Mitch Bowman contributes to Iowa's 35-6 blowout of Rider

Hawkeye junior plans to solidify 184-pound spot

IOWA CITY — The wrestling season opened with talk that Iowa may not field its best lineup until the second half of the season.

Could be due to a new face that emerges as a starter. Maybe it is a sign of the progress to come over the course of the college wrestling season.

Right now, Mitch Bowman has staked a claim for the 184-pound spot and has produced early success. He improved to 4-0 and recorded one of seven bonus-point victories, helping the seventh-ranked Hawkeyes trounce No. 22 Rider, 35-6, Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The junior from North Scott was far from satisfied with his 15-3 victory over Michael Fagg-Daves, who is ranked as high as 20th nationally.

“I think it’s a good start to the season, right now,” Bowman said. “Like (Iowa Coach) Tom (Brands) said earlier, I kind of faded at the 5 1/2, 6-minute mark and I need to keep building my conditioning (and) points … I need to keep working to get a tech there.”

“I’m feeling it, but I know he’s feeling it, too, so I need to keep building points for bonus points.”

Iowa (4-0) started the season ranked lower than normal, having to replace some key All-Americans including last year’s 184-pounder Sammy Brooks. Bowman said he feels he can be part of the formula for an improved team at the end of the year.

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“I definitely think I am,” Bowman said. “That’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to keep working toward.

“If someone steps in and tries to take the spot, I’m not going to give it to him because I feel like I’ve earned this spot. I feel like I can make a run for it in March, for sure.”

Bowman did a little bit of everything last year for Iowa, filling in at 184, 197 and even heavyweight. He said he feels comfortable at 184 and Brands might agree.

“He’ll do whatever we need him to do, but he’s at the right weight,” Brands said. “He’s able to dig himself out of a funk in his mind when things aren’t going his way and when he starts to feel it a little bit he just keeps wrestling.”

Bowman suffered a brief lapse, handling Fagg-Daves. After scoring a takedown and finishing the first period with 2:35 of riding time. Bowman took a 3-0 lead on an escape in the second and was in on a single, pulling Fagg-Daves to the center when he gave up a takedown.

Bowman responded with an escape, takedown and four nearfall for a 10-2 edge going into the third.

“You don’t relax when you’re dragging him,” Brands said. “You have to realize the guy still is a caged animal. He’s mean and he’s going to bite you, so I’ve got to be ready so he doesn’t bite me and he bit us.

“He came right back.”

Brands said Bowman hustles, even if he and the rest of the team have maximized their gas tanks. When he could have coasted to the major decision, Bowman shot and scored the last takedown with 12 seconds left.

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“I think that’s more of a mentality thing,” Bowman said. “It’s just the Iowa style. It doesn’t matter that there are 12 seconds left you want to keep building points, because later down the road that kid is going to know it’s going to be seven minutes.”

Freshman Justin Stickley sparked the Hawkeyes early, even though he took a while to catch fire. He fell behind, 6-1, surrendering four nearfall points between two takedowns to Jonathan Tropea.

Stickley stormed back for a 10-7 lead after the first period and decked Tropea in 4:36.

“Stickley dug himself out of a hole,” Brands said. “Just got back in the match with the things that he does well.”

Heavyweight Sam Stoll also improved to 4-0, adding a bookend pin to the dual. Stoll made quick work of Mauro Correnti, sticking him in just 1:27.

Brandon Sorensen (149), 157-pounder Michael Kemerer, Joey Gunther at 174 and 197-pounder Cash Wilcke earned major decisions for Iowa.

“We scored a lot of bonus points,” Brands said. “We needed bonus points.”

Brands wasn’t content with how the entire meet played out. Rider (0-1) managed eight nearfall points, including six at 141. Tyson Dippery scored eight first-period points, turning Vince Turk twice, and held on for an 8-4 victory.

“We gave up a lot of back points early,” Brands said.

AT CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA

Iowa 35, Rider 6

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

125 pounds — Justin Stickley (I) pinned Jonathan Tropea, 4:36 (3,2); 133 — Phil Laux (I) dec. Anthony Cefolo, 5-1 (1,0); 141 — Tyson Dippery (R) dec. Vince Turk, 8-4 (0,1); 149 — Brandon Sorensen (I) major dec. Gary Dinmore, 14-4 (6,0); 157 — Michael Kemerer (I) major dec. B.J. Clagon, 18-5 (4,1); 165 — Chad Walsh (R) dec. Kaleb Young, 5-4 (1,0); 174 — Joey Gunther (I) major dec. 4,0); 184 — Mitch Bowman (I) major dec. Michael Fagg-Daves, 15-3 (4,1); 197 — Cash Wilcke (I) major dec. Ethan Laird, 16-3 (4,0); Hwt. — Sam Stoll pinned Mauro Correnti, 1:27 (1,0).

MEET STATISTICS

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Takedowns — Iowa 28, Rider 5. Reversals — Iowa 2, Rider 2. Escapes — Iowa 11, Rider 17. Nearfall points — Iowa 16, Rider 8. Penalty points (awarded) — Iowa 13, Rider 0. Riding time points — Iowa 5, Rider 0. Total match points — Iowa 105, Rider 39.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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