Wrestling Notebook: Hawkeyes at Midlands Championships

Dec. 26, 2014


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The University of Iowa wrestling team competes at the 52nd annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Monday and Tuesday in Evanston, Illinois. 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 nusports.com. 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 a.m. Session I ($10/$8)
7 p.m. Session II ($12/$9)
12 p.m. Session III ($13/$10)
7 p.m. Session IV ($15/$12)
(Single Session – Adult/Student)

The tournament will be broadcast on AM 800 KXIC and streamed online at hawkeyesports.com via Hawkeye All-Access. Steven Grace will have the call live from Welsh-Ryan Arena. BTN Plus will stream Tuesday’s competition.

The finals will be televised by BTN on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (CT). Jim Gibbons, Tim Johnson and Shane Sparks will have the call.

Live Hawkeye wrestling updates are available @IowaWRLive; @Hawks_Wrestling; facebook.com/iowahawkeyewrestling.

Live results will be available on the wrestling schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.

Iowa has won more team titles (23) than any other school in the 51 years of the Midlands Championships. 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, 2011, and 2013. 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).

Iowa scored 187.5 team points in 2013, breaking its previous tournament record of 185 set in 2007. The Hawkeyes advanced seven wrestlers to the finals last year and crowned three champions, including Mike Evans, who was named the tournaments top individual point scorer, Thomas Gilman and Derek St. John. Runner-ups included Tony Ramos, Nick Moore, Ethen Lofthouse, and Bobby Telford.

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.

Wrestling Herky

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 five Midlands team titles since 2006, Tom Brands‘ first season as head coach. The Hawkeyes won team titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Iowa placed second in 2006, fourth in 2010, and did not compete in 2012. Since 2006, 12 Hawkeyes have combined to win 15 individual titles — Eric Luedke (`06), Joey Slaton (`07), Dan LeClere (`07), Mark Perry (`07), Brent Metcalf (`07, `08, `09), Daniel Dennis (`08), Ryan Morningstar (`08), Jay Borschel (`09), Matt McDonough (`09, `11), Thomas Gilman (`13), Derek St. John (`13) and Mike Evans (`13).

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.

Sophomore Thomas Gilman broke into the national picture last season by winning the 125-pound bracket at the 2013 Midlands Championships. Gilman defeated defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado, 3-1, in the semifinals, and defending Midlands champion Jarrod Garnett, 6-1, in the finals. He also defeated No. 7 Dylan Peters (UNI), 6-3, in the quarterfinals. Gilman was recognined with Big Ten wrestler of the week honors following the tournmant, and broke into the national polls at No. 3.

Iowa has nine wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the Dec. 16 Intermat rankings, more than any other school. Only two other schools have more than five (Ohio State 8, Penn State 6). Four of Iowa’s wrestlers are ranked in the top 5, including Thomas Gilman (4), Cory Clark (4), Mike Evans (3), and Bobby Telford (3). Four more Hawkeyes are projected in the top 8, including Josh Dziewa (6), Nick Moore (7), Sammy Brooks (8), and Nathan Burak (6). Brandon Sorensen is ranked No. 10 at 149. Iowa does not have a wrestler ranked at 157.

Senior Mike Evans won six matches last year, three by fall and two by major decision, en route to the 174-pound title. He scored 29 points for the Hawkeyes and took home the Individual High Point Trophy. Evans opened the season 9-0 for the fourth straight year. He lost his 10th match of the season as a freshman and sophomore, and opened last year 11-0 before suffering his first loss. His 11 match win streak is the longest win streak of his career.

Sophomore Sammy Brooks has nine wins this season, all by bonus points. Brooks is 9-0 overall with three pins, three technical falls, and two major decisions. He also has one win via medical forfeit. He has won 10 in a row dating back to last season.

Senior Michael Kelly is 9-0 with four falls this season at 157 pounds. It is his best start to a season since he opened the 2010 season 12-0 at 157, his true freshman season. Kelly has wrestled every match at 157 pound this season, and has a 32-3 career mark at 157, including an 18-1 record competing unattached in 2010-11. He was 5-1 as a redshirt freshman, and wrestled his entire sophomore campaign at 149. He wrestled at 157 once last year, falling to Indiana’s sixth-ranked Taylor Walsh. The veteran has 36 career dual starts under his belt, the fourth most on the team. He is appearing in his fourth Midlands Championships.

Senior Bobby Telford has advanced to the finals in his last two trips to Midlands. In 2011, Telford defeated Mike McMullan, 4-2, in the semifinals, but lost to Central Michigan’s Jarod Trice in overtime, 3-2, in the finals. A year ago Telford ran through a pair of ranked opponents in the quarters and semis, but fell in the finals to fourth-ranked Adam Coon. This year he is the likely No. 2 seed, behind Northwestern’s McMullan, who is the top-ranked heavyweight in the country. Telford is 2-3 all-time against McMullan. He defeated him in the 2014 Big Ten Championships, 3-1, but lost a 3-1 decision at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Telford is 9-0 this year with a team-best seven pins, one major decision, and one win via medical forfeit.


Iowa’s four returning All-Americans — Cory Clark (125), Mike Evans (174), Nathan Burak (197), and Bobby Telford (285) — are a combined 31-0 this season with 17 pins. Clark, Evans, and Telford are all 9-0. Telford has seven pins, one major decision, and one win via medial forfeit. Clark has pinned six of his nine opponents. Evans has seven wins by bonus points and a decision over a top 10 opponent. Burak was 4-0 with one pin, one major decision, and one technical fall at the Luther Open, but he has not seen action since due to injury. The Hawkeyes have crowned at least one All-American every year since 1972, a span of 43 seasons. Iowa has totaled 261 All-America honors during that stretch. The Hawkeyes crowned six All-Americans in 2014, including four-time All-American Derek St. John (157) and first-timers Clark (125) and Burak (197). Tony Ramos earned his third career All-America honor, winning the 133-pound bracket, and Evans (174) and Telford (285) were both named All-Americans for the second time in their careers.

Senior Mike Evans and junior Nathan Burak were ranked No. 1 at their respective weights when the 52nd annual Midlands Championships pre-seeds where announced Wednesday, Dec. 24. Iowa is represented in all 10 weight classes, and has two wrestlers pre-seeded at 149 and 157, and three at 174 pounds. Evans, the defending champion at 174, is the top pre-seed for the second straight year. Burak placed third last season at 197. He is wrestling unattached this year. Thomas Gilman, the defending Midlands champion at 125, is the No. 2 seed behind Illinois’ Jesse Delgado, the two-time defending NCAA champion. Cory Clark is seeded second at 133, and Bobby Telford, a Midlands runner-up in 2011 and 2013, is the No. 2 seed at 285. Iowa has a top-five seed at every weight class. Brody Grothus (149), Nick Moore (165), and Sammy Brooks (184) are seeded third at their respective weights. Josh Dziewa is seeded fourth at 141, and Michael Kelly is fifth at 157. Brandon Sorensen placed third last season and is seeded No. 8 at 149. Edwin Cooper is the No. 9 seed at 157, and Alex Meyer, a seventh-place finisher in 2013, is seeded sixth at 174. Freshman Burke Paddock is the No. 9 seed at 174

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