UC Davis To Host Storied Iowa Wrestling Program On Sunday Night

Derek Moore is ranked 13th nationally. <br> (Randy Martin)
 
Derek Moore is ranked 13th nationally.
(Randy Martin)
 

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 classes.

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 of Champions.

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.