After a surprisingly close 18-15 victory over UNI Tuesday night at the McCleod Center in Cedar Falls, the Iowa wrestling team made its debut in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, downing the Arizona State Sun Devils 39-3.
The meet opened at 174 pounds, with Eric Luedke scoring a major decision, 12-1 over Alex Pavlenko, outscoring Pavlenko 7-1 in the final period.
At 184 pounds, Phillip Keddy pinned Greg Gifford in 48 seconds to give Iowa a 10-0 lead. After the meet, Keddy talked about his first match in Carver.
"I just wanted to go out there and start wrestling hard, wrestling aggressive," Keddy said. "I wanted to stay on him the whole time, whether it was going to be a pin right off the bat or whatever
"I just wanted to wrestle my match, my style, which is what I got away from on Tuesday night. I wanted to make sure I grinded him onto the mat this time."
The meet continued with a close 3-2 victory for Dan Erekson over Jason Trulson, with Erekson being awarded a point early after Trulson was called for fleeing the mat. Erekson took an injury time-out during the match, and the training staff looked to be examining his right shoulder/neck area, a possible stinger.
At heavyweight, Matt Fields won by forfeit, as ASU doesn't have a true heavyweight on their roster. Thor Moen had wrestled in ASU's previous two meets at heavyweight, but is listed on their official roster at 184/197. Fields began to enter the arena for his match before being told he would not get to wrestle.
At 125 pounds, Charlie Falck recovered from a tough loss at UNI to win 15-9 in an action-packed match. At the end of the first period, the score was 8-4, with Falck and Tyler Bowles exchanging takedowns and escapes four times.
Mario Galanakis got the crowd out of their seats again when he pinned Shawn Jones in 2 minutes and 45 seconds, 5 seconds faster than his fall against Brett Robbins of UNI on Tuesday. Galanakis said he felt a new energy in the building after a year away, he said he fed off the crowd of 4,905.
Alex Tsirtsis scored a reversal with 12 seconds left in his his match with Pat Payne to seal a 6-2 victory. Up to that point, Tsirtsis had been ridden the entire third period, and nearly gave up back points. After a stalemate was called late in the match, Tsirtsis got encouragement from the coaching staff, and exploded out of the underneath position to put the match out of reach.
Alex Grunder scored a technical fall against Cameron Smith, 22-7. Grunder hit a 5 point move in the first 20 seconds of the match, leading 9-2 after the first period. Alex scored a takedown with 11 seconds left in the third period to lead by 14, with riding time stretching that to the final margin of 15 points.
Ryan Morningstar and Brian Stith wrestled even through three periods, each escaping once before the 2nd-ranked Stith scored a takedown halfway through sudden victory overtime to win the match. After the meet, Brands was encouraged, but not satisfied with Morningstar's action.
"We know he can wrestle with anybody in the country," Brands said. "He could have taken it way from him. I think he surprised himself as to how the match was going to go. At some points, there may be some strategy involved, but we've got to take those away."
With the dual well in hand, Mark Perry still wrestled at 165 points, avoiding several dangerous scramble situations to take the match 8-4, including an impressive takedown in the third period, an aggressiveness fans haven't come to expect from Mark Perry.
"It's because he was low, moving, and explosive," Brands said after the meet. "That's a pretty deadly combination if Mark Perry's doing that."
Overall, Brands was encouraged by the performance, but wasn't quite ready to praise his team quite yet.
"I'm going to give the guys credit, but I look more at how we have to keep coming around," Brands said. "Phil Keddy, excellent job. Mark Perry battled. That's a battle for him, that's a good wrestler. We've got to keep it consistent."
The Hawks return to Carver Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, December 3rd to face intra-state rival Iowa State, the first match up between Cael Sanderson and Tom Brands.