The fourth-ranked Iowa wrestling team hosts number-five Ohio State tonight (Friday) in a Big 10 showdown. Last year, Iowa was ranked second when Ohio State won 7 of 10 matches in Columbus and beat the Hawks 21-9, ending a 34-dual losing streak to the Hawkeyes. Iowa Coach Tom Brands is expecting the Buckeyes will be fired-up for this meeting as well. Ohio State is coached by former Hawkeye wrestler Tom Ryan.
Iowa Coach Tom Brands & Assistant Terry Brands (Learfield Sports photo)
“They’re a well coached team and they’re a team that’s coming in for blood,” Brands says. “They were very fired up when we came to their town last year and now they’re coming to our town and I’m sure, without speaking for them too much, they’re wanting to do some destruction. But, we have to take care of what we can take care of…we have the same big matches that they have.” Iowa has a dual meet record of 10-0, while Ohio State is 6-0.
Brands says he challenges his wrestlers to “get better every day,” so he’s expecting the best outing from his team yet this season. “This is the biggest thing up to this point,” Brands said of the dual with Ohio State. “Nothing’s bigger behind us, that’s for sure. That doesn’t matter. The national tournament last year isn’t bigger – it’s over.” The match at 133 pounds will feature the top two ranked wrestlers in the nation at that weight class. Ohio State sophomore Logan Stieber the defending national champion at 133, beat Iowa’s Tony Ramos three times last season. The second-ranked Ramos is looking forward to another shot at the top-ranked Buckeye.
“It’s something I’ve been focused on since the end of last year,” Ramos said. “You have to prepare for every match the same, but we’ve focused a bit more on certain areas or techniques that we’re trying to fine tune or sharpen up before Friday night.” Ramos, a junior who’s 10-0 this season with five pins, was asked about his relationship with Stieber. “I don’t know how he feels about me, but I don’t like anyone who is at my weight or anyone from a different team,” Ramos said. “Is there respect? Yes, there’s respect. Do I like him? No. Am I going to go out there and try and put my will on him and try to break him? Yes. So, that’s pretty much the relationship I see between us.”
The Iowa/Ohio State dual is set for 7:00 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’ll be televised live by the Big Ten Network. Iowa will also host Purdue for a dual in Iowa City on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Iowa State wrestles at #10 Oklahoma this weekend, while Northern Iowa hosts Iowa Western Community College. Both of those duals begin at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.