Hawkeyes rebound by riding out No. 3 Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The plodding pace of Friday’s 149-pound match with fifth-ranked Micah Jordan visibly frustrated Iowa junior Brandon Sorensen. A 2-0 decision in a tight dual wasn’t what he wanted.
But against Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, holding on was exactly what he and the Hawkeyes needed.
Iowa (8-2, 4-1) beat the third-ranked Buckeyes, 21-13, avoiding the first three-dual losing streak under head coach Tom Brands and wrapping up a challenging two weeks with an important win.
“This is fun,” Iowa senior Sammy Brooks said after his 5-3 comeback win at 184 pounds. “Who else gets to wrestle the other top-three teams in the country within two weeks and really see what you’re made of?”
In six match wins on Friday, Iowa eked out four decisions, including Sorensen, Brooks and redshirt freshmen Joey Gunther and Steven Holloway at 165 and 285.
After losses to No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 2 Penn State on back-to-back weekends, the Buckeyes became a must-win target in front of a home crowd of 10,338.
Sorensen set the tone by riding out Jordan for the entire third period at 149 and scoring Iowa’s go-ahead team points.
“That’s not a match I want to wrestle right there,” Sorensen said. “Not very exciting. I don’t like it. Fans don’t like it. We need to figure something out there.”
No. 3 Ohio State (8-1, 4-1) trailed out of the gate with Iowa’s Thomas Gilman scoring a technical fall at 125. The 23-8 win was imperative with Iowa’s 133-pound starter Cory Clark held out of the lineup due to a nagging shoulder injury and with No. 1 Nathan Tomasello on-deck.
Gilman topped Tomasello in two of their three meetings at the lower weight class last season, including a national semifinal.
“I was ready to wrestle Tomasello tonight,” Gilman said of a hypothetical rematch. “I would have wrestled him right after my match. It’s always fun wrestling that guy and everyone loves watching us wrestle.
“It’s always nice to have Clark in there, giving breathing room a little bit if I don’t get my job done getting bonus points. If he’s not there, I’ve still got to do my job and hope the rest of the team pulls their weight.”
Instead, Iowa reserve Phillip Laux was forced to take on the unbeaten Tomasello at 133. He limited the dual score damage by defending for a 10-3 loss.
“(Laux) did a good job slowing us down and fought really hard,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said. “We thought maybe (Clark) wouldn’t wrestle. I think that’s just good coaching by Tom (Brands) and his staff.”
After Sorensen, Iowa was more definitive in its next two decisions, including second-ranked Michael Kemerer’s major at 157. Ohio State snapped the streak after intermission with top-ranked Bo Jordan’s late takedown of Alex Meyer at 174, earning a 3-2 win.
Iowa’s Sammy Brooks responded at 184 by defeating defending national champion Myles Martin. Brooks trailed 3-0 early, but rallied and overwhelmed the sophomore late for a 5-3 victory.
“(Brooks) has gotten better at not getting rattled,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “I liked his patience, but he also had urgency.
“He’s just letting his best wrestling come.”
Any anxiety from Cash Wilcke’s major decision loss at 197 was squashed when Iowa’s Steven Holloway won heavyweight, snapping a monthlong skid to secure the home victory.
“I didn’t go out paying attention to the dual score, because if I took care of business it was all going to take care of itself,” Holloway said.
In the process, Iowa’s rare dual losing streak was stopped just short of 20 days. The fourth-ranked Hawkeyes are home next on Feb. 3 against Wisconsin.
“It just shows the perseverance of our system,” Brooks said. “If we do what the coaches have set in place for us, then good things will happen.”
IOWA 21, OHIO STATE 13
125 pounds—Thomas Gilman (Iowa) tech. fall Jose Rodriguez, 23-8
133—Nathan Tomasello (OSU) dec. Phillip Laux, 10-3
141—Luke Pletcher (OSU) dec. Topher Carton, 5-4
149—Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. Micah Jordan, 2-0
157—Michael Kemerer (Iowa) major dec. Jake Ryan, 14-3
165—Joey Gunther (Iowa) dec. Cody Burcher, 3-0
174—Bo Jordan (OSU) dec. Alex Meyer, 3-2
184—Sammy Brooks (Iowa) dec. Myles Martin, 5-3
197—Kollin Moore (OSU) major dec. Cash Wilcke, 19-7
Heavyweight—Steven Holloway (Iowa) dec. Josh Fox, 6-1