Falck opens NCAAs in a major way

March 19, 2009

NCAA Wrestling Session I Photo Gallery

Follow the action: ESPN360.com

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — If there is an eventual celebration in store for the University of Iowa wrestling team at the end of the three-day NCAA championship, Hawkeye fans will be able to look back and say that it was all started by 125-pound senior Charlie Falck.

Falck was the first UI wrestler to take the mat Thursday morning inside the Scottrade Center and he thoroughly whipped Derek Reber of Bucknell, 11-3. Falck also won the only other meeting, 9-3, on Jan. 30 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I felt good. It’s good to get that first match out of the way,” said Falck, who improved to 23-4 on the season with his 22nd career major decision. “Everything is going good, I feel good and I expect good things.”

Falk, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, wasted little time in taking Reber down and dominating the entire seven minutes. The victory sends Falck into the second round against No. 12-seeded Anthony Robles of Arizona State when action resumes this evening at 6:30 p.m. Robles was a 5-0 winner of Nikko Triggas of Ohio State. Falck is 2-0 lifetime against Robles, winning 8-6 last season and 2-1 on Nov. 21.

“He’s difficult to wrestle, but that’s fine,” Falck said. “I’m going to try to force my offense on him.”

University of Iowa head coach Tom Brands liked what he saw from Falck’s opening bout.

“He looked strong and we just have to keep getting better through the tournament,” Brands said. “That was a rematch from earlier in the year — his (third) match after an injury, so he’s obviously made improvement.”

Iowa sits in second place with 22 points after the first round, three points behind Iowa State. The Hawkeyes won 7 of 9 first-round matches.

“We did OK,” Brands said. “What are we, seven for nine? Not great, not good, it’s OK. (Alex) Tsirtsis and (Chad) Beatty are on the back side, so we’re in good shape.”

Tsirtsis, the No. 4 seed, was upset by Alex Krom of Maryland, 5-4, and will now face Vincent Ramirez of North Carolina at 141 pounds. Beatty nearly pulled off the upset of No. 8 Clayton Foster of Oklahoma State before falling, 8-5, at 197. Beatty will now wrestle Eastern Michigan’s John McClure.