Jan. 7, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When the top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team competes at No. 8 Oklahoma State on Sunday, it will mark 35 days since the Hawkeyes competed at home.
After a 37-0 thrashing of Michigan State on Dec. 6, Iowa rolled to a team title at the Midlands Championships and won back-to-back duals at No. 23 Rutgers and No. 7 Ohio State — all away from Iowa City.
“You go where the battle is,” UI head coach Tom Brands said Wednesday inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “We’re not in a war, but we can be like a soldier — wherever the fight is, you go.”
The next date on the schedule is one for wrestling purists. Oklahoma State (34) and Iowa (23) have combined for 57 NCAA team championships, and the coaching staffs from each team have combined for 11 individual NCAA titles. Last season the Cowboys finished third in the NCAA Championships with 96 ½ points and Iowa was fourth with 78 ½.
“It’s a rivalry, but there are a lot of other rivalries, too,” Brands said. “This is big for this weekend, but it seems like every time out you have someone trying to knock you off your block a little bit. That’s also the nature of this sport, individually and team wise.”
Both teams have three undefeated wrestlers. For Iowa, they are senior Mike Evans at 174 pounds (16-0), junior Nathan Burak at 197 (10-0) and senior Bobby Telford at 285 (16-0). Oklahoma State is led by senior Josh Kindig at 149 (9-0), junior Alex Dieringer at 165 (15-0) and junior Austin Marsden at 285 (14-0). Dieringer won a national title in 2014 at 157 pounds, Kindig was runner-up at 149.
“You go where the battle is. We’re not in a war, but we can be like a soldier — wherever the fight is, you go.”
UI wrestling coach
“They’re going to get up for us, so we have to get up for them,” Evans said. “You have to put a little extra oomph behind it because every one of their guys is going to have a game plan on how to beat us, so we have to come out swinging.”
The Hawkeyes won the dual last season, 24-6, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Their last win at Oklahoma State was in 2009.
“I’m excited, I wrestled there freshman year,” Burak said. “It’s a great environment and it’s always fun. There should be a big crowd there.”
Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena holds 13,611 and had crowds of 5,537 (2013) and 4,580 (2011) the last two times the Hawkeyes visited. A crowd of 10,141 watched last year’s dual in Iowa City.
Iowa also has three straight matches on the road from Jan. 30 to Feb 8, starting at Minnesota and finishing at Maryland and Penn State. The two extended stretches away from Iowa City could pay off in March when the Hawkeyes are at the Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio (March 7-8), and at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis (March 19-21).
“You have to adapt to where you’re going. You might not have all the workout equipment you need, you might not have what you want, but that comes with the sport,” Evans said. “It pays off because you can make any situation work for you and you can adapt well. That is important if you’re going to be in this sport.”
Sunday’s dual begins at 2 p.m. (CT) and will be broadcast on AM 800 KXIC and streamed online at hawkeyesports.com. A subscription video stream will be provided by cbssports.com.