IOWA CITY — Sunday marks the 82nd meeting between the Iowa and Iowa State wrestling teams.
The Hawkeyes own a commanding 63-16-2 series lead and have won 13 straight matchups.
That begs the question. Is this still a rivalry?
Iowa Coach Tom Brands, who is 12-0 in the series, said yes.
“The rivalry is important because you’re after the same real estate,” he said. “Not just local real estate, but national real estate.
“You look at where they want to go. You look at where we want to go. It’s the same place.”
That is especially true these days after Iowa State made a coaching change before the end of last season, hiring Kevin Dresser away from Virginia Tech. Dresser, a 1986 NCAA champion for the Hawkeyes, promptly changed the atmosphere in the Cyclone wrestling room and hired three assistants who all made their mark in Iowa City — Mike Zadick, Derek St. John and Brent Metcalf.
Zadick was a three-time All-American, St. John a four-time All-American and 2013 NCAA champion, and Metcalf was a three-time NCAA finalist and two-time champion.
All wore black-and-gold singlets at the time.
“A lot of good memories,” Brands said when talking about the Cyclones’ staff. “Some of the best Hawkeye performances came from that group. Two of those guys we coached to national titles. Three of the four coaches got national championships from Iowa.
“That’s a tribute to our program.”
And could, eventually, make this rivalry at lot more interesting.
“I think they did a good job of picking some dang good coaches,” Brand said.
But, he said, it won’t cause any distractions Sunday.
“I think it will bring more fans,” said Iowa senior Brandon Sorensen, who is 18-1 and ranked second nationally at 149 pounds. “Metcalf was here. He was a good training partner for me, freshman and sophomore years, early years. He was a good guy, but being singularly focused, focusing on yourself, focusing on your match, going out and doing your job to win the Cy-Hawk series.”
Iowa’s lineup also includes third-ranked Spencer Lee (13-1) at 125, No. 2 Michael Kemerer (19-0) at 157, No. 2 Alex Marinelli (13-0) at 165, eighth-ranked Cash Wilcke (15-4) at 197 and No. 5 Sam Stoll (15-2) at heavyweight.
Iowa State’s only ranked wrestler is No. 18 Ian Parker (17-6) at 141.
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“From my perspective, our focus is always on our guys and it always has been,” Brands said, without mentioning the postseason push starts Monday with the Big Ten Championships up next March 3-4. “We’ve got a lot on our plate.”
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