Iowa men’s wrestling overcomes scheduling changes, beats Army, 36-7

The Hawkeyes were originally slated to wrestle Oregon State this weekend.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa head coach Tom Brands watches his team during a wrestling meet between No. 1 Iowa and Army at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Black Knights 36-7.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa men’s wrestling downed Army, 36-7, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday. Though, the Hawkeyes weren’t even scheduled to wrestle the Black Knights at all this season.

The only opponent on Iowa’s schedule for this week was Oregon State. The Hawkeyes and Beavers were supposed to square off at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Oregon State encountered travel issues as it tried to make its way to Iowa City to wrestle Iowa. Initially, the Hawkeyes and Beavers just pushed their dual’s start time back from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Ultimately, the Beavers couldn’t make it out to Iowa City.

“Well, we had a Saturday 2 p.m. and Friday [the Beavers] were in the airport in Eugene, Oregon, trying to fly out and kept getting delayed,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said Sunday. “Then, they were scattered a lot different places, a lot of different flights. You know, that’s not really our problem. That’s something that they couldn’t overcome.

“We went to work on [the schedule] hard on Friday night,” Brands added. “So, it was clear right away that it wasn’t going to work out Saturday at 2 p.m. That’s when we started scrambling. Our guys, they’re stepping into Carver-Hawkeye Arena and they’re wrestling.”

As soon as it became clear Oregon State wasn’t going to make it to Iowa City, Brands began his efforts to schedule another opponent for his Hawkeyes to wrestle.

Brands called both Army and California Baptist University, trying to get one of the two teams to come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena and wrestle.

“We do owe [the Black Knights] a lot of gratitude,” Brands said. “. . . It is not unnoticed and it does not go without saying that we do owe them a lot of gratitude. So, that’s number one to Army.

“Lennie Zalesky was game too — Cal Baptist,” Brands added. “We called both those coaches and [Army head coach Kevin Ward] and Scott Green, his assistant, and Lennie Zalesky at Cal Baptist. They were both ready.”

Both Army and Cal Baptist wrestled in a triangular meet with Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Ames Saturday. The Cyclones beat Army, 25-9, and extinguished Cal Baptist, 39-0.

Brands said his talks with Ward and Zalesky may lead to the Hawkeyes having relationships with both teams going forward.

“You’re going to see Cal Baptist on our schedule,” Brands said. “That came to fruition in the talks when we were arranging this. Then, also, we’re going to make a return trip to Army. So, now they get to roll out the red carpet for us.”

Despite the rapidly changing schedule, the Hawkeyes were still prepared to wrestle this weekend — even if they weren’t entirely sure who their opponents might be.

“Yeah, how does it impact me? It doesn’t impact me,” redshirt freshman 125-pounder Jesse Ybarra said. “I mean, same goal, different team. It doesn’t really matter who was on the line. I just had to wrestle my match, keep my hands and feet moving, get to my offense as much as I can.”

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