Jan. 7, 2005
DAVIS, Calif. -
The University of Iowa, the most successful collegiate wrestling
program in NCAA history with 20 national championships, brings
its ninth-ranked Hawkeyes to The Pavilion on Sunday night to face
UC Davis in a nonconference dual which also features brothers
Jim and Lennie Zalesky as head coaches of the two teams.
The match, in which organizers are hoping to draw several thousand
Northern California wrestling fans to the UC Davis campus, begins
at 7 p.m. Iowa began this weekend with a 2-1 overall record heading
into duals on Friday and Sunday afternoon against Virginia Tech
and Fresno State, respectively. The Aggies are 2-1 overall and
2-1 in the Pac-10 and will travel to face San Francisco State
on Saturday prior to meeting Iowa.
The Hawkeyes' success in wrestling is unparalleled, featuring
nine NCAA titles in the past 14 years and 31 Big Ten Conference
championships. Iowa has been competing for 93 seasons and has
amassed astounding numbers including 776 dual wins and a .788
winning percentage. Hawkeye wrestlers have won 73 NCAA individual
championships, 180 conference titles and 254 All-America honors.
UC Davis has been competing as an NCAA Division I wrestling program
since 1993 and nearly had its first All-American at that level
last seaon when sophomore Derek Moore (133 pounds) finished just
one win shy of accomplishing the feat.
Iowa is the most decorated collegiate program in any sport to
visit UC Davis.
"I think bringing in a team that as notable a reputation
as Iowa - a team that is not only known nationally but worldwide
- is huge for UC Davis," said Aggie coach Lennie Zalesky,
a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA finalist at Iowa from
1979-82. "It's great for the whole Northern California region."
The matchup is also a showdown between the Zalesky brothers.
Jim is in his eighth season leading the Hawkeyes and is a two-time
national coach of the year whose teams have won three NCAA championships.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee (2004) was a three-time
national champion and a four-time All-American at Iowa.
The Zalesky's have faced each other one other time in their current
positions, that coming in 2003 when the Aggies dropped a 36-3
decision to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. This year's Iowa team showcases
five wrestlers ranked in the top 10 nationally of their weight
Lennie Zalesky said his Aggies are excited about the opportunity
to face a program as heralded as Iowa.
"It's just not going to get any tougher than this,"
said Zalesky. "It's an opportunity to compete against a style
of wrestling we don't usually see until nationals."
Moore is the only Aggie wrestler currently ranked nationally,
holding a 10-4 record and a No.13 ranking by Amateur Wrestling
News. Moore was one of four NCAA qualifiers for the Aggies in
2004 - along with current teammate Brandon Bear (184) - and just
missed All-America accolades after winning three straight matches
in the wrestleback bracket. Bear also owns double-digit wins for
UC Davis with a 10-4 mark.
Amateur Wrestling News has six Hawkeyes in the top 10 of its
rankings. Paul Bradley (184) is ranked No. 2, Mark Perry (165)
is No. 4, Ty Eustice (149) and Matt Fields (285) are each No.6,
Alex Tsirtsis (141) is No.7 and Joe Johnston (157) is No.8. Each
Hawkeye has at least 10 wins so far except for Bradley, who is
undefeated at 8-0.
UC Davis has not competed since Dec. 19 at the Reno Tournament
Reserved tickets for Sunday's dual are $12 and general admission
are $7. UC Davis undergraduates and children under 5 years of
age are free. UC Davis/UCDMC faculty and staff and senior citizens
are $5. General admission group tickets for 10 or more people
are $2. Tickets may be purchased at the arena on Sunday.