The Hawkeyes are heading to Broadway and Tom Brands wants Iowa wrestling to put on a show.
Iowa takes part in the Grapple at the Garden today, a 14-team throwdown in New York City. Iowa takes on Hofstra at 9:30 a.m. and Bucknell at 11:30 a.m.
“Exposure (of the sport) that’s good,” Brands said. “To me, its about us there. Now we’re on the world stage. Let’s go out and do something exciting.”
Brands and the rest of the Hawkeyes want to take the opportunity to turn residents of the Big Apple into Iowa wrestling fans.
And to do that, they have to wrestle the Iowa way.
“We’ve got to show that wrestling is a real exciting sport,” junior Tony Ramos said. “It can be real intense and not just boring and hanging around.
“We want to show (our style) off real bad. We want people in New York talking about us. We want them to want us back.”
The “Iowa way” is to attack every second of every period, no matter what the score is. It’s not enough to win, but to win big and by a lot of points.
“Every time we’re on the mat, we want to represent ourselves,” assistant coach Ryan Morningstar said. “What the program is founded on is a hard-nosed style of wrestling.”
Morningstar is Iowa’s recruiting coordinator and the Hawkeyes want to remain a team that recruits from coast to coast and looks for “guys we feel fit the mold and can succeed in this wrestling room,” he said.
So part of the trip is to win a couple duals and another is to put down a footprint on the East Coast. Penn State is ranked No. 1, and the Big Ten will soon be adding Rutgers and No. 18 Maryland to its ranks.
“It’s good to showcase what we have in our room on the East Coast, because we don’t get out here too often,” Morningstar said.
Brands said the Grapple at the Garden was something that made sense after the Big Ten set its schedule and Iowa decided not to take its full team to the Midlands Tournament next week.
“Our reaction was, it’s a good event. When the Madison Square Garden people call, it’s a good thing,” Brands said.
And the event, featuring 14 schools — including Drexel, George Mason, Rutgers, Nebraska, Iowa, Hofstra, Ohio State, Maryland, Cornell, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Chattagnooga — as well as New York high school wrestlers, is a chance to promote the sport of wrestling.
“We always talk about promoting wrestling,” Brands said. “We have to have national duals. All these different magic wands.
“Really it’s about putting a high-powered team out on the mat that goes out, and everyone is trying to score points up and down the lineup.
“When you are capable of scoring 12 points, score 12 points. Don’t get conservative because you scored a takedown and win 3-2.”
Iowa stays on the East Coast and wrestles at Buffalo (0-1) at 6 p.m. Monday at Alumni Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.