March 5, 2010
Editor's Note: The following article first appeared in the March 5 edition of the Official Sports Report (OSR) for the University of Iowa. OSR is a daily e-newsletter exclusively about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Click HERE to learn more.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- After a necessary five-week recovery to heal a fractured lisfranc joint in his foot, University of Iowa senior Chad Beatty says both his mind and body are strong as he returns to the lineup Saturday for the Big Ten championships in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Despite being away from the mat since Dec. 30, Beatty has drawn the No. 1 seed at 197 pounds for this weekend's conference tournament. Beatty opens the tournament against No. 8 Cody Magrum of Ohio State.
"I feel good. My lungs are strong and my mind's strong," Beatty said. "I feel really good about it; I feel confident in my ability even with a dinged-up foot. It's ready to go and I'm not concerned about it at all."
Beatty won 13 of 15 matches before the injury, which occurred during a third-place match at the Midlands Championship against Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin (a 6-3 decision by Beatty). The only two losses of the season for Beatty came against top-ranked Jake Varner of Iowa State. He is 8-2 all-time against the rest of the Big Ten 197-pound field.
"It's his senior year and he's had experience with catastrophic injuries that have derailed him," UI head coach Tom Brands said. "Fun or not, it's reality, so get tough, and he's getting tough. I love seeing that progress now compared to the last couple years."
Beatty is from Wilton, Iowa, and owns a career record of 46-22. He turned in his best season as a junior, posting a 19-6 record, placing fourth at the Big Ten tournament and qualifying for the NCAA championships. Beatty opened his senior season with seven consecutive victories and 11 wins in his first 12 bouts.
"I'm controlling my emotions," Beatty said. "I'm excited, prepared and I'm ready to wrestle. It's tough watching my team compete and not being able to get out there and score points and contribute. I got hurt, so I had to deal with it and I have to continue to get better -- and I have -- and now it's my turn. This is what the whole season is all about and I get a chance to wrestle, so that's exciting."
With Beatty injured, the Hawkeyes called on junior Luke Lofthouse to fill in at 197. He went 7-7 since Midlands and won four straight dual matches from Jan. 29-Feb. 12. For the season, Lofthouse is 20-13.
"The plan was for Chad to come back for Big Ten's, so it wasn't a big surprise," Lofthouse said. "I had some opportunities to wrestle and that was good for me. It's not easy to have to sit out from here on out, but Chad is the guy and he wrestled well when he was healthy. I'll come ready to support and stand behind my guys. The 10 that are going have earned it. We have to support each other because it's us against everyone else in the country right now."
Beatty said he has been doing the same workouts as the rest of the team, except for running. That is merely precautionary according to Brands.
"This is not something where he's in danger," Brands said. "The doctors have checked off on it, everybody feels as good as they can about it and away we go."
Last season at the Big Ten championships, Beatty defeated Matt Powless of Indiana (11-5) before dropping a 12-2 major decision to eventual champion Tyrel Todd of Michigan. Beatty then posted an exciting 6-3 win over Gordon Bierschenk of Minnesota to assure qualification to the NCAA championships. He was 1-2 during the NCAA tournament.
The top-ranked Hawkeyes, winners of 61 straight dual meets, will go for their 34th league title -- and third in a row -- Saturday and Sunday at Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus. The first session begins 10 a.m. on Saturday with the championship bouts being contested beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Big Ten Network will air a live telecast of Sunday's finals at 1 p.m. (Iowa time).