March 18, 2015
- Iowa Hawkeye NCAA Wrestling Central
- Read the March issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPad and iPhone app!
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
ST. LOUIS — What happened to University of Iowa wrestler Bobby Telford 10 days ago in Columbus, Ohio, has motivated him since.
With the Big Ten Conference team title in the balance, Telford fell to Northwestern’s Mike McMullan, 4-3, in the 285-pound final. As a result, Iowa and host Ohio State shared the championship with 120 points.
Telford was one of five NCAA qualifiers to field questions from media Wednesday at a pre-championships news conference in the Scottrade Center.
Mike Finn of Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine asked Telford if he left angry from the Big Ten Championships.
“What do you think,” Telford replied. “It was on the line for my team and I didn’t get the job done and we ended up sharing a team title with Ohio State, so that stings. It stings that I never won a Big Ten championship in my career, but that’s in the rearview now. We have bigger things to focus on.”
“When the season is over, people aren’t going to be talking about Midlands champs, Southern Scuffle champs, Big Tens. They will talk about (individual) national championships and team national championships. That’s what the whole season is based on and we’re here.”
UI senior 285 wrestler
Telford brings a 27-3 record and No. 3 seed into the NCAA Championships that run Thursday through Saturday. He knows that individual accolades leading up to this point are nice, but the biggest reward — and one that will be remembered most — is what happens this weekend.
“When the season is over, people aren’t going to be talking about Midlands champs, Southern Scuffle champs, Big Tens,” Telford said. “They will talk about (individual) national championships and team national championships. That’s what the whole season is based on and we’re here.”
After the athletes spoke, it was the coach’s turn.
UI head coach Tom Brands joined Rob Koll of Cornell University, J Robinson of Minnesota, Brian Smith of Missouri, and Tom Ryan of Ohio State for another news conference.
“The story will be written as it goes,” said Brands, who led the Hawkeyes to NCAA titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010. “If you’re an Iowa Hawkeye, we want it to be written in our favor. If you’re a competitor, we want all the hardware and that’s what we’re after, but we have worthy opponents.”
Brands brightened the interview room, first with a response, and then with friendly banter with Robinson. Mark Bader of Flowrestling noted Brands’ serious look and asked the Iowa coach if he felt additional pressure entering the tournament.
“How many years have you known me? I’ll ask the question there and then you answer that; then I’ll say I’m always serious looking, but I’m really happy inside,” Brands said. “We’re ready to go, we love competition. We have a knock against us that we’re too serious, but come live me for a week and we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Later, Robinson described the NCAA Tournament as an emotional roller coaster and the key is for teams to battle through low points.
“Check your heartbeat the next three days and see how it goes up and down,” Robinson said. “And then check Brands’ and it will really be fun.”
Brands didn’t skip a beat replying to his rival.
“Your hair is white,” Brands said.
The NCAA Tournament begins Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT). First to the mat for the Hawkeyes is sophomore Thomas Gilman at 125 pounds. The sixth-seeded Hawkeye takes on Evan Silver of Stanford.