Dennis (I) dec. Chris Notte (OSU), 3-2
141 – Alex Tsirtsis (I) dec. Jamal Parks (OSU), 4-1
149 – Brent Metcalf (I) tech. fall Luke Silver (OSU), 23-6 in 5:47
157 – Neil Erisman (OSU) dec. Matt Ballweg (I), 4-1
165 – Ryan Morningstar (I) dec. Brandon Mason (OSU), 3-1
174 – Jay Borschel (I) dec. Newly McSpadden (OSU), 3-2
184 – Phillip Keddy (I) dec. Cody Hill (OSU), 12-7
197 – Clayton Foster (OSU) maj. dec. Brodie Ambrose (I), 9-1
Hwt. – Jared Rosholt (OSU) dec. Dan Erekson (I), 9-5

Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been the home of Iowa wrestling since 1983. The Hawkeyes are 164-18 (.90) 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 15,955, set when Iowa defeated Iowa State (20-15) on December 6, 2008. The arena seats 15,500 for a dual wrestling meet.

Iowa set the national collegiate dual meet attendance record of 15,955 when it hosted #2 Iowa State Dec. 6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The previous record of 15,646 was set Feb. 1, 2002, when Minnesota hosted Iowa at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes won the Iowa State dual, 20-15.

Tickets for Iowa’s five remaining home duals are on sale at the UI Athletic Ticket Office at 800-464-2957, 319-335-9327 or

Against Wisconsin, Illinois, Bucknell and Purdue, tickets purchased in advance are $10 for adults and $5 for youth. Tickets purchased at the meet are $12 for adults, $6 for youth. University of Iowa students and children ages five and under will be admitted free.

Against Minnesota, tickets purchased in advance are $13 for adults, $7 for youth and $2 for children ages five and under. Tickets purchased at the meet are $15 for adults, $8 for youth and $2 for children ages five and under. Due to the possibility of a sellout crowd, the first 1,000 general admission University of Iowa students will be admitted free of charge after they log-in to their student account at to reserve a seat and download a free paper ticket. After that allotment is sold out, students may purchase reserved seats at the youth price.

After 15 years at the First Avenue Club, the post-meet H.A.W.K. club parties will have a new location for the 2008-09 season. All parties will be held on the second floor of Kinnick Stadium’s Brechler Pressbox. Using the Gate D entrance, take one of the elevators to the second floor, take a left out of the elevator and another left at the hallway. The party dates are as follows: Jan. 23 (Wisconsin), Jan. 30 (Bucknell) and Feb. 15 (Minnesota).

Top-ranked Iowa (15-0) will host Bucknell (7-6, 2-2 EIWA) Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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