Cougar Wrestlers Fall to No. 1 Iowa in Delta Center

SALT LAKE CITY -- Defending NCAA National Champion Iowa, led by a national champion and five top-ten wrestlers, proved too much for BYU, overpowering the Cougars in front of a crowd of 5,877 at the Delta Center Saturday night.

Iowa's talented lineup, featuring eight nationally-ranked starters in ten weight classes, overwhelmed BYU, as the Hawkeyes won eight individual matches to take the contest, 33-6.

"That's about the best I could have hoped for, all things considered," BYU head coach Mark Schultz said. "I didn't have a chance to recruit last year or I'm sure things could have been different. I hope this meet shows everybody how popular this sport is, and how we need to keep it for the benefit of the youth of Utah."

Mitch Stevens started things off for the Cougars, holding his own against No. 14 Gabe McMahan before falling, 13-7. BYU's Adam Bendorf fell to fellow Iowan Paul Jenn, 15-2, while Iowa's No. 20 Lee Weber was too much for Brandon Ruiz, winning 16-6. In a clash of the heavyweights, Cougar Chris Miller dropped a close one to No. 6 Wes Hand, 6-3.

As the lightweights took the mat, sophomore Trent Rollins fell victim to a second-round pin, falling to No. 4 Jody Strittmatter in 4:04. The 133-pound match featured No. 2 Eric Juergens of Iowa in a tight battle with BYU All-American Aaron Holker, who entered the match ranked fifth in the nation. Holker wrestled tough throughout the match, pulling to within a 6-8 margin in the third period before Juergens closed it out, 10-6. Iowa's defending national champion Doug Schwab took down Jose Enriquez, 22-7, while Mike Zadick scored a 11-3 victory over Chris Risenmay.

The middleweights fared a little better for BYU, as redshirt freshman Rocky Smart, ranked No. 16 in the nation, took down fellow freshman Robert Mantle, 6-1, to score the Cougars' first points of the match. Fifth-ranked Rangi Smart then followed in his little brother's footsteps, scoring a 2-1 victory over Matt Anderson in sudden-death overtime.

"We're pretty tough in our starting lineup," the older Smart said. "I wasn't too happy with my performance, but I'm just glad to get a win against Iowa."

The Cougars' next meet is Dec. 11 on the road against No. 17 Boise State and won't return to the Smith Fieldhouse until Jan. 17 when BYU will take on Cal State Fullerton.

Following the match, Iowa's legendary wrestler and coach, Dan Gable, spoke to the Delta Center crowd. Gable, a former NCAA and Olympic champion, encouraged the wrestling fans to continue their support of youth and collegiate wrestling in Utah.

"Wrestling represents discipline and hard work -- everything America was built on," Gable said. "Because of everything this sport stands for, America needs wrestling. Don't let your support of this great sport end here tonight."

Match Results

Iowa 33, BYU 6

Dec. 4, 1999

125- Jody Strittmatter (Iowa) pinned Trent Rollins (BYU), 4:04

133- Eric Juergens (Iowa) dec. Aaron Holker (BYU), 10-6

141- Doug Schwab (Iowa) tech. fall Jose Enriquez (BYU), 22-7 - 3rd period

149- Mike Zadick (Iowa) maj. dec. Chris Risenmay (BYU), 11-3

157- Rocky Smart (BYU) dec. Robert Mantle (Iowa), 6-1

165- Rangi Smart (BYU) dec. Matt Anderson (Iowa), 2-1, 2OT

174- Gabe McMahan (Iowa) dec. Mitch Stevens (BYU), 13-7

184- Paul Jenn (Iowa) maj. dec. Adam Bendorf (BYU), 15-2

197- Lee Weber (Iowa) maj. dec. Brandon Ruiz (BYU), 16-6

Hwt- Wes Hand (Iowa) dec. Chris Miller (BYU), 11-4