It's a New Day for Lofthouse, Hawkeyes

Dec. 1, 2010

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the University of Iowa and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!

Editor’s Note:The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Luke Lofthouse was a University of Iowa freshman the last time the Hawkeyes dropped a wrestling dual to rival Iowa State. That was Dec. 5, 2004. More than a bump from 174 to 197 pounds has changed in Lofthouse’s life since that Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

He is married. He served a two-year Mormon mission in Africa. He has competed for two different Iowa head wrestling coaches.

“I remember quite a bit,” Lofthouse said about his first Iowa-Iowa State experience. “That was my first real match in Carver, a big crowd. They drew my weight first. I started off kind of slow and I was in a hole and toward the end I was fighting to get in the match. I waited too long, I guess.”

He lost to Nick Passolano, 12-8.

After that season, Lofthouse completed a mission in Zimbabwe, where he taught the gospel and did service work in fields. Back in 2004, Lofthouse competed for coach Jim Zalesky; now the head Hawkeye is Tom Brands.

On Friday, Lofthouse hopes to make another change: win for the first time in four tries in the most prominent dual meet in college wrestling. No. 8 Iowa (4-0) hosts No. 21 Iowa State (4-0) in the sixth leg of the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series on Dec. 3, beginning at 7 p.m. The three-time defending NCAA champion Hawkeyes have won six straight against Iowa State, including twice last season by scores of 18-16 (dual in Ames) and 19-12 (at national duals in Cedar Falls). Iowa has won 65 consecutive duals and 29 in a row at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It doesn’t matter what we’re ranked or what they’re ranked, it’s Iowa-Iowa State,” Brands said. “This is a good test, big crowd, big event, big stage. This is really our first test of the year and we’re going to find out what happens on a big stage.”

Lofthouse has not enjoyed as much individual success against the Cyclones. In 2004, when Iowa State won the dual, 19-16, Lofthouse dropped the four-point decision at 174. He then lost twice to Cyclone national champion Jake Varner at 197 — 13-3 in 2008 and 7-1 in 2010. With a 32-32 career record, including a 4-0 mark this season, Lofthouse will face either junior Jerome Ward or junior Phil Hawes on Friday. Ward is rated No. 12 by InterMat; Lofthouse is rated 13th.

“It’s a new day, we can’t focus on the past,” Lofthouse said. “I’m a different guy as well. I’m wrestling better, I feel better, I’m more confident. To compare me from this year to last year, there’s a huge change.”

Brands says Lofthouse’s leadership is felt more than it is heard in the temporary wrestling room in the North Gymnasium of the Field House.

“He’s a workaholic, he lives his life right,” Brands said. “You can look at him and say, `There’s an example of how you work to get better every day.’ You add to that his approach and competitiveness; all that makes a pretty tough guy.”

The final go-around for Lofthouse has begun with two victories by major decision, one by technical fall and one by fall.

“There have been good things, there have been bad things,” Lofthouse said of his performances during the month of November. “There’s still room for improvement. There are a lot of points left on the mat and a lot of opportunities to score more points. It’s been good so far, but it can get better as well.”

A win against the Cyclones would be a good start.


Jan. 10, 2010 W, 19-12
Dec. 6, 2009 W, 18-16
Dec. 6, 2008 W, 20-15
Dec. 9, 2007 W, 20-13
Dec. 3, 2006 W, 24-6
Dec. 2, 2005 W, 20-15
Dec. 5, 2004 L, 19-16