Jan. 23, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It had been more than a year since Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern was on the short end of a wrestling decision.
Now he is on a losing streak.
University of Iowa freshman Brandon Sorensen tagged the defending 149-pound national champion with just the fourth setback of his career — and first since Jan. 10, 2014 — on Friday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The 149-pound match was the marquee bout during the top-rated Hawkeyes’ 38-3 dual victory over the No. 19 Wildcats. Sorensen, ranked No. 3, rode top-ranked Tsirtsis for all 30 seconds in the second tiebreaker to win, 3-2.
“I played into his game and that’s not what I like to do,” said Sorensen, referring to the seven career overtime wins for Tsirtsis. “If I see him again, next time it can’t go into overtime. It just can’t.”
Sorensen improved to 24-2 on the season and has now won seven straight matches, including decisions against then No. 2 Josh Kindig of Oklahoma State (6-1) and Tsirtsis, who was on a 40-match winning streak.
“You can beat anybody you want if you put your mind to it,” Sorensen said. “We have been training hard and I have the best coaches pushing me. I have faith.”
“I played into his game and that’s not what I like to do. If I see him again, next time it can’t go into overtime. It just can’t.”
UI 149-pound wrestler
One thing Sorensen and Tsirtsis have in common is a loss to UI senior Brody Grothus. Grothus defeated Tsirtsis, 3-2, at the 2013 Midlands Championships and Grothus defeated Sorensen by the same score on Nov. 15 at the Luther Open.
“I think when you get an opportunity, you seize it and that’s what (Sorensen has) done,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “Good for him, good for the weight class. It doesn’t reflect anything on Brody Grothus. We’ve still got a guy there that has a couple of different options, so we’ve got to keep getting building off of the injury (sustained against Tsirtsis at the 2014 Midlands). Sorenson has done a good job with his opportunity, and that’s what you want. That’s what you want from young guys.”
Sorensen compiled a 24-4 record during his redshirt season in 2013-14. Two of his losses have come to David Habat of Edinboro at Midlands (9-7 in overtime in 2013 and 3-2 in 2014). But no one in the 149 weight class has been on a roll like Sorensen. Of his last four wins, three have come against wrestlers ranked No. 5 (Hunter Stieber of Ohio State), No. 2 (Kindig), and No. 1 (Tsirtsis).
“I like (my resume) a lot, but it could be better, wider scores,” Sorensen said. “I could slam the door shut on them and give them no hope. That’s what I want to happen.”
Tsirtsis’s brother, Alex, lettered for the Hawkeyes in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. He was an All-American in 2006, placing seventh at 141 pounds.
The Hawkeyes (10-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) return to action Friday, Jan. 30, against No. 2 Minnesota (9-0, 5-0) in Williams Arena. The Gophers travel to No. 5 Penn State on Jan. 25.