The Iowa-Ohio State wrestling rivalry has been very one-sided over the years. The Hawks have won several national championships, while Ohio State is putting more of its efforts to football and basketball.
When the two teams face off against each other again at 3 p.m. Saturday in Carver Hawkeye Arena, the No. 8 Hawks are expected to once again roll past the Buckeyes to an easy win.
Iowa had its consecutive dual wins streak stopped at 69 this past weekend when the Hawks tied No. 6 Oklahoma State, 15-15. But the Hawks still have not been defeated in 70 straight duals. And they lead the series over Ohio State, 35-2, and Iowa has won 33 straight dual matches in the series.
The Hawks are coming off three straight national championships but are much younger than those three teams. And they are trying to figure out where they stack up against the nation’s best programs. They were not expected to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma, but Iowa proved to be strong as a tie also was not expected.
The Hawks are ranked in eight of the 10 weight classes but only two wrestlers are ranked in the top 10, with sophomore and defending champion Matt McDonough ranked No. 3 at 125 and Tyler Clark ranked No. 10 at 133. McDonough suffered his first loss at the Midlands Championship earlier this season and is 13-1 on the season, while Clark is 5-3.
Redshirt freshman Derek St. John is 10-2 at 157, while senior Aaron Janssen is 15-3 at 165, redshirt freshman Ethen Lofthouse is 11-4 at 174 and sophomore Grant Gambrall is 11-4 at 184. Senior Luke Lofthouse is 10-3 at 197, while junior Blake Rasing is 9-3 at heavyweight.
Ohio State (2-5, 1-1 in Big Ten) features just three ranked wrestlers. OSU senior Colt Sponsellor is No. 9 and 13-3 at 165, while redshirt freshman Nick Heflin (15-3) is ranked No. 13 at 174 and Ian Paddock (15-4) is ranked No. 15 at 133. Only two other wrestlers expected to be in the starting lineup have winning records for the Buckeyes.
That means the featured matches on Saturday afternoon will take place at 133, 165 and 174. The other seven matches should favor Iowa heavily.
Iowa won last year’s meeting 32-3, and the Hawks are 13-1 all-time at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The only two wins in the series for Ohio State were captured in 1929 and 1966. Also, Iowa has won its last 30 duals at Carver Hawkeye Arena, a streak that is fourth best in school history.
Despite being unbeaten at 8-0-1, the Hawks still have a lot to prove the nation. Iowa comes in this week ranked No. 8, while Oklahoma State — a team that just tied Iowa at home — comes in at sixth. There also are three Big Ten Conference programs ranked ahead of the three-time defending national champion Hawkeyes.
The 3 p.m. dual against Ohio State on Saturday is the “Gold Rush” dual of the season. Fans in attendance are encouraged to paint the Carver Hawkeye Arena stands with their yellow attire. Tickets are $13 for adults, $7 for youth and $2 for children aged 5 and under if purchased in advance. The tickets climb to 15-8-2 if purchased at the door.