ON THE MAT
The University of Iowa wrestling team opens the 2012-13 season Friday with three duals on the campus of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Hawkeyes wrestle three consecutive duals beginning at 2:30 p.m. (CT) vs. Cumberland (Tenn.). Iowa faces No. 20 Virginia at 4 p.m. (CT) before facing host Tennessee-Chattanooga at 6 p.m. All three duals will be contested inside Maclellan Gym.
FIRST ONE IS A BIG ONE
The Hawkeyes have won their first dual meet of the year in 55 consecutive season. Since 1910-11, Iowa owns an 87-11-4 record in the first dual of the season. The Hawkeyes haven't lost their first dual of the season since dropping a 14-12 decision to Oklahoma in 1956-57.
AN UNCOMMON DUAL OCCURANCE
The 2012-13 season is only the second time during the Tom Brands era the Hawkeyes have opened the season with a dual meet. Since 2006, the Hawkeyes have opened the season at an open tournament five times. The Hawkeyes last opened the season with a dual meet in 2010-11, a 45-0 win over Iowa Central CC.
MCDONOUGH STREAK HITS 28
Senior Matt McDonough finished the season with a NCAA title and a 28-match winning streak, his longest streak since winning 32 in a row to start the 2009-10 season. McDonough's last loss was an 11-7 overtime decision to Illinois' Jesse Delgado (Dec. 2, 2011). He has since defeated Delgado twice -- first at the National Duals tournament (6-3) and most recently in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament (4-3).
RAMOS IS DUAL DOMINANT
Junior Tony Ramos recorded five falls, four major decisions and three technical falls in 18 duals last season, racking up a team-high 74 points and a 17-1 dual record. He has just one loss in 30 career duals.
BALLWEG IS BACK AT 141
Senior Mark Ballweg is back in the dual lineup for the first time since 2010-11. Ballweg opened that season as Iowa's starting 141-pounder and wrestled his way to a 15-3 record that included seven falls. He has won his last 14 bouts and owns a career record of 25-3 at 141 pounds.
THE NEW KID IN TOWN
Brody Grothus is the only wrestler listed at 149 pounds among Iowa's probables, which means he's likely to make his collegiate debut this week. Grothus, the only redshirt freshman in the probable lineup, earned an 18-6 record wrestling unattached at 149 last season. He won his first seven decisions last season, including the title at the Lindenwood Open, and totaled nine pins. He was also the winner of the preseason intrasquad wrestle-offs.
MOUNT ST. JOHN
Derek St. John was the last of the unbeaten last season. He won his first 11 decisions before suffering a knee injury on Dec. 8. He returned to the lineup on Jan. 20 and finished the season with a 21-3 mark that included a 157-pound Big Ten title and a NCAA runner-up finish.
Sophomore Mike Evans returns to the 165-pound lineup following a 26-8 redshirt freshman campaign that saw him total 15 bonus point victories. In dual competition last season, Evans racked up 61 points in 14 victories, an average of 4.38 points per dual win, more than any other Hawkeye.
THE OLE SWITCHEROO
Senior Grant Gambrall, an All-American at 184 in 2011, and junior Ethen Lofthouse, an All-American at 174 in 2012, are flip-flopping weight classes in 2012-13. This weekend, Gambrall will make his 174 pound career debut and Lofthouse will make his first career appearance at 184.
THE BIG GUY IS BACK
Sophomore Bobby Telford returns to the 285-pound lineup following an All-American freshman season. He totaled 29 wins last year, the fourth highest total on the team, and nine pins, second only to McDonough's 12.
MCDONOUGH AMONG THE BEST
Senior Matt McDonough owns a career record of 100-4. His .962 winning percentage ranks fourth in program history among wrestlers with a minimum 95 decisions. Iowa's top wrestlers in program history based on winning percentage include: 1. T.J. Williams (98-1-0) .990
2. Brent Metcalf (108-3-0) .972
3. Lincoln McIlravy (96-3-0) .970
4. Matt McDonough (100-4) .962
5. Tom Brands (158-7-2) .952
6. Terry Brands (137-7) .951
THREE WITH AN EYE ON FOUR
Senior Matt McDonough is a three-time NCAA finalist. He won NCAA titles in 2010 and 2012, and finished runner-up in 2011. With a top eight finish at the 2013 NCAA tournament, McDonough would become the 18th four-time All-American in school history. With a trip to the finals he'd become join Ed Banach, Duane Goldman and Lincoln McIlravy as the school's only four-time NCAA finalist. A third national title would make McDonough the seventh wrestler in school history to earn three NCAA Championships (Ed Banach, Tom Brands, Barry Davis, Lincoln McIlravy, Joe Williams, Jim Zalesky).
TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA 10 YEARS LATER
Associate head coach Terry Brands was named the head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2002. He served as the head coach of the Mocs for three seasons, leading the team to the 2005 Southern Conference title while crowning three conference champs and two All-Americans in his final season.
Season and single-meet tickets are now available for purchase on hawkeyesports.com. Season tickets for eight home dates (including the Iowa City Duals) are available for $85. Single-meet tickets for Iowa City Duals (11/24), Lehigh (12/6), Purdue (1/6), Nebraska (2/10) and Edinboro (2/16) are $12 for adults, $8 for youth, and free for kids five-years old and younger. Single-meet tickets to Iowa State (12/1), Ohio State (1/4) and Penn State (2/1) are $15 for adults, $8 for youth and $2 for kids five-years old and younger.
ATTENDANCE LEADERS AT IT AGAIN
The Hawkeyes have eight home dates on the schedule. Iowa hosted the third largest dual crowd in NCAA history (15,400) when Oklahoma State visited Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 7, 2012. In six home dates last season, the Hawkeyes averaged a national record 9,014 fans. That includes duals vs. Oklahoma State (15,400), Illinois (7,330), Northern Iowa (7,078), Northwestern (7,954), Minnesota (9,511) and Wisconsin (6,809). Iowa's 9,014 average was a national dual record. It marked the fourth straight year Iowa averaged over 8,000 fans per dual and the sixth straight season the Hawkeyes were the nation's attendance leaders.
HAWKEYE WRESTLING HISTORY
Iowa's overall dual meet record is 906-219-31 (.797) in 102 seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 23 national titles and 34 Big Ten titles. Iowa's 51 NCAA Champions have won a total of 79 NCAA Individual titles, crowning six three-time and 16 two-time champions. The Hawkeyes' 105 Big Ten champions have won a total of 190 conference titles. There have been seven four-time, 18 three-time and 28 two-time Iowa winners. Iowa's 147 All-Americans have earned All-America status 297 times, including 17 four-time, 31 three-time and 37 two-time honorees.
39 YEARS OF DOMINANCE
Since 1974, only seven schools have captured the NCAA Championship. During that 38-year span, the Hawkeyes have won 23 team titles, including nine straight from 1978-86. The other schools include Oklahoma State (7), Minnesota (3), Iowa State (2), Penn State (2), Arizona State (1) and Oklahoma (1).
Eleven of Iowa's 21 dual opponents are ranked in the top 25 of the preseason NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll. They include Minnesota (1), Penn State (2), Oklahoma State (3), Ohio State (5), Illinois (6), Nebraska (9), Michigan (16), Virginia (17), Edinboro (20), Lehigh (21) and Purdue (23). Iowa's schedule includes eight home dates and three postseason events, including the NWCA National Duals (Feb. 23), the Big Ten Championships (Mar. 9-10), and NCAA Championships (Mar. 21-23).