No. 3 Bobby Telford defeated No. 7 Adam Chalfant of Indiana on Sunday, 9-5
By Danny Payne
The dual started an unorthodox manner — the heavyweights kicked off No. 2 Iowa’s Big Ten Conference showdown with Indiana. It was third-ranked Bobby Telford for the Hawkeyes and No. 7 Adam Chalfant for the visiting team from Bloomington, Ind.
Telford looked like he had looked for much of the 2013-14 campaign — good enough, but not at the level that he, along with Hawkeye fans, is used to seeing. The junior squeaked out a 9-5 decision over Chalfant to begin Iowa’s 38-4 stomping of the Hoosiers.
“Some things happened this year that I wasn’t really expecting and I’m kind of getting back on my feet,” the Hockessin, Del. native said following his bout. “I’m not where I want to be, I’m no where close but I’m building.”
Chalfant took down Telford 1:36 into the fight, but Telford used an escape to end the period down 2-1. The Hawkeye was on top to start the second and let up an escape and trailed 3-1 after the horn had sounded. An early escape and takedown in the third put him in position for the win, but a Chalfant reversal and Telford escape sent the tilt into overtime.
Telford finished a left-leg shot on his opponent, before adding two near-fall points to make the final score 9-5. It added to his season total of eight, in contrast to only two majors and one loss, excluding the Luther Open on Nov. 16, which was against sub-Division I competition. Telford dominated inferior opponents in that event, pinning all five he faced. His season clip isn’t up to par with the standards the heavyweight has come to expect from himself.
Why? His heavyweight coach, Ben Berhow attributed some of that to his right knee, which Telford injured at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines last season. According to the first-year Iowa coach, it’s not that the knee is holding him back, per say, but it was limiting his conditioning at the beginning of his season — a factor that plays into his less-than-stellar start.
For both Berhow and Telford, the solution to that problem is a logical one. Both the coach and grappler said he needs more time on the mat to get to where he needs to be.
“He needs the mat time, he needs to have those challenging matches like that,” Berhow said in reference to Telford’s match Sunday afternoon. “Especially for heavyweights, it’s important not so much in the practice room getting mat time there, but also getting your nerves up and stuff in a competition environment.”
The mat time Telford got on Sunday seemed to encourage his coaches that he has begun to turn the corner this season. Berhow liked that Telford had to battle in a tough manner to pick up a victory. Associate head coach Terry Brands was also pleased the heavyweight had to go into overtime.
“Maybe that’s what’s going to get us moving forward because he had to come from behind,” Brands said. “He had to go underneath the guy and it proved to himself that he can do the things that he was doing at the end of last year.”
While it was an unusual start to the dual, it’s clear Telford’s start to his junior year is just as unfamiliar. His thoughts on the matter were similar to his coaches’, but the big man analogized them to the other side of his life as a student-athlete.
“I need to be on the mat and wrestle more,” Telford said. “If you’re studying for a test you can’t be skipping class, you can’t not have your books in your hand. I need to be in the classroom, I need to have my books in my hand, I need to go to class early and get ready for this stuff.