Iowa team photo
The Iowa wrestling team after winning a Midlands title in Decemeber Photo by: Mark Lundy – WrestlersAreWarriors.com

With their 18-12 win over Penn State on Sunday, the Iowa Hawkeyes officially clinched at least a share of the Big Ten conference dual title, with a chance to win the league title outright next Friday against Michigan. The Hawkeyes currently sit at 8-0 in Big Ten duals. Nebraska finished up their dual season this weekend at 8-1, as did Ohio State.  Ohio State picked up a big win over Minnesota Friday, 22-13 and their lone loss on the season came at the hands of the Hawkeyes. Here is a look into how the Hawkeyes got to 8-0 this season:

12/6/14 vs Michigan State 37-0
Iowa opened their dual season by pitching a shutout at home over the Michigan State Spartans. Although the win was lopsided, this dual still had it’s excitement. At 141 Topher Carton was making his run at trying to unseat Josh Dziewa and win a starting spot in the lineup. He won a close 6-3 match over Garth Yenter. At 157 with senior Mike Kelly dealing with minor injuries Iowa went with Edwin Cooper, who fought off a late rally by Rodger Wildmo to win 6-5 and keep the shut out alive. Perhaps the most exciting thing was Alex Meyer winning 6-5 with a late takedown over Nick Diarmid at 197 (bumping up from 174) for the match of the night.

1/2/15 at #23 Rutgers 27-9 (2-0)
The Hawkeyes then went East on their first roadtrip of the season and took out Rutgers in their first confernece meeting. Iowa wrestled a backup at 133 (Phil Laux) and Kris Klapprodt at 197, both of whom lost matches the starters otherwise might have won. DelVecchio’s win over Laux was the first conference loss for the Hawkeyes on the year, and Josh Dziewa lost at 141 to Anthony Ashnault in the first Big Ten upset of the year. Iowa picked up four bonus point wins at 125, 149, 165, and 184. The win at 149 was the start of Brandon Sorensen’s red hot streak, and Bobby Telford picked up a top ten victory over Billy Smith. Mike Kelly put himself on the rankings radar with a 4-0 win over returning All-American Anthony Perrotti.

1/4/15 at #7 Ohio State 18-14 (3-0)
Continuing their road trip, Iowa then faced top ten ranked Ohio State in what was a dual that went down to the wire. The dual opened with Thomas Gilman scoring a 2-1 TB victory over Nathan Tomasello, but Ohio State responded with wins from Johnni DiJulius at 133 and Logan Stieber at 141 to take the lead. Brandon Sorensen picked up a big 9-7 win over All-American Hunter Stieber in a big upset win for the Hawkeyes. With the score 14-6 with just four matches remaining Iowa picked up big wins from their upperweights to pick up 12 straight points for the team win. Most notable was Nathan Burak getting his redshirt pulled to defeat #7 Kyle Snyder 2-1, which felt like the nail in the coffin for Ohio State, as Telford continued his then undefeated season.

1/16/15 vs #9 Illinois 25-12 (4-0)
Returning back to Carver for the first time in a few weeks, Iowa faced it’s third straight top ten dual team in Illinois. The Illini were without NCAA champion Jesse Delgado, which may have been a seven point swing as Iowa picked up a major decision at 125 at a weight Illinois would have been favored in. Zane Richards then got revenge from Midlands at 133 to close the score to 4-3. Iowa picked up two victories at 141 and 149, but Illinois responded with two bonus wins at 157 (from freshman sensation Isaiah Martinez) and 165, taking the team lead away from Iowa, 12-10. Iowa then won the last four weights (very much like the Ohio State dual) to come from behind and wound up winning 25-12. The match of the night belonged to Alex Meyer, who again performed late match dramatics as he was filling in for Mike Evans at 174. With the match winding down, he was able to stack #6 Zac Brunson up for a fall with just :01 left.

1/23/15 vs #24 Northwestern 38-3 (5-0)
Next week Iowa put up a huge win over Northwestern 38-3, dropping only the heavyweight bout. Iowa got their first big upset at 149, when Brandon Sorensen defeated NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis 3-2 in the final TBs – which earned him Big Ten Wrestler of the week honors. That big win was followed by Nick Moore getting revenge over #6 Pierce Harger at 165, after losing to him less than a month earlier at the Midlands. Burak provided a late comeback over Alex Polizzi to keep the shutout alive 38-0, but Mike McMullan got his revenge from the Midlands finals 3-1 SV over undefeated Bobby Telford.

1/30/15 at #1 Minnesota 23-12 (6-0)
In what was expected to be a battle for the #1 dual team ranking, Iowa came out and won, and in terms of it being the #1 vs. #2 team, by a pretty good margin. The dual opened with a second period fall by Nick Moore at 165, and was followed by a SV thriller by Mike Evans over Logan Storley at 174 which set the tone for the rest of the dual. Minnesota finally got on the board in the fourth match with a 3-1 win over Nathan Burak at 197, but Iowa responded with wins from Bobby Telford and Thomas Gilman to widen their gap. The Dardanes bros picked up decisions over their ranked Iowa opponents for their second and third victories, but by that point they were officially out of the dual, even with a pair of falls at 149 and 157. Iowa got a win by Brandon Sorensen, and Mike Kelly led in most of his match against #1 Dylan Ness and lost a tough 11-9 match.

2/6/15 at Maryland 33-3 (7-0)
Iowa then headed back East for another double dual road trip, and opened the weekend with a “sloppy” 33-3 win over Maryland. Iowa opened the dual with wins from Josh Dziewa, and Brandon Sorensen before dropping their only bout on the night between Lou Mascola and Mike Kelly at 157. Iowa then won the next three matches by bonus with Nick Moore receiving a medical forfeit at 165, and Mike Evans (though he lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct) and Sammy Brooks posting back-to-back majors at 174 and 184 respectively. Kris Klapprodt then got a starting nod over stater Nathan Burak and won 9-3. Telford added a top 15 win, and Gilman posted a major deicison, before the final match of the night between Cory Clark and top 20 opponent Geoffrey Alexander. Clark was up 6-3, but allowed a late reversal to make the match closer than it appeared 7-5.

2/8/15 at #6 Penn State 18-12 (8-0)
That brings us to the most recent dual which Iowa needed a win from Bobby Telford in the final match to pull out the victory and clinch a share of the dual title. Iowa opened with a 6-5 Thomas Gilman decision over Jordan Conaway. A late third period charge brought Conaway back into the match, but Gilman’s riding time point was the back breaker and Iowa got it’s first win. Penn State then used another third period comeback to pull an upset at 133 with Jimmy Gulibon getting the better of Cory Clark. Iowa then posted three straight wins from Pennslyvannia native Josh Dzeiwa, freshman Brandon Sorensen, and Mike Kelly to retake the team lead 12-3. Penn State then pulled another upset at 165 where freshman Garett Hammond defeated #7 Nick Moore 4-2 in the closing seconds of the third. They followed that with an upset from Matt Brown at 174 over Mike Evans (the pair all time record now stands at 4-3 Brown) and another win over Nathan Burak 7-1 to make the score 15-12 with one match to go. Telford put the clamps on winning 3-0 over James Lawson, in a match that had he lost would’ve sent the dual to criteria.

Up next the Hawkeyes face Michigan with their chance to win the conference dual title outright on the line. That dual will be Friday at 7:00 PM in Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Iowa will also still have a chance to face Illinois, Ohio State, and Minnesota. at the National Duals this month. With all of those matches taking place in Carver, if they occur.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle