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No. 1 Hawkeyes dominate in 40-3 rout of Bucknell

IOWA CITY — Far too often in sporting events, expectations are not met. Predicted blowouts are nail-biters or worse, upsets.

Last night before 5,525 college wrestling fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, top-ranked Iowa did what it was supposed to do against a Bucknell team that now stands 8-8 in duals and is unranked.

The Hawkeyes dominated in every possible way.

Takedowns? Iowa had 32, Bucknell 1. Nearfall points? Iowa 12, the Bison 0. Total match points? Iowa 91, the visitors from Lewisburg, Pa., 28.

The score? Iowa 40, Bucknell 3.

How do you spell domination?

“It was fun,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said after the Hawkeyes improved to 18-0 with their 32nd consecutive victory. “It’s business as usual.”

Iowa won nine of the 10 bouts, losing only at 174 pounds where All-American Jay Borschel didn’t dress after having arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week. Colby Covington filled in and lost, 7-2, to Shane Riccio, the only Bison to score a takedown last night.

Alex Tsirtsis (18-2) at 141 and Brent Metcalf (23-0) at 149 won by pin for Iowa, Chad Beatty (10-3) at 197 by technical fall, and Daniel Dennis (19-2) at 133, Matt Ballweg (10-10) at 157 and Phillip Keddy (21-1) at 184 by major decision.

That’s six bonus victories. That’s domination.

“You never want to go out there and underperform,” Keddy said, adding a dual against a team like Bucknell is “an opportunity to prove yourself and go out there and showcase your ability.”

Keddy, however, was one of two wrestlers Brands was disappointed in last night. He came up one point short of a technical fall. Charlie Falck won at 125, but was two points short of a major decision.

“We have to manage that scoreboard at ’25 and ’84,” Brands said. “That’s big. You’ve got to get those bonus points.”

Falck (15-1) opened the dual with a 9-3 win over Derek Reber, then Dennis scored six takedowns in a 14-4 win over 20th-ranked David Marble. Tsirtsis and Metcalf followed with pins, Tsirtsis in 1 minute, 22 seconds and Metcalf in 4:20.

“Daniel Dennis is out there like a lumberjack and then right after that match you have precision bomber (Tsirtsis) come in, a technical bomber come in,” Brands said. “A lot of contrast, but the result is the same. You’re putting guys down hard.”

Tsirtsis was wrestling four days after having a wisdom tooth removed. He didn’t wrestle much all week, but made the decision to go on Thursday.

“A little bit,” he said when asked if his mouth still hurt. “But you’ve got to deal with that.”

He laughed when it was suggested it was beneficial the bout ended quickly, considering his lack of preparation last week.

“I would have been fine no matter what,” he said.

After Ballweg scored an 8-0 win over Tyler Riccio, Ryan Morningstar (20-3) nipped 15th-ranked Andy Rendos, 2-1, thanks to a stalling call and escape in the third period.

Keddy then scored three takedowns in a 14-0 win over David Thompson and Beatty used 13 takedowns in his 26-11 technical fall over Rob Waltko.

“You’ve got to take every opponent the same,” Tsirtsis said.

“Everybody’s got something,” Keddy said.

Iowa, apparently, has a lot more.

By J.R. Ogden

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