Rejuvenated by a dominant performance at the Midlands Championships, the Iowa wrestling team will try to build on that success in duals against Purdue and Michigan State on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Purdue is hosting today’s dual, but it’ll be held at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School in Bradley, Ill., instead of on the Purdue campus as a way to promote the sport of wrestling. The Boilermakers also will host a meet for younger wrestling club members at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School with at least 20 teams competing.
Iowa has a 38-4-3 record against Purdue and has won the last 26 meetings between the two schools. The Hawkeyes haven’t lost to Purdue on the road since dropping a 16-10 decision in 1954.
Iowa will face Michigan State at 7 p.m. Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa has won five consecutive matches against Michigan State and has a 35-15-2 advantage in the series.
Iowa had three wrestlers crowned as champions at the Midlands event Monday and scored a tournament-record 187½ points. Freshman Thomas Gilman marched to the title at 125 pounds by defeating defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado in the semifinals and defending Midlands champion Jarrod Garnett in the title match.
Gilman was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the first time Monday. Earning the award was a dramatic change from where the Council Bluffs native was just a few weeks ago as the backup to Cory Clark at 125.
Gilman was inserted into the lineup for the Penn State match on Dec. 21 because Iowa coach Tom Brands said Gilman was a better option on a one-hour weigh-in recovery.
“I’ve got the skills, I’ve got the attitude, it’s just a matter of putting it all out there every time,” Gilman said after winning the Midlands title.
Also winning titles for Iowa at the Midlands were senior Derek St. John at 157 pounds and junior Mike Evans at 174 pounds. St. John, who graduated from West High, has won a team-best 24 consecutive matches and is the defending NCAA champion at 157 pounds.
Iowa’s dominance at the Midlands came on the heels of a disappointing performance against top-ranked Penn State a week earlier. The Nittany Lions won seven of 10 matches and defeated Iowa 24-12 on Dec. 21 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.