In state rivalries headline outstanding weekend of college wrestling action

By Andre Gibson | Dec. 07, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
While browsing for the best college wrestling dual matches for this weekend, you probably noticed a couple of things. This is one of several weekends where some great wrestling action will be showcased to the fans across the U.S. in what already is turning out to be a great season. The second thing you might have noticed is that this is definitely the weekend of the "in-state rivalries." Take a closer look at just a few of the battles within state lines. On Friday, December 8, the No. 4 Cyclones of Iowa State travel a few hours down I-80 to take on the No. 3 Hawkeyes of Iowa in Carver Hawkeye Arena. If that's not enough action for you, Michigan and Michigan State will hook up in Ann Arbor on Friday evening. On Saturday, December 9, Central Michigan also travels to Michigan in what will be a key dual meet for both teams. To top off the weekend on Sunday, December 10, the Bedlam series is renewed as number one ranked Oklahoma State travels to Oklahoma to tangle with the sixth ranked Sooners. Throw in Clarion wrestling at Penn State, and Iowa visiting Northern Iowa, and you've basically got the Hatfield's and McCoy's, the Blue & the Gray, and the North against the South all over again. Here is a closer look at the two premiere in state dual meets this weekend. The predictions and opinions of these matches are mine, and are not necessarily those of the staff of USA Wrestling,, or The Amateur Wrestling Alliance. NO. 4 IOWA STATE AT NO. 3 IOWA This is a series that all college wrestling fans get excited for. Olympic Champion and former Cyclone wrestler Kevin Jackson speaks vivaciously about the in state battle. "It's a classic rivalry in every sense of the word. Having competed in the rivalry, I understand the excitement and energy that goes with it." Jackson also added with a wink and a smile, "I'm sure Iowa is going to be very fired up after losing to Oklahoma State, but I have to go with the Cyclones for this one." Iowa legend Dan Gable still gets tensed up in talking about the dual meet. "Iowa State is going to be tough. Coach Douglas always wants to beat Iowa in the worst way, and it is good for the sport and for his team." Iowa has completely dominated the series over the past several years. The Hawks have won the last twenty five meetings and hold a 47-14-2 advantage in the series. This should be a very close dual with bonus points and the draw playing an important role in the outcome of the dual. 125-Jody Strittmatter (I) vs. Jacob Moore (ISU) Former Division II national champ Jody Strittmatter enters his senior campaign somewhat unfulfilled. He is in search of a Division I title to go along with a team title in this his senior year after transferring from Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Very tough on top, Strittmatter will punish an opponent from the top position. I see Strittmatter being able to turn Moore with ease. If he gets on a roll on his feet or on top, a technical fall or a pin is definitely capable for Strittmatter. Iowa 5, Iowa State 0 133-Eric Juergens (I) vs. Matt Azevedo (ISU) After going undefeated last year and winning the NCAA title, Juergens looked to be a huge favorite this year that might go unchallenged. Those plans were dramatically changed as Juergens lost for the first time in over a year to Charles Walker of Oklahoma State. I am picking Juergens to win this match, but he must turn the page and move on from this defeat. Azevedo seems to have improved greatly after moving up from 125. Azevedo is 13-0 but has not wrestled anyone close to the caliber of Juergens, especially after a loss. Look for Juergens to wrestle a very up-tempo match, controlling the under hooks while looking for a major decision. I don't see a major decision in the cards, but it is possible. If Azevedo can keep the score low and score at the end of the periods, he is in the match. Otherwise, Juergens should prevail. Iowa 9, Iowa State 0 141-Doug Schwab (I) vs. Zach Roberson (ISU) This is a weight where we have one of the premiere wrestlers and recruits in the country. Doug Schwab returns for his senior campaign exhibiting the relentless style of attack that wears down the best of competitors. Roberson was a very highly recruited athlete out of Kansas and looks to progress to stardom, but will have to cross that bridge when he comes to it. Until then, the task at hand remains the former NCAA champ Schwab. Roberson is undersized after wrestling off at 133, although he was originally slated to wrestle at 125. Schwab should score major points against Roberson, and in my opinion is the best wrestler in the country at taking a wrestler to their back from their feet. Look for Schwab to use his patented double leg to a leg turk in search of back points. The best strategy for Roberson is to keep it close in a slow paced match and try to stay in it to the final buzzer. A major decision is within reach for Schwab, if not more. Iowa 13, Iowa State 0 149-Mike Zadick (I) vs. Billy Maldonado (ISU) This is usually a great match between two heated competitors, regardless of the situation. Junior Mike Zadick will look to bounce back after a close 4-3 loss to Wright of Oklahoma State this past week. Zadick should prevail in this match with a regular decision. The home crowd will definitely be an asset to Zadick, as he usually performs well in front of the home crowd. Maldonado is dangerous and will keep the match close. Expect him to give Zadick his closest match ever. If it were not for the home field advantage, I might be inclined to be bold and predict Maldonado with the upset win. Never-the-less, Zadick will get the nod with a close decision. Iowa 16, Iowa State 0 157-T.J. Williams (I) vs. Cole Sanderson (ISU) I once stated that T.J. Williams would never lose in an Iowa singlet. Critics would point out that he has had close matches early on this year, not to mention that he lost in the NCAA's last year. The numbers don't lie. T.J. has only lost one match in an Iowa uniform, owns one NCAA title, and a third place finish to boot. Ultimately, a win is a win, and I see T.J. stepping up when his team needs him this weekend against Iowa State. I won't predict a major decision at this time, but this will be a good test to see where he is headed for the rest of the year. Sanderson has never been one to back down from a challenge, and has competed well against Williams in the past. The key to this match will be who scores first. Who ever establishes momentum early has the definite advantage. Look for Williams to get back in the swing with an attacking offense. Iowa 19, Iowa State 0 165-Ben Shirk/Matt Anderson (I) vs. Joe Heskett (ISU) This is where the strength of the Cyclone line up will start to show. Junior Joe Heskett will look to score big points from the top position. Oozing with confidence and mat savvy, Heskett can throw a cradle from left field and be deadly with it. Regardless of who wins the wrestle off for the Hawkeyes, I still see them being in the same boat. Always one to look for the pin or at least the major decision, Heskett will of course look to do the same for team points in this crucial dual. If Shirk or Anderson get sloppy on offense look for back points from Heskett. Iowa 19, Iowa State 4 174-Gabe McMahan (I) vs. Perry Parks (ISU) Bobby Douglas stated earlier this year that the Cyclones will do as well as Perry Parks wrestles. This should definitely hold true in the dual as this weight is the most crucial of the match. McMahon opened a few eyes with his victory over Tyrone Lewis of Oklahoma State last week. Parks has improved since last year, where there was somewhat of a down slide after having academic problems early on. He owns a victory over Ben King of Illinois. This is a very tough choice, but the victory over Lewis in hostile Oklahoma City has sold me on McMahon. The nod goes to McMahon with a decision. Iowa 22, Iowa State 4 184-Jessman Smith (I) vs. Cael Sanderson (ISU) What else can you say about Sanderson? We have heard it all, and more importantly seen it all from the Cyclone junior. Each match he seems to impr