By Courtney Baumann | firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Bonus points and redemption were the themes of the day when the Iowa wrestling team visited Michigan State on the afternoon of Jan. 8.
The Hawkeyes made the Spartans look silly, topping them 44-0. Seven Hawkeye wrestlers earned bonus points in their matches.
Redshirt freshman Joey Gunther and senior Alex Meyer, who both dropped matches against Wolverine wrestlers, bounced back to earn a couple wins for the Hawks.
Gunther scored just 1 takedown, but it was enough to push him past No. 15 Drew Hughes. Hughes’ only point came from riding time, which he racked up in the third period by not allowing Gunther to escape after the Hawkeye chose to start down.
Those last two minutes weren’t great on Gunther’s body, though; he had ice on his shoulder afterwards.
“Joey … did a good job, and we’ll see about that position he was in – it’s not good for joints. But good job,” Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. “He got a takedown on that guy, that guy’s a stingy wrestler. I think our conditioning was evident today. That’s good. That’s a badge of honor for our guys.”
Although Gunther may not feel great after his match, Meyer said his mood is much better than it was in Ann Arbor.
“I feel better coming off of the mat today, scoring a lot of points, which was something I didn’t do the other night,” he said. “You take some time, you put it behind you, then you get going and do it right the next time.”
Iowa 174-pounder Alex Meyer takes down Michigan State’s Drew Barnes during the Iowa-Michigan State dual at Jenison Field House in East Lansing on Jan. 8. Meyer defeated Barnes, 22-7, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 44-0. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)
Meyer won his match with a slew of points at the end of the third period, defeating sophomore Drew Barnes, 22-7.
The senior wore down Barnes in the first two periods, going up 7-2 after five minutes of wrestling, but in the third period, Meyer really put a beatdown on him.
Meyer scored 5 takedowns and 4 near-fall points in the final two minutes to go up on Barnes 21-7. A point for riding time secured the match.
With fewer than 30 seconds left in the third period, Meyer needed just one more takedown to guarantee the technical fall after the match ended, and Brands could be heard across Jenison Field House yelling, “One more.”
“I could hear him from the corner. I didn’t know it at that point, but that’s what he’s there for,” Meyer said. “He’s there to coach, and he’s great at it, so I listen to him in the corner and do what I need to do.”
Brands didn’t have a whole lot of good things to say about his team after the meet in Ann Arbor, but that wasn’t the case in East Lansing.
He was relatively happy with the outcome of the dual meet and particularly pleased with a couple of his wrestlers – Sam Stoll and Topher Carton.
Stoll earned a victory over sophomore Jacob Cooper after the Michigan State wrestler was called for stalling too many times and disqualified from the match.
Carton, on the other hand, is one of just three unranked wrestlers in the Iowa lineup and one of two who faced a ranked opponent. Carton won his match against No. 16 Javier Gasca by major decision, 12-2.
The senior won his matchup Jan. 6 against Michigan wrestler Sal Profaci but said he felt better after the Michigan State dual.
“Against Michigan, I think I was a little bit hesitant, a little bit overly aware of what he was going to do,” Carton said. “Today, I went out and wrestled my match for seven minutes and kept very free and flowing wrestling – not really worrying about how I’m feeling, not really worrying about the score, not really worrying about how he’s feeling, but worrying about scoring points and putting on a show.”
Follow @cbomb12 and @DI_Sports_Desk for Iowa wrestling updates, news, and analysis.