116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY – Cory Clark is not wrestling and will miss his second straight dual.
Phil Laux will step in at 133 pounds for the three-time All-American and two-time national finalist against rival Iowa State this weekend. How long this will continue remains to be seen.
'It's an opportunity I have to take advantage of,' said Laux, a two-time state champion from Iowa City West. 'I didn't do a very good job of that last weekend.
'I just have to come ready to go and take advantage of the opportunity that's been presented before me.'
Laux is listed as the starter for third-ranked Iowa's dual against in-state rival Iowa State Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, beginning at 7 p.m. He is expected to face Cyclone All-American senior Earl Hall (8-3).
Clark did not wrestle in last week's dual at South Dakota State. He is out with an undisclosed injury. Brands touched on his current status and reiterated his philosophy on wrestlers returning from injury.
'He's a tough customer,' Brands said. 'He could go yesterday.
'We're aggressive in our rehab. Conservative in our approach to competition.'
Laux (6-4) shared when he received notice that he would be stepping in for these two duals and he isn't sure how long it will last.
'A couple days before the SDSU dual,' Laux said, 'and then the next day for this one. I don't have a timetable.'
Brands expressed confidence in Laux, who lost by technical fall to SDSU's fifth-ranked Seth Gross. Injuries are a daily issue in wrestling. Laux has prepared as if his chance would come anytime and that is what has impressed Brands.
'It's like the vice president,' Brands said. 'You're a heartbeat away.
'If you can train with that and embrace your role as a backup, you know what, you're going to be in good position to be able to do some great things when you're called upon or if you're called upon.'
Laux, a junior in eligibility, was recruited and originally attended Wisconsin. He transferred to Iowa. He has two seasons under his belt and he's spent a lot of time scrapping with Clark and top-ranked 125-pounder Thomas Gilman to ready him for this chance.
'When you're younger, first coming into the program, it's probably hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel,' Laux said. 'You just have to come each and every day, open dialogue with the coaches and understand it's an opportunity and a privilege to have the training partners and coaches that I do have because they are the best in the country, the best in the world.'
Hall (8-3) is ranked 14th by trackwrestling.com. Laux learned a few lessons in that previous match that he will need to correct in his first Cy-Hawk dual.
'I've got to wrestle through positions,' Laux said. 'I've got to come ready to go. I've got to be stingy. Got to come ready to wrestle.'
Marinelli weighs in
Highly-touted freshman Alex Marinelli made the trip to Brookings, S.D., last week. He watched the Hawkeyes beat 20th-ranked South Dakota State, but not until after he weighed in before the dual.
Marinelli remains in redshirt, but there has been talk about whether he may officially compete this season. This could be a sign that he could be getting used to the quick turnaround of a one-hour weigh-in, or just an exercise.
'We've got to make sure he's practicing his weigh-in routine and staying down to weight,' Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. 'He's a disciplined guy, so we're not too worried about it.'
Both Joey Gunther (9-0) and Marinelli (4-0) are listed on the Hawkeyes' probably lineup for Saturday's Iowa State dual. Brands said that he would likely weigh in again this week. The option remains available.
'We'll weigh him in this weekend as well,' Brands said. 'I'll give you a wink there. You never know what you're going to do. You never know.'
Poll picks Iowa
Iowa has won the last 12 meetings against Iowa State and own a 62-16-2 edge in the Cy-Hawk Series. Social media has picked the Hawkeyes to retain the Dan Gable Travelling Trophy.
In a 24-hour Twitter poll earlier this week, 316 accounts responded to a list of four choices – Iowa wins by blowout, Iowa wins a close dual, Iowa State wins by blowout and Iowa State wins a close one. Ninety-five percent (about 300) picked Iowa to win, including 85 percent (about 268 votes) with Iowa winning by a big margin. Just 5 percent picked the Cyclones, including 3 percent in a close result.
It's Iowa vs. Iowa State wrestling week. What's going to happen?December 5, 2016
It's Iowa vs. Iowa State wrestling week. What's going to happen?
— K.J. Pilcher (@kjpilcher)
'They like their young guys,' Brands said of ISU. 'They've been a little bit like us where they've been missing some guys at some weights. I think they are putting together their best team or their best solid lineup for this weekend. They'll do what they do best and that's get their team ready to go.'
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