It is always a point of pride when your JV kids are beating up the other team’s varsity.
That’s what happened this weekend when Iowa freshman Cory Clark beat Jesse Delgado of Illinois 6-1 in the championship at 125 pounds at the UNI Open. Delgado is ranked No. 2 in the country at 125.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “We’re not too surprised and we expect that.”
Clark is 9-0 this season wrestling unattached.
“I’ve wrestled with him, I wasn’t too surpirsed by it,” said Iowa’s undefeated and third-ranked 133-pounder Tony Ramos. “He’s a tough guy. We’ve just got a real tough guy there right now. He’d probably be starting anywhere else.”
Iowa features two-time NCAA Champion Matt McDonough at 125 pounds. McDonough is 7-0 and ranked No. 1.
The Hawkeyes also have true freshman Thomas Gilman (14-3) at 125 pounds. Brands said the two freshmen have brought new challenges in the wrestling room for McDonough, a senior.
“What McDonough realized right away when Clark and Gilman came into this wrestling room is that they’re a different type of freshmen. They are wired a little bit differently,” Brands said. “And it’s a good template for any freshmen. Go out and wrestle. You’re Division I now.”
Clark said Tuesday he realizes that the work he’s putting in the room against McDonough, Gilman and others is paying off, too.
“When you are going through tough times in here, and you go out on the mat, and beat someone, you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing,” said Clark, a Southeast Polk grad. “It feels good to know I can compete with anybody.”
ST. JOHN HONORED: Junior Derek St. John was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week, it was announced Tuesday.
The top-ranked wrestler at 157 pound beat Lehigh’s fourth-ranked Joey Napoli 6-0. St. John is 7-0 on the season.
“He’s wrestled well and we want to keep him wrestling well,” Brands said. “I don’t know if that guy from Lehigh knew where he was on the mat.”
No. 5 Iowa (7-0) returns to action on Sunday as part of the Grapple At The Garden at Maidson Square Garden in New York. Iowa faces Hofstra (0-9) and Bucknell (2-1).
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their Big Ten opener on Jan. 4 against No. 4 Ohio State (3-0).