Feb. 18, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — How focused are the University of Iowa wrestlers for Saturday’s EAS/NWCA National Duals quarterfinal against Chattanooga?
So focused that senior 174-pounder Mike Evans has no idea he is two wins from becoming the 41st Hawkeye to reach 100 for a career.
“That would be an awesome thing. I didn’t even know that until now,” Evans said. “I would love to do that for our fans, so I plan on doing it.”
So focused that sophomore 125-pounder Thomas Gilman has no interest in the result of a possible quarterfinal matchup between No. 1 Jesse Delgado of Illinois and No. 2 Alan Waters of Missouri.
“I don’t care about them,” Gilman said. “If they step out on the mat (with me), that’s fine. I’ll take them on, I’ll beat them, but I don’t worry about them right now. One thing at a time.”
It is a constant message addressed by UI head coach Tom Brands: Run the table. Win everything. Focus on your next mission.
“Regardless of whether you’re doing well or not, win the next event and get ready to conquer the next event,” Brands said Wednesday in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “That’s the best philosophy you can go forward with.”
“Now 15,000 people can go berserk when good things happen for our team, so that’s captivating. Dual meets are important. Don’t tell me dual meets aren’t important. Every time is important. The next time out is important.”
UI wrestling coach
The top-ranked Hawkeyes (15-0) put their 19-dual winning streak on the line against unranked Chattanooga (12-5) on Saturday at noon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Mocs are led by No. 10 Sean Boyle at 125 (25-5) and No. 13 Nick Soto at 133 (24-8).
“They have two ranked guys and we have to be ready regardless, because once we step out on the mat with them, it doesn’t matter who’s ranked and who’s not,” Brands said.
To reach the quarterfinals, Chattanooga defeated Oklahoma, 19-16, and Iowa downed No. 13 Virginia, 30-6, on Feb. 15. The Hawkeyes used three backups against the Cavaliers and two of them — sophomore Alex Meyer at 174 and junior Kris Klapprodt at heavyweight — provided impressive wins.
It is too early in the week for Brands to release what reserves — if any — will see the mat this weekend.
“I would say I think our guys are ready to go,” Brands said. “Whatever we have to do will be a decision that is made for the best of the team and for the individual at the time.”
This season Iowa has defeated three of the teams in the EAS/NWCA National Duals. The Hawkeyes downed Ohio State, 18-14, on Jan. 4, Illinois, 25-12, on Jan. 16, and Minnesota, 23-12, on Jan. 30. The duals against Ohio State and Minnesota were on the road.
“Now 15,000 people can go berserk when good things happen for our team, so that’s captivating,” Brands said of competing at home. “Dual meets are important. Don’t tell me dual meets aren’t important. Every time is important. The next time out is important.”
The Hawkeyes have competed at national duals 19 times, winning titles in 1992, 1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, and 2010. They were not in the event last season.
“When you’re a competitor, you want the best,” Brands said. “Get ready to go and take care of your business. That’s a good way to march.”