IOWA CITY — Today is just another day at the office.
That’s the approach a new generation of Iowa wrestlers are taking toward today’s 2 p.m. in-state dual against Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"I like to wrestle. I like hard matches. Whoever I’m out there against, it’s just another competitor to me," Iowa 141-pounder Austin DeSanto said. "It’s just another day to me."
There isn’t much Cy-Hawk Series history for the third-ranked Hawkeyes to build on as they work to extend a string of 14 consecutive wins against their in-state rival.
Only four wrestlers listed on Iowa’s probable lineup have previous experience against the Cyclones.
Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli and Mitch Bowman won matches in the Hawkeyes’ 35-6 win at Iowa State last season, and Cash Wilcke wrestled against ISU two years ago.
"We know they’ll want to come in and do well, but that is something everybody wants to do when they wrestle Iowa," Lee said. "We get everybody’s best shot."
The Hawkeyes work to return the favor.
"No matter who you are out there against, the idea is to be the best you can be against whoever is standing across from you when you step on the mat," Wilcke said. "That’s the motivation every night out."
Wilcke and Bowman, both listed as lineup possibilities at 184 pounds, are two of four Hawkeyes who competed for Iowa high school programs. The others are Carter Happel, listed with Pat Lugo as a lineup possibility at 149, and 285-pound redshirt freshman Aaron Costello.
The Cyclones, in the second season of a rebuilding project under Kevin Dresser, list Iowa natives as potential starters at five weights.
That group includes fifth-ranked 197-pound senior Willie Miklus and former Assumption prep Danny Bush, a senior who is off to a 10-4 start to the season and is among three lineup possibilities listed by Iowa State at 184.
Iowa hasn’t lost to the Cyclones since dropping a 19-16 dual to ISU at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Dec. 5, 2004, and has retained possession of Dan Gable Trophy that goes to the winner in each of the eight duals since its inception in 2010.
The Hawkeyes’ streak includes wins in all 13 duals Tom Brands has coached, and typically, the results haven’t been pretty.
Brands-coached Iowa teams have beaten ISU by an average of 15.9 points per dual, but the Hawkeye coach said his team must be prepared.
"That is a hungry, well-coached team," Brands said. "They’ve got a lot of things going in their favor so we have to be ready. Those are all vague comments, but I’m from afar, I’m not in their room. The focus is on seven minutes hard, and we have the guys who march to that."
That group is expected to include 197-pound redshirt freshman Jacob Warner.
Ranked 11th, Warner is expected to make his Hawkeye debut against the Cyclones’ fifth-rated Miklus. A Missouri transfer from Southeast Polk, Miklus is off to an 8-0 start to the season.
ISU has other rated wrestlers at 133, where 14th-ranked Austin Gomez is expected to face the Hawkeyes’ 10th-rated DeSanto, and at 149, where ISU’s ninth-rated Jarrett Degen could face Iowa’s 10th-ranked Lugo.
The Hawkeyes’ Kaleb Young, off to a 4-0 start at 157, said with a trophy on the line, the meet does matter.
"It’s definitely something we get up for, both sides, Iowa and Iowa State," Young said. "It’s important. It’s one we circle in red on the calendar. We’ve got to get ready for it, the same as any other week."