Nov. 18, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa wrestling fans spoke, head coach Tom Brands listened.
The Iowa City Duals — typically a season-opening event for the Hawkeyes — could use a bump in competition to make for a more interesting day on Mediacom Mat they said.
So Brands lined up a Big Ten Conference opponent, Maryland, to kick off the four-dual event Friday, beginning at 11 a.m. (CT). It will be the first trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the Terrapins; Iowa has won the three previous meetings.
“Fans were complaining that the Iowa City Duals weren’t as tough as they wanted, so now we have a Big Ten opponent,” Brands said Wednesday in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.
As for the official Iowa City Duals, No. 2 Iowa (1-0 overall) will take on Grand Canyon at 12:30 p.m., Iowa Central at 1, and Cornell College at 2:30. Iowa Central and Cornell College have been stalwarts in the event for several years.
“They like the experience and we have stuck with the same schools for quite a while now,” Brands said. “That will probably change next year because we’re getting a lot of people that want to come in. We’re loyal to the people that helped this thing get going in the first place.”
“We don’t need to defend them. They have good potential they can reach and we like them, but they are going to have to grow up quick because we’re right back in a Big Ten dual on Friday.”
UI wrestling coach
Brands shed light on competition at the 141, 157, and 165-pound weight classes. Freshman Logan Ryan is the only name listed on the probable lineup at 141 for the Iowa City Duals; competition at 157 is between senior Edwin Cooper, Jr., or freshman Skyler St. John, and 165 is between senior Patrick Rhoads or freshman Burke Paddock.
“He is not a bad wrestler, he just needs to be seasoned,” Brands said of the junior college national champion.
Paddock will compete against Maryland, Brands said, although he didn’t think Rhoads did a bad job during a major decision loss to two-time defending national champion Alex Dieringer in the Grapple on the Gridiron.
“We don’t need to defend them,” Brands said. “They have good potential they can reach and we like them, but they are going to have to grow up quick because we’re right back in a Big Ten dual on Friday.”
Iowa opened the season with an 18-16 win over previously top-rated Oklahoma State on Nov. 14 inside Kinnick Stadium. As of Nov. 17, six Hawkeyes are ranked according to Intermat: junior Thomas Gilman (second at 125 pounds), junior Cory Clark (second, 133), sophomore Brandon Sorensen (third at 149), junior Alex Meyer (fifth at 174), junior Sammy Brooks (12th at 184) and senior Nathan Burak (fourth at 197).
“The biggest thing is we have Maryland at 11 (a.m.) on Friday and that’s where we have to move forward to,” Brands said. “Oklahoma State was a good performance by guys that got ready to go in a great environment that could have been a distraction. Instead, we came out and won five matches and bonus points won the day. Even the guys that won have to continue to go forward.”