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ON THE MAT
The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team travels to Minneapolis to face No. 2 Minnesota on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT) inside Williams Arena. Tickets start at $5. Iowa (10-0, 6-0) and Minnesota (10-0, 6-0) sit atop the Big Ten as the only remaining undefeated teams. Minnesota owns a one-half dual lead in the win column.
Friday’s dual will be the 100th meeting between Minnesota and Iowa. The schools first met in 1921, a 39-3 Iowa victory in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 70-28-1. Iowa is 30-10-1 all-time in Minneapolis. The schools have met 12 times since 2006-07, Tom Brands’ first season as Iowa’s head coach. The Hawkeyes own an 8-4 advantage during that stretch.
ON THE TUBE
The dual is televised by BTN. Tim Johnson and Jim Gibbons will call the dual, and Shane Sparks will report matside live from Williams Arena.
HAWKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Iowa has nine wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the latest Intermat rankings (Jan. 20), more than any other school. Seven of Iowa’s wrestlers are ranked in the top 5, including Thomas Gilman (5), Cory Clark (5), Josh Dziewa (5), Brandon Sorensen (2), Mike Evans (2), Nathan Burak (3) and Bobby Telford (2). Two more Hawkeyes are projected in the top eight, including Nick Moore (7) and Sammy Brooks (8). Michael Kelly is ranked No. 15 at 157.
WIRE TO WIRE
Iowa debuted at the top spot on Nov. 11 when the USA Today/NWCA preseason poll was released 12 weeks ago. Iowa had five first place votes before the season started, the same number as Minnesota. The Hawkeyes have maintained the top spot all season and enter Friday’s dual as the unanimous No. 1, claiming all 10 first-place votes.
SORENSEN IS 1 OF A KIND
Redshirt freshman Brandon Sorensen is the only Division I wrestler in the country with wins over two reigning NCAA finalists. Sorensen defeated NCAA 149-pound runner-up Josh Kindig, 6-1, on Jan. 11, and 12 days later he handed defending NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis is first loss of the season, 3-2, in double overtime. His 24 wins lead the team, and his only losses have been to teammate Brody Grothus (3-2) at the Luther Open, and current No. 1 David Habat (3-2) at the Midlands Championships.
LAST OF THE UNBEATENS
Mike Evans (18-0) and Nathan Burak (13-0) enter the dual with undefeated records. Both streaks are career bests. 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.
Two of Iowa’s four returning All-Americans — Mike Evans (174) and Nathan Burak (197) — are a combined 31-0 this season. Evans is 18-0 with 11 wins by bonus points. Burak is 12-0 with two pins, one major decision, and one technical fall. He has claimed two tournament titles wrestling unattached at the Luther Open and Midlands Championships. He wrestled attached for the first time Jan. 4 at Ohio State and earned a 2-1 win over No. 7 Kyle Snyder. Cory Clark and Bobby Telford, Iowa’s other returning All-Americans — are a combined 34-3. Clark is 16-2 overall with eight falls, one technical fall, and one major decision. Telford is 18-1 with nine pins, one major decision, and one win via medical forfeit. All four returning All-Americans won Midlands individual titles on Dec. 30. 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.
EVANS LEADS ACTIVE HAWKEYES
Senior Mike Evans has opened the season with 18 consecutive wins. The streak is a career-long and seven better than his previous streak of 11 set in 2013-14. Evans has 95 career wins, more than any other active Hawkeye, and his 62 career dual starts are most on the team. He is 52-10 all-time in duals. Evans has faced Minnesota’s Logan Storley four times (1-3), including three times in a dual setting (1-2). Evans lost 4-3 at the 2013 dual, and defeated Storley 2-1 at the 2014 dual, their last meeting. Storley bested Evans 3-1 at the 2013 NWCA National Duals, and 3-2 at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Seniors Mike Evans and Bobby Telford are within striking distance of career win No. 100. Evans leads all active Hawkeyes with 95 career wins, Telford has 93. Forty wrestlers in the program history have accumulated 100 career wins, including coaches Tom Brands (158), Terry Brands (137), and Ryan Morningstar (110). Tom Brands is four wins shy of his 160th dual victory at Iowa, which would tie Dave McCuskey for No. 2 in program history.
B1G WEEKLY HONORS
Redshirt freshman Brandon Sorensen was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the second time this season on Jan. 27. Sorensen, a native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, defeated defending NCAA champion and previously undefeated Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern, 3-2, in double overtime on Jan. 23. Sorensen, then ranked No. 3, rode top-ranked Tsirtsis for all 30 seconds in the second tiebreaker to win, 3-2. He leads Iowa with 24 wins, including six major decisions and five falls, and his only losses of the year have been 3-2 setbacks to teammate Brody Grothus and current No. 1 Dave Habat of Edinboro. Sorensen climbed to No. 2 in the national rankings. He is the only Division I wrestler in the country with wins over two reigning NCAA finalists. Two weeks before his 3-2 overtime win over Tsirtsis, he defeated NCAA runner-up Josh Kindig, 6-1, on Oklahoma State’s home mat. The weekly honor is the second of his career and the third for Iowa this season. Sorensen shared the conference honor Jan. 13 after defeating Kindig. Bobby Telford earned league recognition Dec. 31.
BRANDS GETS WIN NO. 150
The Hawkeyes’ 11th straight win over Iowa State on Nov. 29 was Tom Brands‘ 150th career win at Iowa. He is 156-15-1 (.909) in eight-plus seasons as Iowa’s head coach. Only Dave McCuskey (160) and Dan Gable (355) have more dual wins at Iowa.
HAWKEYE WRESTLING HISTORY
Iowa’s overall dual meet record is 951-224-31 (.799) in 105 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 23 national titles and 34 Big Ten titles. Iowa’s 53 NCAA Champions have won a total of 81 NCAA individual titles, crowning six three-time and 16 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes’ 110 Big Ten champions have combined for 191 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time, and 29 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa’s 150 All-Americans have earned All-America status 307 times, including 18 four-time, 32 three-time and 39 two-time honorees.
40 YEARS SINCE NO. 1
Iowa celebrated the 40th anniversary of its first national championship on Jan. 23. Gary Kurdelmeier led Iowa to its first NCAA Championship in 1975, and in the 40 years since, the Hawkeyes have accumulated 23 team titles, more than any other school — Oklahoma State (7), Penn State (4), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), and Arizona State (1).
The Hawkeyes have seven wrestlers with NCAA Championships experience. Seniors Mike Evans (174) and Bobby Telford (285) are three-time NCAA qualifiers. Telford earned All-America honors in 2012 and 2014, while Evans earned All-America honors in 2013 and 2014. Junior Nathan Burak (197) and sophomore Cory Clark (125) also advanced to the All-America stand in 2014. Burak was making his second NCAA tournament appearance, while Clark was making his first. Senior Nick Moore (165) has competed in two NCAA Championships (2013, 2014), and last year senior Josh Dziewa (141) and junior Brody Grothus (149) made their first career appearances.
HAWKEYES ON TV
Iowa’s regular season duals at Minnesota and Penn State will air live on BTN. The Hawkeyes wrestle at Minnesota on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT), and at Penn State on Feb. 8 at 12 p.m. BTN will televise the semifinal and final rounds of the Cliff Keen National Duals, hosted by the University of Iowa on Feb. 21-22. The semifinals will air Saturday on BTN at 3 p.m. The finals will be televised Sunday at 11:30 a.m. BTN will televise the final round of the Big Ten Championships on March 8, 2015, at 2 p.m. The 2015 conference tournament is hosted by Ohio State.