When you think college wrestling, you think Iowa; when you think Iowa, you think college wrestling.
The two are synonymous because of the supremacy the Hawkeyes have established in not only the Big Ten, but also the nation. For any wrestling fan, it is hard not to be in awe of the Iowa wrestling tradition, success and longevity.
Friday night at the Field House, even the Wisconsin wrestling team seemed star-struck as they fell to Iowa 24-9 in convincing fashion.
"We came out a little slow and I think we were wrestling a singlet, not guys," UW junior and tri-captain Brady Reinke said. "We were wrestling that Iowa name and everybody came out a little timid. We just didn't come out has hard as we should have."
Dominating from the get-go, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an 8-0 lead behind the strong performances of fifth-ranked senior Cliff Moore and eighth-ranked sophomore Ty Eustice. The two contributed two of the team's three wins by major decision and put Wisconsin in a hole right off the bat.
UW freshman Tyler Turner then put the Badgers on the scoreboard, in the 157 pound battle, in an exciting triple overtime win over ninth-ranked Iowa sophomore Joe Johnson. Coming back from down 2-1 in the first period, Turner escaped from several Johnson holds, including one for the final score to up his dual record to 16-4.
Unfortunately for Badger fans, the rest of the squad could not duplicate the effort of the freshman, and lost to the Hawkeyes for the 39th straight year.
"We lost some close matches we could have won," Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis said. "I think we came out in the second half better than we did in the first half. We have to learn from this and move on, but I think some guys took a back seat, which I'm very disappointed in. We're doing well this season and we're wrestling really tough and this is a little bit of a setback. We'll go back to the drawing board and make some readjustments and let the guys know we're here with them."
Down 15-3 entering the second half, Reinke provided one of the lone highlights for the Badgers as he grappled into overtime and took down 12th ranked Iowa sophomore Paul Bradley. The match was one of two that UW won in overtime during the night. UW sophomore Ed Gutnik also notched a win for UW at 133, 11-5 over Iowa junior Trent Goodale, on three impressive takedowns, but by that time, UW's fate was all but sealed.
Behind wins in seven weight classes, including one by Iowa senior Luke Eustice, a second-ranked wrestler nationally, the Hawkeyes started strong and never looked back, winning both the favored and toss-up matches.
"We came out a little flat, that's pretty much all there is to it," UW freshman Tyler Turner said. "We are a good enough team, but we just didn't show it tonight. They came out strong though, that's for sure."
After winning three straight conference matches, the Badgers have now lost three of their last four and have the daunting task of traveling to Michigan Sunday to battle the fifth-ranked Wolverines.