Nov. 24, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There is extra fuel on the fire for the second-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team as it heads to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup against No. 17 Iowa State.
The 2015 meeting involves a mythical letter penned by UI head coach Tom Brands to Cyclone 133 pounder Earl Hall.
“I evidently wrote a letter to Earl Hall that said all you have to do is break and Cory Clark will have his way, something to that effect,” Brands said Tuesday during a media gathering in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.
“The reason I don’t know the contents of that letter is (because) I didn’t write it. Someone wrote him a letter, and I don’t know where that is coming from. There is some gasoline on the fire.”
The Hall-Clark bout is a marquee matchup in the 82nd meeting of the Iowa-Iowa State series. It is one of potentially five matches between ranked opponents. The Hawkeyes have the higher ranked wrestler at all five weight classes.
Clark has won both collegiate meetings against Hall. He edged the Cyclone, 8-7, at 125 pounds in 2013 before claiming an 8-3 decision last season at 133.
“There isn’t any pressure,” said Clark. “It’s another match against a tough opponent who wants to beat me. I don’t know if every opponent thinks that way, but I know he does. I have to be ready to go from start to finish.”
The Hawkeyes have dominated the recent series, winning 11 consecutive duals dating back to 2005. Iowa State’s last win came on Dec. 5, 2004, posting a 19-16 victory in Iowa City.
“I don’t pay attention to the number (of wins in a row),” said Brands. “I pay attention to the fact that I know what our team is capable of and I know (Iowa State) puts a lot of importance on this dual. We have to be ready because of that.”
While outsiders see the dual as one-sided, junior Alex Meyer says the results say otherwise.
“We like it to be one-sided, but one-sided means winning 10 matches to zero and we haven’t done that the last few years,” said Meyer. “That’s still the mindset to win 10 matches.”
Iowa is undefeated in five duals, but Brands isn’t comfortable. He wants to push forward and build depth.
“I have said from the get-go, we have six to seven solid guys, and we need to double that to have the depth that we want,” said Brands. “We work on that every day.”
Sunday’s dual begins at 2 p.m. (CT) from Hilton Coliseum. It will be broadcast on AM 800 KXIC and audio streamed online on Hawkeye All-Access with Steven Grace and Mark Ironside on the call.