Brands: Iowa Back to #1

Tom Brands felt that the winner of this weekend's National Duals Tournament would be ranked #1 this week when the new rankings came out. Iowa had fallen from the top spot after last weekend's disappointing loss to Oklahoma State, but they dominated the competition weekend en route to their first Duals title since 1996. The Hawks will likely be back at #1. Read what Brands had to say...

Q: Is Mark Perry OK (Perry didn't wrestle in the final dual, he suffered a knee injury in the semi's versus Michigan)?

Tom Brands: He is fine. He is uh, we will see. We don't know. We will have the doctors check him out. He could have gone at one time, but during the warm up he decided not to go. I don't think it's a major thing. We will see what happens.

Q: You said a few days ago that the winner of this is #1 in the nation.

Brands: We are where we want to be again. We have gained a little bit of what we lost. We came here to win and we won. If things are going your way, you feel pretty good about it. That is why I have a little bit of a smile on my face. It's about guys getting ready. I have said it all year, I said it last year. When guys get ready and attack, good things happen.

Q: Does it bother you that Oklahoma State was not here, the only one of the top 10 ranked teams not to be here?

Brands: No. The field is what it is. You don't look at it and stew over it, you get ready for your battles as they are seeded. We didn't worry much past Cornell yesterday morning, that was our first dual. Charlie Falck at 11am, and keep it going from there.

Q: A lot of your guys went out and owned the mat, running people all over the place…what was it like watching that?

Brands: It is as relaxing as it can be. You have guys that you love to watch. You are proud of guys, even chad Beatty. He is undersized and we will get that ironed out, we are getting close to a 97 pounder there. Attitude wise and what we are looking for the remainder of this year. It doesn't mean it's definite, but we are looking that way. His attitude is good, he is on board. We like owning the mat. That is something we have done all year. You look at a few dual meets that we had that were supposed to be well contested, and you look at the Midlands. The only time we didn't do that was Oklahoma State. That is a problem. I don't let my guard down here. I need to be careful about talking about how good we are. But right now I am proud of the effort, the program, the staff, fans as always, supporting you.

Q: You never like losing, you have made that clear. But I will ask you this; do you think that it helped getting the kinks out against Oklahoma State or not at all?

Brands: I am not a subscriber to that theory. I don't think you need to lose to get something back. We talked about a lot of things that needed to be talked about, where if we had won we might not have talked about them. But that is what I am saying about not letting my guard down. You keep moving forward. You don't pass over little things just because you had a good performance. You have to address them. I learned something after the Midlands and Oklahoma State.

Q: Talk about Mark Perry verses Eric Tannenbaum (#1 at 165 going into the match)

Brands: Perry beat #2, #4 and #1 this weekend. Great performance, because he is winning. He is #1 in the country again, and he took back what he lost. Bottom line, he is not wrestling his best.

Q: Do you think there has been a maturing process for your team this past week?

Brands: I think they have been wrestling well all year, haven't they. I have been proud of their performance all year. We had a misstep against Oklahoma State. It is a problem, I am not saying that it's not. But you feel good when you move forward.

Q: How much of your success goes into the sophomores that are wrestling the Tom Brands, Iowa style?

Brands: These guys have bought into a system and they believe in it and they have done a good job. They are believers, and they are affecting the rest of the team. Look at an area where our mentality isn't quite as high in the past, it is ramping up. You are seeing someone doing a good job when you turn your head, it's because it's rubbing off. People don't want to be left behind. Joe Slaton was pretty lonely in that Cornell dual.

Q: Is Brent Metcalf (named the Tournament's Division I Outstanding Wrestler) a poster boy for your program right now?

Brands: Metcalf is everything you ask for. He was raised right, he has a high standard, he trains like a madman, and he is driven to get better each time he walks in the room. It doesn't take a lot to spur him. He will work hard in all of his areas, whether a coach is looking over him or not.

Q: 1996 was the last time Iowa won the National Duals. What does mean to program to get the title back?

Brands: 1996, huh? It is a big step, not to get it back. You don't do it that way. You do it as progress. We came here to win, we had a team performance to win and we had individuals coming through over and over again. We lost some matches, but we didn't lose very many of them. It is a lot easier to continue to go forward when you are doing what we did today versus a week ago.

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