January 2013

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Hawkeye Fans Receive Gifts Early in December By Gary Barta I t's clear the gift-giving that is the month of December started early for fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, thanks to some outstanding work by our winter sports teams. Marc Long's men's and women's swimming and diving teams have already churned out a bucketful of record-setting performances and, on the men's side, the Hawkeyes entered the season ranked among the nation's best teams. the first page… Speaking of nationally ranked squads, Hawkeye wrestling coach Tom Brands once again has one, and it's an aggressive one to say the least:  UI wrestlers scored bonus points in 58 of their first 90 matches of the season.  That total includes 30 pins and five technical falls.   Of course, if you know coach Brands, he wants even more from this group and will be using the months of January and February to achieve that as the team prepares for a bus ride to Des Moines and this year's national championships in March. On Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, fans of the Hawkeyes have been treated to the second win over a nationally ranked team this season by Lisa Bluder's team when the Hawkeyes defeated Iowa State in a game that surprised all in attendance when it turned into a defensive battle.   Two days later, Fran McCaffery's squad followed the lead of Bluder's Bunch by registering its own victory in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.  What I enjoyed most about the two basketball victories was the fact that the depth of both teams was on full display:  Theairra Taylor and Melissa Dixon, a redshirt junior and a sophomore, respectively, combined to score 22 of Iowa's 50 points for Bluder's Bunch. Taylor also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.  In the men's game, eight different Hawkeyes — including freshmen Anthony Clemmons, Mike Gesell, and Adam Woodbury — saw at least 10 minutes of court time and another clocked eight minutes of action. The college basketball season is a long and taxing one, so a bench that is deep and deep with game experience is a huge plus.  I would like to offer two additional thoughts on our basketball programs:  First, isn't it exciting to watch the work being done by Fran, his staff, and the Hawkeyes?   Our recent victories over competitive Iowa State and Northern Iowa teams are even more evidence of the positive direction Fran is taking our men's basketball program.  Now comes the hardest part of the process, climbing the ladder in the toughest conference from top to bottom in the country, the Big Ten. With respect to women's basketball, the expansion of the Big Ten Conference announced a few weeks ago provided another boost to that sport in our league, thanks in to the influence of two women familiar to Iowans:  Former Hawkeye coach C. Vivian Stringer, the current coach at Rutgers, and Cedar Rapids native Brenda Freese, the current head coach at Maryland.  It will be exciting to have Vivian and Brenda inside Carver on a regular basis in the not-too-distant future.  Best wishes to you and yours for a safe and prosperous holiday season. Go Hawks! 4

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