By Jason Brummond
Matt McDonough sprinted off the mat at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the final team. Iowa fans rose to their feet to salute the senior from Marion who has become one of the most prolific wrestlers in the program’s history.
McDonough received another ovation when Iowa’s four seniors were honored following the 31-6 dual win over No. 15 Edinboro. Later, he signed autographs for kids on the arena’s concourse.
But McDonough was nowhere to be seen when reporters tried to talk to him during intermission.
He was probably working out. Iowa’s real season starts next week.
“We have six days to get ready, and we have to be ready,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “It’s go time. We’re in the tournament season. We want to represent and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
For the most part, Iowa (19-1) looks primed for the postseason. The Hawkeyes have won seven straight duals since the loss at Oklahoma State. Against Edinboro (9-5), Iowa racked up a technical fall and five major decisions in the final tune-up before the NWCA National Duals next weekend in Minneapolis.
McDonough, a two-time NCAA and Big Ten champion, scored two takedowns in each period in a 14-3 major decision over Edinboro’s Kory Mines. He finished with a 36-1 mark at home — the only blemish an overtime loss as a junior.
Iowa’s Tony Ramos and Derek St. John both remained unbeaten with impressive major decision victories.
Second-ranked 133-pounder Ramos earned a late takedown and two-point near-fall in the final seconds of the first period to propel him to a 9-0 major decision over No. 3 A.J. Schopp — the highest rated opponent Ramos has faced this season.
Ramos scored a reversal in the second period and later created a pinning situation after a third-period takedown. Ramos had Schopp in a cradle, but Schopp somehow managed to avoid even giving up back points.
“I thought I had it,” Ramos said. “I thought he was going over.”
Ramos is 24-0 on the season, and he’s been remarkably hot the last four weeks with four pins and two major decisions in the last seven matches.
Ramos likely will face No. 1 Logan Stieber of Ohio State at one or more of the upcoming postseason tournaments. Schopp provided a system check that Ramos completely controlled.
“I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I knew if I wrestled hard I could score a lot of points,” Ramos said. “I know I could wrestle at a higher pace and wear him out and get to him early.”
At 157, top-ranked St. John earned a 13-2 major decision over Casey Fuller with four takedowns and a three-point near-fall.
Iowa’s 174-pounder Mike Evans looked like he might miss a technical fall when Edinboro’s Patrick Jennings was awarded an illegal hold point with five seconds left in the third period.
Evans chose to go neutral, then rushed Jennings to score a takedown at the last second for an 18-3 technical fall with riding time.
The finals of the high school state wrestling tournament in Des Moines kept some fans away from Iowa’s first dual with Edinboro since 2001. The announced attendance of 7,080 fans was almost 2,000 off the season pace.
The dip put Iowa’s dual average below last year’s mark.
The only disappointment, Brands said, might have been 141-pounder Mark Ballweg, who lost a 5-0 decision. The Hawkeye coach isn’t overly concerned, but he said everyone on the team has to push ahead.
“He certainly wasn’t himself,” Brands said. “We have to get over this and move forward. I think he wishes he could have done that over.”