Better With Age

Feb. 10, 2011

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, IowaLuke Lofthouse arrived in Iowa City as a freshman in 2004. Aaron Janssen’s freshman campaign began two years later. On Sunday afternoon, their separate roads will meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their senior day sendoff.

Janssen traveled a well-paved road to senior day. It was relatively traditional. It’s a standard route that has been traveled many times before. Like most Hawkeye athletes, he came to the University of Iowa following a decorated Iowa prep career.

He donned a redshirt his freshman season — likely using the opportunity to train, work on his skillset and make the necessary adjustments to college life — and after putting in the work year-after-year, he’s now hitting the mat as nationally ranked 165-pounder.

Lofthouse’s story has a similar beginning — he enjoyed a celebrated prep career that included three straight Utah state championships — but until recently that’s where the similarities ended.

Lofthouse was thrown into the Hawkeye lineup as a true freshman. He struggled early, posting an 8-17 collegiate record, but his efforts earned him the Coaches Appreciation Award. Then, rather unconventionally, he left Iowa for two seasons to complete a Mormon mission in Africa. He returned to campus and used a redshirt in 2007-08. Since then he’s earned his way back into the Hawkeye lineup as a nationally-ranked 194-pounder.

Both student-athletes contributed to Iowa’s 35-6 win over Indiana Feb. 4. Janssen recorded four takedowns in the third period to score a 14-5 major decision. Lofthouse upset fifth-ranked-Matt Powless, handing the Indiana senior his third loss in 33 bouts. Both matches were a bit symbolic of their respective careers — starting slow but finishing stronger and stronger.

“That’s how you win matches like that,” head coach Tom Brands said following Lofthouse’s upset victory. “In situations like that, with a fifth-ranked, third-ranked, whatever, No. 1 ranked guy in America, that’s how you’ve got to beat those guys. You’ve got to get to them, and then you’ve got to keep getting to them.

“He gave up the first takedown, so it’s a lesson in a lot of ways. You keep plugging away. Don’t just get the takedown, make it easy and then start coasting. Continue to keep building. That’s good stuff. It’s a good template; it’s a good lesson on how to beat good guys. You just keep coming. Don’t let it squeak down to the end.”

Luke Lofthouse posted a 161-8 career record at Mountain Crest High School (Avon, UT) before beginning his Hawkeye career in 2004.

Similar to his five-year career, Janssen got better as his match progressed. He used nine third period points and secured riding time to turn a 4-2 lead into a bonus-point victory.

“That’s something he has to learn,” Brands said after the match in reference to Janssen’s third period. “Learn how to score now. We talk about it in the practice room. We see it in the practice room. We get a decent response out of him sometimes. Sometimes we get a good response out of him. You’ve got to learn to do it out there.

“He did learn to do it. What changed? He just made up his mind and that’s sometimes what it takes. Like Lofthouse, instead of hitting those shots and falling down, he’s hitting those shots and put the guy down underneath him where he’s feeling out weight instead of the other way around. He learned. He learned a lot during that and that’s how you learn; you do it in a live battle.”

Janssen’s won three straight and 18 overall, nearly doubling his career win total (24) from 2007-10. Lofthouse has 13 wins this season and has started more career duals (43) than any other active Hawkeye.

Sunday at 1 p.m., both seniors will take on Michigan in their final bout on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They’ll be honored with fellow seniors Matt Ballweg, Jake Kerr and Brooks Kopsa.