Laux will fill in for injured Cory Clark in the Cy-Hawk dual meet this Saturday.
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Third-ranked Iowa will be without two-time All-American Cory Clark for the second straight week in this Saturday’s dual meet against Iowa State.
Clark wasn’t listed in Iowa’s probable Cy-Hawk lineup in the 133-pound slot. As he did last week against No. 20 South Dakota State, junior Phillip Laux (6-4) will fill in for Clark, who’s rehabbing from an undisclosed injury.
‘“Phil Laux is our next man in at that weight, and we love what he’s about,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “In the sport of wrestling, injuries are something that you deal with pretty much on a daily basis. And you have to have a lot of depth, and you have to have guys’ mentalities ready that anything can happen.
“When the opportunity shines on you, be ready. And Phil Laux embraces that.”
Laux was a two-time state champion at Iowa City West. He’s slated to wrestle against Iowa State All-American Earl Hall (8-3). Clark, the country’s No. 1 133-pounder, had traditionally owned matches against his Cyclone rival.
Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson called Hall out earlier this week, saying he was “frustrated with his effort in matches this season.” So expect Hall to come at Laux with … extra motivation.
Laux lost by technical fall to SDSU’s Seth Gross, InterMat Wrestling’s fifth-ranked 133-pounder. Hall is 10th in the same rankings.
“It’s an opportunity I have to take advantage of,” Laux said. “I didn’t do a very good job of that last weekend, and obviously, you all saw that. So I’ve just got to come ready to go and take advantage of the opportunity that’s been presented before me.”
Brands stressed how important it is for backups such as Laux to seize an opportunity like wrestling in the Cy-Hawk dual meet.
“I think it’s better. It’s maybe more attention, more chance to shine,” Brands said. “When you’re a competitor, you want a competitive match, you want a competitive arena, you want fans watching you. He has a great opportunity right now.
“You don’t get many opportunities in college athletics to wrestle in front of your home crowd, and especially if you’re behind a guy like Cory Clark. But it’s how you train every day, and that’s why we’re comfortable with Phil Laux, absolutely.”
Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands is confident in Phillip Laux, who will fill in for injured Cory Clark against Iowa State.
Laux originally attended Wisconsin before transferring to Iowa to start wrestling for the Hawkeyes in 2013-14, when he went 23-1 at 125 pounds. He posted a 3-3 record at 125 and 133 pounds last year.
He said he was told the day after the SDSU meet that he’d be competing against Iowa State.
“It’s exciting. We’re a Hawkeye state,” Laux said. “I have a lot of friends that go to Iowa State, and this is a big dual. It’s going to be fun to be a part of.”
'Let's give them no hope'
Deja vu occurs often in the Cy-Hawk series, regardless of the sport. Many of these student-athletes played together or competed against each other in high school.
For junior Brandon Sorensen, Saturday’s match against Iowa State’s Chase Straw (12-5) is a rematch of the 2013 Class 2A 145-pound state semifinals. Then an undefeated senior at Denver-Tripoli, top-ranked Sorensen earned a 7-3 decision over second-ranked Straw, who went to Independence.
But familiar faces don’t matter much to Sorensen (9-0). He takes a No. 2 ranking at 149 pounds into this dual.
“I don’t know if it’s a whole lot different,” he said. “It’s another meet; you get up for it. It’s always good to see the Hawkeyes come away with it.”
The Hawkeyes sure have come away with it a lot. They own the all-time series against Iowa State 62-16-2 and have won the past 12 meetings.
“Let’s keep it that way,” Sorensen said. “Let’s give them no hope, and let’s keep the score lopsided.”
Bain covers the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
The Hawkeye senior was very confident Iowa will beat Iowa State this Saturday.