Jan. 6, 2012
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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 — There have been a lot of W’s for the University of Iowa wrestling program since Jan. 5, 2008. That’s the last time the Hawkeyes lost a dual meet — 19-14 — at home, to Oklahoma State.
Since then, Iowa has gone 82-0-1. A win tonight at Indiana would equal the NCAA record of 84 consecutive dual meets without a loss. It is a record held by Oklahoma State from 1959-66. The Cowboys’ streak began with an 18-9 win against Iowa on Feb. 20, 1959, and ended with a 17-12 loss at Oklahoma on Feb. 12, 1966. There were two ties in between: 18-18 at Northern Colorado on Jan. 24, 1963, and 12-12 at Iowa State on Jan. 24, 1964.
Coaching Oklahoma State at the time was Myron Roderick, who passed away at the age of 77 on Dec. 28.
There will be ample talk about “the streak”, but most of it will occur outside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. UI head coach Tom Brands said the only time he has referenced it was in the offseason.
“The last time I mentioned it was last summer, pointing out (to the wrestlers) there is a reason why you have a streak, and that’s because you guys are doing a good job and you have to keep doing a good job,” Brands said. “It’s not important for me. What’s important for me is we have 12 to 15,000 fans, and we have to put on a good show. We have to get our guys to realize the job is to wrestle in an entertaining, dominating way, and then good things will happen.”
“The last time I mentioned it was last summer, pointing out (to the wrestlers) there is a reason why you have a streak, and that’s because you guys are doing a good job and you have to keep doing a good job. It’s not important for me. What’s important for me is we have 12 to 15,000 fans, and we have to put on a good show. We have to get our guys to realize the job is to wrestle in an entertaining, dominating way, and then good things will happen.”
UI head wrestling coach
Team rankings became jumbled after the holidays. Iowa (6-0) is ranked No. 1 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, No. 2 by W.I.N., and tied for second (with Oklahoma State) by InterMat. The Cowboys enter Saturday’s dual with a record of 5-0.
“It’s always a big meet, a big rivalry,” UI junior 125-pounder Matt McDonough said. “There will be a lot of tough matches, and we’re going to have to get after it if we want to come out alive.”
One of the more interesting bouts will be at 133 pounds where defending national champion Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State takes on Iowa’s Tony Ramos. Oliver is 10-0 with 10 falls this season; Ramos is 15-1, with his lone loss coming in the finals of the Midlands Championships, 6-4 in overtime, to Devin Carter of Virginia Tech.
“I’m excited to wrestle him, and I’m excited to get back on the mat as quickly as I can,” Ramos said. “My last match was a loss and that’s something you don’t want to end on. I’m excited to get out there and prove that I’m still the best in the country at 133 pounds. Everyone says (Oliver) is the best, and everyone says he’s unbeatable; I have to beat everyone to prove I’m the best.”
This dual has historically had its share of unexpected results, for example, the 165-pound match in 2008. Mark Perry of the Hawkeyes (the eventual national champion at that weight) was coming off a Midlands title, where he won by major decision in the finals and compiled four falls during the two-day tournament. But just six days after a dominating performance at Midlands, Perry was upset by Oklahoma State’s Jake Diffenbach, 5-3, which proved to be the difference in the outcome. On a side note, Perry is the nephew of Cowboys head coach John Smith, and Perry’s younger brother, Chris, currently wrestles at 174 for Oklahoma State.
Because of the Big Ten Conference’s nine-dual schedule, the Iowa-Oklahoma State dual doesn’t fall at a favorable time for the Hawkeyes. They have a league dual — on the road — the night before in Bloomington, Ind., while Oklahoma State has had six days off after defeating Wyoming, 24-17, on New Year’s Day.
“You’re not going to have a schedule without wrestling Oklahoma State,” Brands said. “Besides, we did it in the old days.”
Winning streak or not, Brands says the Hawkeyes approach every match the same way.
“We try to win every event every time, and that’s not going to change,” Brands said. “If you don’t have a streak, you still approach it the same way. You get ready to wrestle when it’s time to wrestle, and when you get ready, good things happen.”
The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers tangle in University Gym on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. (CT). Iowa and Oklahoma State are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Both weekend duals will be broadcast on AM-800 KXIC and streamed online at hawkeyesports.com, via Hawkeye All-Access. The Oklahoma State dual will be televised live by IPTV.