Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa wrestler Tony Ramos was asked after the Hawkeyes' latest win over rival Iowa State if he's the best 133-pounder in the country.
Ramos didn't hesitate to say he was and coach Tom Brands loved it.
The Hawkeyes had every right to be cocky after another decisive dual-meet victory over the hated Cyclones.
Iowa's top-ranked wrestling team won its first five matches for an overall 27-9 triumph on Sunday. Ramos and Derek St. John had pins to lead the Hawkeyes (5-0), who have won eight straight over the Cyclones.
"I believe I'm the best. You can't go at it any other way. (Coach) Tom (Brands) tells us all the time that it's tough guys and tough competition but it doesn't have to be close," Ramos said.
It usually isn't for Iowa, which hasn't lost in 82 consecutive duals and is two wins away from tying Oklahoma State's record of 84 straight without a defeat set from 1959-66.
Andrew Sorenson was one of three wrestlers to post wins for Iowa State (0-6).
"I'm a little disappointed," Iowa State coach Kevin Jackson said. "Just disappointed that the guys didn't compete better."
This was expected to be one of the most lopsided Iowa-Iowa State dual meets in some time. The rebuilding Cyclones had yet to notch a win, and the Hawkeyes had yet to lose.
The matchup seemed to be over by intermission, but Iowa State rallied with three straight wins in the heavier weight classes.
The Cyclones, who trailed 22-0, finally got on the board at 165 pounds when Sorenson narrowly got past Michael Evans, 4-3.
Iowa State's Chris Spangler upset the Hawkeyes' Ethen Lofthouse 8-5 with a strong final period at 174 pounds, and 184-pounder Boaz Beard used a 1:00 advantage in riding time to get past Iowa's Vinnie Wagner, 10-9.
The Hawkeyes clinched the meet at 197 pounds, as Tomas Lira survived a spirited match with Iowa State's Cole Shafer for a 10-6 decision. Heavyweight Bobby Telford gave the Hawkeyes seven of the 10 matches with his 9-3 decision over Matt Gibson.
Lira was wrestling in place of junior Grant Gambrall, whom Brands is working his way back into the lineup after suffering a concussion.
"He's got a big motor. He just goes and goes and goes. We've just got to keep him going in the right direction," Brands said of Lira.
Early on, it looked as if Iowa might threaten to break its record 31-point win over Iowa State 20 years ago.
Iowa's Matt McDonough, the 2010 national champion and one of four returning All-Americans for the Hawkeyes, opened the meet with a 6-0 decision over Ryak Finch at 125 pounds.
Iowa State's 133-pounder Shayden Terukina opened with a surprising early takedown of Ramos, but it took just 4:32 for Ramos to notch the pin. Two-time All-American Montell Marion easily handled winless Luke Goettl 17-5 at 141 pounds, and Iowa teammate Mark Ballweg tossed freshman Joe Cozart to the mat in overtime for the win.
St. John, a serious national title contender at 157 pounds, pinned Michael Moreno in 4:38, giving the Hawkeyes a 22-0 lead at intermission.
Iowa State remains winless in part because it's still dealing with coach Cael Sanderson's jump to Penn State in 2009. The first five wrestlers coach Kevin Jackson sent to the mat were freshmen, and they all got beat.
Jackson said Sunday that he's leaned on the school's sports psychologist in an effort to keep his young team's head in check.
"Just to be reminded that they are freshmen and that it is a long season," Jackson said. "We got to continue to motivate them to connect to the things in the way that we need them to wrestle."
Iowa had won the three previous titles from 2008-10 under coach Tom Brands. The Hawkeyes finished third in 2011, but they appear primed for another run at the national crown next March in St. Louis.
''It's always heated," Brands said. "There's always intensity. This is a tough sport. It's about intensity. We don't change as we get into different parts of the schedule or have different opponents. We really don't have that option."