By Don Lund
Last week was the last time, until next October, I get to cover the four sports I’ve been writing about since I came on board in 2001.
On Monday, Dec. 30, the Hawkeye wrestlers won their 23rd Midlands Championship, crowned three champions and scored a tournament record 187.5 points.
How about redshirt freshman Thomas Gilman (125) beating defending Midlands champ Jarrod Garnet 6-1 to win his first title?
Tuesday, Dec. 31, saw the Hawkeye men’s basketball team, despite missing 17 free throws, take down Nebraska, 67-57, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa had three players in double-figures including Devyn Marble (15), Aaron White (13) and Jarrod Uthoff (11).
On New Year’s Day, the football team lost to LSU in the Outback Bowl, 21-14.
Thursday, Jan. 2, the Hawkeye women traveled to Indiana, losing to the undefeated Hoosiers, 86-84.
Iowa had four players in double-figures but two starters, Bethany Doolittle and Kali Peschel, fouled out.
Both teams made 19 free throws but Iowa hit only 3-17 from the 3-point line while the Hoosiers were 11-23.
“I’m disappointed in the defensive effort of our basketball team,” said head coach Lisa Bluder. The Hawks also got out-rebounded 42-39, including 16 offensive boards by the Hoosiers.
Samantha Logic got into foul trouble early, sat out six minutes in the first half and Indiana led, 43-36.
The 5-11 junior scored 21 of her 25 points in the second half and pulled down 12 rebounds but it wasn’t enough.
Friday, the wrestlers took on Purdue at Bradley, Ill., and cruised to a 30-3 victory. It wasn’t real flashy, but Nick Moore (165) and Ethen Lofthouse (184) scored major decisions.
Saturday, the wrestlers hosted Michigan State and crushed them 41-0 at Carver.
You start with 43 takedowns for the Hawks and only two for the Spartans plus bonus points in six matches and you have Iowa’s fourth shutout of the season.
The Hawkeyes got pins from Tony Ramos (133) and former Iowa City West Trojan Nick Moore (165).
Another West High grad, Derek St. John (157), scored a 22-7 tech fall as did Alex Meyer (174), who wrestled his first match at Carver.
Gilman (125) and Josh Dziewa (141) each picked up major decisions.
Thomas, who has jumped in and is now ranked third in the nation, continues to improve and has replaced Cory Clark, who was ranked fourth but has struggled with his weight so far.
It will be interesting who will be the top Hawk at 125 when the season gets rolling.
Sunday the Hawk women hosted 15th-ranked Penn State in the afternoon and lost, 87-71.
The Nittany Lions have good talent, really good size and great balance as all five starters scored in double-figures.
They were led by the Big Ten’s leading scorer, Maggie Lucas.
Maggie went up against Iowa’s all-conference pick, Samantha Logic. She scored 27 points with seven turnovers while Sam scored 13, had 12 assists and four turnovers.
Both played 40 minutes and neither backed down.
Once again, the Hawks got out-rebounded 50-34 and Penn State grabbed 16 offensive rebounds.
This is where Iowa’s depth at the post comes into play.
Clair Till came off the bench with eight boards but no one else had over four rebounds.
Bethany Doolittle got into foul trouble again, took six shots and finished with eight points, six below her average.
Sunday night the men traveled to fifth-ranked Wisconsin and lost the game 75-71 with 45 fouls called on the two teams.
Wisconsin shot 25-35 from the free throw line, Iowa was 17-25.
If the refs would be more consistent, maybe Fran McCaffery wouldn’t have got kicked out after his second technical foul.
I couldn’t blame him, but Iowa led 41-39 when Fran went off with less than 12 minutes left in the game.
I like Fran’s passion but sometimes you need to make your point and walk away. You can’t be bumping officials.
The Badgers made 5-6 free throws, took the lead 44-41, and held on to keep a perfect record at 15-0.
It didn’t help that Wisconsin was 10-22 from 3-point range, Iowa was 4-10. They had five players hit threes, Iowa one.
Iowa fell to 12-3, 1-1 in the Big Ten.
It was quite a week with some highs and lows, especially the temperature…