Telford Off to Dominant Start

Nov. 20, 2013

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 — The ultimate goal, whether something as big as winning the Dan Hodge Trophy or something as little as keeping a teammate quiet, is insignificant: the fact is, University of Iowa heavyweight wrestler Bobby Telford is on a roll.

A five falls in five matches roll.

On Nov. 16 at the Luther Open in Decorah, Iowa, Telford pinned his first four opponents in 43, 41, 49, and 37 seconds before having to actually break a sweat while pinning Wartburg’s Ryan Fank in 4:42.

“That’s the whole point of wrestling, it’s to pin people,” Telford said. “It’s not to major people, it’s not to tech them, or to win by the seat of your pants, it’s to pin them.”

Telford is on an eight-match winning streak, second on the team to defending NCAA champion Derek St. John, who has won 12 consecutive matches at 157 pounds. He is one of nine Hawkeyes with five victories, but the only one with five falls. It has sparked a competition in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex between Telford, 133-pounder Tony Ramos, and 174-pounder Mike Evans, to see who can record the most pins this season.

“That’s the whole point of wrestling, it’s to pin people. It’s not to major people, it’s not to tech them, or to win by the seat of your pants, it’s to pin them.”
Bobby Telford
UI heavyweight wrestler

“I don’t know if it is just Ramos chit-chatting like always, he always wants to stir up something,” Telford said. “I ended up with five pins and Ramos had something to say about how he only had three. It’s a fun little competition. It was a tournament where you could get falls.”

UI head coach Tom Brands caught wind of the rivalry and smiles.

“You’re undefeated and you have a lot of falls, you’re winning the Hodge Trophy,” Brands said. “That’s a good accolade to have on your credential list.”

The last Hawkeye to win that award was Brent Metcalf in 2008; Mark Ironside earned the honor in 1998.

“This is funny little stuff,” Telford said. “You look at the big picture, it’s not about pins at the Luther tournament, it’s about who wrestles the way we’re supposed to wrestle every time.”

In Telford’s case, it isn’t as much about earning team bonus points against Division III competition as it is against, say, Minnesota and Northwestern.

“These guys are talking about pinning, so that’s good,” Brands said. “Now let’s keep doing it as the competition gets a little tougher and have it carry over to the big dual meets. Those bonus points and that domination is big for a lot of different reasons — you’re putting your opponents away before you step on the mat because of the way you wrestle. There is a fear you’re putting in the future, that’s what we want to do.”

The Hawkeyes compete for the first time on Mediacom Mat in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 22 when they host Baker (10 a.m. CT), Iowa Central (noon) and Cornell College (2 p.m.). Telford says it is the biggest date on the schedule because it is the next date on the schedule. But whatever you do, don’t call it a grind.

“It’s not a grind for us, it’s a grind for our opponents,” said Telford, who looks to add to his 54-15 career record. “That’s what sets us apart; this isn’t work for me to come here every day. It’s not this thing I don’t look forward to, it’s something I need in my life and it has made me who I am. I’m addicted to it. It’s not a drug, it’s not drinking, it’s wrestling, and that’s what I need.”

And it is extra special for Telford to be King of the Mountain, or the best at any contest, as long as he has bragging rights in the wrestling room.

“Anything I can beat Ramos in, I don’t care if it’s tic-tac-toe, because it will shut him up for about 20 seconds,” Telford said. “If he wants to get cocky again, (I will remind him) I hit a grand slam into a fire pit on Fourth of July two years ago and won the Wiffle Ball championship — anything to keep him shut up for a little bit feels good.”

It feels about as good as winning a wrestling match by fall.