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Penn State-Iowa: Breaking down each weight matchup

[ 0 ] December 20, 2013 |

The third-ranked Iowa and top-ranked Penn State wrestling teams square off in a dual meet Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Andy Hamilton of The Des Moines Register breaks down each weight matchup.

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PROBABLE MATCHUPS (W.I.N. rankings, Iowa wrestler listed first)

125 – No. 5 Cory Clark (9-0) vs. No. 3 Nico Megaludis (10-1)

Hawkeyes need to start fast to energize the home crowd. A Clark win against a two-time NCAA runner-up would get Carver-Hawkeye Arena rocking. Finishing shots quickly and cleanly is critical for the Iowa freshman against one of college wrestling’s most flexible opponents.

Second-ranked Ethen Lofthouse, pictured, of Iowa will face top-ranked Ed Ruth of Penn State at 184 pounds on Saturday night. (Bryon Houlgrave / The Register)

Second-ranked Ethen Lofthouse, pictured, of Iowa will face top-ranked Ed Ruth of Penn State at 184 pounds on Saturday night. (Bryon Houlgrave / The Register)

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133 – No. 1 Tony Ramos (8-1) vs. Jimmy Gulibon (4-5)

Ramos ignited a 10-0 start for the Hawkeyes last year with a fall against Jordan Conaway, who is also listed as a possible starter. Gulibon is off to a slow start during his freshman season, but his pedigree includes four Pennsylvania high school titles. This is Iowa’s best opportunity for bonus points.

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141 – No. 17 Josh Dziewa (10-1) vs. No. 4 Zain Retherford (11-0)

Retherford is coming off a stunning 4-2 overtime win Sunday against Ohio State two-time national champion Logan Stieber. Though the true freshman hasn’t stepped into a road environment like Carver-Hawkeye Arena in college, he’s a Cadet World champion with strong top-position skills. This battle between Pennsylvania preps could be won on the ground and in scrambles.

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149 – Michael Kelly (9-1) vs. Zack Beitz (6-4)

The Hawkeyes desperately need someone to solve a weight where they haven’t had an NCAA qualifier since Brent Metcalf’s graduation in 2010. Though Andrew Alton and his 157-pound brother, Dylan, have been cleared to make their season debut, Cael Sanderson said he wants to ease the twins back into the lineup. Beitz is coming off a victory Sunday against Ohio State’s Ian Paddock.

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157 – No. 1 Derek St. John (11-0) vs. James Vollrath (8-3)

St. John won a last-minute scramble in last year’s dual to beat Dylan Alton 4-3. Though sixth-ranked Alton is listed as a possible starter, all signs indicate the Nittany Lions will use Vollrath, who is no run-of-the-mill reserve. The senior topped Oklahoma State standout Alex Dieringer last year on his way to the finals of the Southern Scuffle.

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165 – No. 5 Nick Moore (5-0) vs. No. 1 David Taylor (11-0)

Taylor’s 111-3 career record is impressive by itself, but it’s his 104 bonus-point victories that put him in a class with college wrestling’s all-time elites. He notched two technical falls last year against Moore. Taylor’s persistent low-level attacks make him difficult to defend on his feet, but he racked up most of his points last year against Moore in bunches on top.

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174 – No. 6 Mike Evans (11-0) vs. No. 3 Matt Brown (11-0)

Evans kept his unbeaten home record intact last year virtually by a shoestring. Oh the verge of giving up a takedown, he grabbed onto the end of Brown’s shoe and gradually worked himself into a better position before finishing a takedown that sparked his 4-3 win. Brown evened the series with a 7-3 win in the Big Ten finals, pancaking Evans to his back early after the Hawkeye took a bad shot. This is one of the key bouts that could determine the dual winner.

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184 – No. 2 Ethen Lofthouse (10-0) vs. No. 1 Ed Ruth (11-0)

This would probably be the dual’s most-anticipated bout if their recent history resembled their 2011 Big Ten semifinal bout when Lofthouse had Ruth on the ropes before the Nittany Lion escaped with a 3-2 win. But the two-time NCAA champ comes in with 79 straight victories and a 4-0 career record against Lofthouse, including major decisions in their last two meetings.

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197 – No. 13 Nathan Burak (0-0) vs. No. 7 Morgan McIntosh (10-0)

An undisclosed injury kept Burak out of competition throughout the first month of the season, and there’s a chance Iowa could go with 184-pound freshman Sam Brooks here. McIntosh has dealt with ailments of his own and sat out Sunday against Ohio State. This ranks alongside 149 as the biggest mystery weights of the dual.

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Hwt. – No. 3 Bobby Telford (6-0) vs. No. 10 Jimmy Lawson (10-0)

Telford sealed Iowa’s victory last year with a 9-2 win against Jon Gingrich in the last match. The Iowa junior’s mat time has been limited by an early-season injury that forced him to sit out nearly a month before he returned last week with a major decision against Buffalo. Lawson was an NCAA qualifier last year in his first season of college wrestling. The former top high school prospect spent the previous two years playing football at Monmouth University.

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Category: Wrestling

About Andy Hamilton: University of Iowa graduate Andy Hamilton is originally from Williams, Iowa, and started at the Des Moines Register in August after 12 years at the Press-Citizen. He covers wrestling for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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