Match Notes: Midlands Championships

Dec. 27, 2013

Weekly Release

The University of Iowa wrestling team competes at the 51st annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Sunday and Monday in Evanston, Ill. Welsh-Ryan Arena will host the two-day event.

Tickets can be purchased from the Northwestern University Athletic Ticket Office at 800-GO-PURPLE or online at All-session passes start at $50 for reserved seats, $40 for students and adult general admission. Single session general admission seats are also available for purchase.

9:30 a.m. Session I ($10/$8)
7 p.m. Session II ($12/$9)
12 p.m. Session III ($13/$10)
8 p.m. Session IV ($15/$12)
(Single Session – Adult/Student)

Iowa has won the most team titles (22) in the 50 years of Midlands history. The Hawkeyes won their first team title in 1974, and proceeded to win nine of the next 11. Iowa also won team titles in 1990, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Other team winners include Iowa State (8), Illinois (4), Michigan State (3), Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club (3), Michigan (2), Arizona State (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), North Carolina (1) and Oklahoma State (1). Team scores were not kept at four tournaments (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995).

Seven former Hawkeyes are enshrined in the Midlands Hall of Fame. They include Ed Banach, Chris Campbell, Steve Combs, Tim Cysewski, Barry Davis, Randy Lewis and Chuck Yagla. Former Hawkeye Head Coach Dan Gable is also a Midlands Hall of Fame member.

Seven former Hawkeyes earned the Art Kraft Champion of Champions Award, while nine were named the Dan Gable Outstanding Wrestler. The Art Kraft Champion of Champions include Lenny Zalesky (1980), Jim Zalesky (1983), Jim Heffernan (1986), Jeff McGinness (1995), Joe Williams (1996), Eric Juergens (1999) and Mark Perry (2007). The Dan Gable Outstanding Wrestlers were Randy Lewis (1979), Lenny Zalesky (1980), Ed Banach (1981), Royce Alger (1994), Jeff McGinness (1995), Lincoln McIlravy (1997), Joe Williams (1999, 2000), Mark Perry (2007) and Brent Metcalf (2009). Gable was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler five times (1966-69, 1971).

20-IN-4 CLUB
Eight former Hawkeyes are members of the prestigious 20-in-4 club, which requires a wrestler to record at least 20 wins in their first four years of competition. They are John Bowlsby (22 – 1974, 1976-78), Barry Davis (20 – 1980-83), Joe Williams (20 – 1993-96), Mark Ironside (22 – 1994-97), Wes Hand (20 – 1996-99), Jody Strittmatter (20 – 1997-2000), Doug Schwab (20 – 1997-2000) and Cliff Moore (23 – 2001-03, 2005). Gable was the first club member, recording 20 wins from 1966-69.

Former Hawkeye Joe Williams holds the most individual titles in Midlands history, winning 10. Other former Hawkeyes to win at least three titles are Tim Cysweski (5), Mark Ironside (4), Royce Alger (3), Ed Banach (3), Chris Campbell (3), Jim Heffernan (3), Randy Lewis (3), Brent Metcalf (3) and Chuck Yagla (3). Ironside has the most wins (27) at 141 pounds, and he and Cysewski hold the most titles (4 each) at that weight. Jim Heffernan holds the most titles (3) at 157, while Williams holds the most wins (35) and titles (7) at 174. Pat Kennedy holds the fastest fall (11 seconds) at 165, while Verlyn Strellner holds the most falls (10) at 197. Gable holds the most titles (3) and falls (13) at 149 pounds.

Head coach Tom Brands is one of six Grand Slam Winners in Midlands history. Wrestlers who have won a Midlands title, an NCAA championship, a World title, and an Olympic gold medal are considered Grand Slam Winners. Brands is joined on the list by Dan Gable, Bruce Baumgartner, Dave Schults, Kenny Monday and Jordan Burroughs.

Iowa has won four Midlands team titles since 2006, Tom Brands’ first season as head coach. The Hawkeyes won team titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Iowa placed second in 2006, fourth in 2010, and did not compete in 2012. Iowa’s 185 team points in 2007 is a Midlands record. Iowa crowned four individual champions that year. They include Joe Slaton (133), Dan LeClere (141), Brent Metcalf (149) and Mark Perry (165). Since 2006, nine Hawkeyes have combined to win 12 individual titles — Eric Luedke (06), Slaton (07), LeClere (07), Perry (07), Metcalf (07, 08, 09), Daniel Dennis (08), Ryan Morningstar (08), Jay Borschel (09), and Matt McDonough (09, 11).

Iowa’s coaching staff has won a combined four Midlands titles. Head coach Tom Brands won the 134-pound title in 1990. Associate head coach Terry Brands won the 126-pound title in 1991, and again in 1997 as a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Assistant coach Ryan Morningstar won the 165-pound title in 2008.

Senior Derek St. John has won a team-best 19 straight matches dating back to last season. His last defeat was a 5-4 loss to Nebraska’s James Green in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. He won two matches in the consolation bracket to place third, and then won five straight at the national tournament to win the 157-pound NCAA title. He has opened the 2013-14 season with 12 straight wins. He needs three victories to match his career long of 22, set in 2012-13 when he won his first 22 matches. St. John is making his third Midlands appearance. He placed fifth as a true freshman in 2009, and did not place as a redshirt freshman in 2010. He missed the 2011 tournament with injury.

Cory Clark (9-0), Derek St. John (12-0), and Bobby Telford (7-0) enter the Midlands Championships with undefeated records. In the history of Iowa wrestling, 15 wrestlers have finished the season with a perfect record (minimum 20 matches). Four of those wrestlers were able to perform the feat twice. They include Mark Ironside, Lincoln McIlravy, T.J. Williams and Jim Zalesky. Iowa coaches Tom Brands and Terry Brands are among the 15 wrestlers. Tom went 45-0 in 1990-91 and Terry went 35-0 in 1991-92.

Redshirt freshman Cory Clark is one of five Hawkeyes this season with an undefeated record. Clark is 9-0 overall with a team-best six falls. He is 5-0 in duals and 4-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Five of his six pins have come in the opening period. Clark placed fourth in his only other Midlands appearance. He won his first three matches in 2012 before dropping a 10-6 decision to eventual champion Jarrod Garnett.

All-American Tony Ramos is three wins shy of becoming the 38th wrestler in program history to reach 100 career wins. Ramos has a career record of 97-13, including a perfect 27-0 mark inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Ramos owns a 57-2 all-time record in duals, including a 34-1 nonconference mark. Ramos is making his third career Midlands appearance. He placed sixth in 2010, and was runner-up to Devin Carter in 2011.

Ranked No. 2 at 133 pounds, Ramos has recorded a team-best seven falls this season. He entered the season with 24 career pins, and has since raised his career total to 31. He recorded two falls as a redshirt freshman, eight falls as a sophomore, and 14 falls last season as a junior. Ramos needs 44 career falls to tie Chuck Yagla for 10th all-time in career pins. Brent Metcalf, who scored 47 pins from 2008-10, was the last Hawkeye to crack the top 10 list. Prior to Metcalf, the list had not changed since Terry Brands (48), Tom Brands (46), and Mark Reiland (45) ended their careers in 1992.