Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A former Hawkeye will meet a current University of Iowa wrestler Friday night at Frost Arena in Brookings, South Dakota.
UI senior Cory Clark — the nation’s top-ranked 133-pounder — will face off against South Dakota State’s Seth Gross in a dual pitting third-ranked Hawkeyes against the 20th-ranked Jackrabbits. Gross, who transferred after redshirting during the 2014-15 season at Iowa, is ranked as high as No. 4 by WIN.
“We wished Seth the best and we continue to wish him the best as much as we can,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “But he’s an opponent now.”
Clark and Gross where sparring partners during their lone season together in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. Gross wrestled at 141, Clark was at 125.
“I wrestled him here and there,” said Clark, who is 7-0 with four falls this season. “We went live, but that was two to three years ago. I am not going to base this match on how things went back then.”
Gross was an NCAA qualifier and the Big 12 runner-up at 141 pounds as a redshirt freshman. He went 26-14 during the season and was one victory shy of earning All-America honors.
Clark was Big Ten champion at 133 pounds and was NCAA runner-up. He has won 22 of his last 23 matches heading into Friday’s match against Gross. It will be his first match against a ranked opponent this season.
“I know he’s a competitor and is going to come out and wrestle,” said Clark. “Whatever he has to do to win is what he is going to be doing. I have an idea of what that is going to be, but I have to not be worried about what he’s going to do. I have to get to my stuff and I should be fine.”
Gross is 6-0 this season, scoring bonus points in five of his six matches. He has a pin, three technical falls and one major decision — a 12-3 victory over Minnesota’s Mitch McKee in his last match Nov. 19 in Minneapolis.
“He’s stingy, clingy, and will roll-around a little bit,” said Clark. “He wants to get me out of my comfort zone, but I don’t really have a comfort zone.”
Clark expects the atmosphere to be electric inside Frost Arena, but once the whistle blows it’s just another opportunity to compete.
“Once the whistle blows all that stuff goes away,” said Clark. “It doesn’t matter who is rooting for or against me, it is just another match. That’s how I approach it.”
Friday’s dual begins at 7:30 p.m. (CT) and it will be available on AM 800 KXIC and audio streamed on Hawkeye All-Access on hawkeyesports.com. Iowa has won 19 straight road duals since losing at Minnesota at the 2013 NWCA National Duals.