Big Test to Open B1G Mat Season

Jan. 3, 2013

Weekly Release

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 — University of Iowa 133-pound wrestler Tony Ramos does not care for nemesis Logan Stieber of Ohio State.

But he feels the same about everyone who doesn’t compete for the Hawkeyes.

“I don’t know how he feels about me, but I don’t like anyone that is at my weight, and I don’t like anyone from a different team,” Ramos said. “Yes, there is respect, but do I like him? No. I’m going to go out there and try and put my will on him and break him, so that’s the relationship I see between us.”

Stieber and Ramos meet for a fourth time as collegians Friday when No. 5 Iowa hosts No. 4 Ohio State on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Stieber is a redshirt sophomore who won the NCAA championship a year ago. In the process, he defeated Ramos three times: 7-0 in a dual, 5-2 in the Big Ten Conference finals, and 4-2 in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships.

Stieber, ranked No. 1 at 133, has won 24 matches in a row; Ramos, ranked No. 2, has won 12 matches in a row, but that streak is 28 against everyone not named Logan Stieber. Ramos is undefeated in 19 matches in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“He’s a competitor, he’s a gamer,” Ramos said of Stieber. “One little thing you do wrong could change the outcome of the match, so you have to be prepared in every position. You have to wrestle solid, and you have to get your offense going.”

This season Stieber is 15-0 with eight falls and bonus points in every match; Ramos, a junior who placed third at nationals in 2012, is 10-0 with five falls and five major decisions. They share two common opponents in the pre-Big Ten season: both pinned Erik Galloway of Buffalo; Stieber won by technical fall against Jamie Franco of Hofstra, Ramos downed Franco by 14-4 major decision.

“(Ramos) is going to have to be consistent for seven minutes,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “He is going to have to put together some good things he has done in three matches prior and put them all together and keep doing those things for seven minutes in all positions. Is it easy against Logan Stieber? No.”

Ramos and Stieber have a long history. The last victory by Ramos came in 2009 at the FILA Junior World Team Trials.

“We know what we bring to the table, and any way you look at it, it is going to be a fight,” Ramos said. “Whoever wants it more is going to get it.”

Brands calls Friday’s conference-opening dual a “good gauge” for where the Hawkeyes sit in early January. Iowa owns a 36-3 edge in the all-time series with the Buckeyes, but a 21-9 loss last January in Columbus isn’t sitting well with anyone in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. Brands says Ohio State is a team coming in for blood.

“We learned that you have to be ready to go in adverse situations, just like we have learned in other enemy arenas,” Brands said of the loss to the Buckeyes in 2012. “It’s not a good lesson to learn that way. It would be better to learn from decades ago and then talk about it. Ohio State was ready and they won seven matches.”

The dual between Ohio State (6-0 in duals) and Iowa (10-0) features 18 wrestlers ranked in at least one of three national polls. It is scheduled to begin at 7:04 p.m. (CT).

“The intensity is up, it’s on television, they’re fourth, we’re fifth, we have something to prove because they beat us last year,” Ramos said. “We need to go out and right the wrongs and be prepared to wrestle hard every match.”