Nov. 7, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa —Head coach Tom Brands isn’t looking for part-timers to fill in at 141 and 149 pounds for the University of Iowa wrestling team. If you bring effort against Iowa State, you better bring effort four days later at Edinboro. If you get up for the Penn State dual, you better get up for Midlands.
“I’m not sure we want the type of guy that’s just going to show up for dual meets when they feel like it and then at the end of the year they try to get hot,” Brands said Thursday at the team’s annual Media Day in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “It’s about training with a purpose every day, being solid, staying healthy.”
The Hawkeyes have returning All-Americans at 133, 157, 174, 184 and 285. They are loaded with youngsters at 125. Junior Nick Moore won 18 times, placed fourth in the Big Ten Conference and qualified for the NCAA Championship a year ago at 165; sophomore Nathan Burak was a 20-match winner and NCAA qualifier at 197.
That leaves 141 and 149 as two of the biggest mystery weights for the Hawkeyes.
“Giving away weight classes? I don’t want to go into that again,” Brands said. “That’s been the theme for the last two years. Make a name for yourself. Know how to spell the name because you’ve written about him many, many times, that’s how I look at it.”
“I’m not sure we want the type of guy that’s just going to show up for dual meets when they feel like it and then at the end of the year they try to get hot. It’s about training with a purpose every day, being solid, staying healthy.”
UI wrestling coach
Of all the contenders at 141, junior Josh Dziewa has the most experience and that is in the form of two one-point losses in the Big Ten Championships at 149 pounds.
“We’re going to put the best two guys out at those two weights who can win wrestling matches,” Dziewa said. “We’re not trying to compete against each other in this room, we’re trying to beat the nation and beat the world. That’s our mindset.”
“You have to have points (at 141 and 149),” Brands said. “That could define our season.”
Kelly is wrestling with more urgency this season and at the top of his wish list is scoring more points.
“I can wrestle a high-paced match,” Kelly said. “It will favor me if I go out there and get after it right away from the beginning of the match to the end of the match and I’m getting to the legs and scoring points.”
For Grothus, the 2012-13 season was his first in the varsity lineup. The more experience he gains, the more he stresses the simpler phases of the sport.
“I have to get back to the basics,” Grothus said. “The best guys on our team — (Tony) Ramos and (Derek) St. John — are real solid, and if you stick to the basics and you work harder than the other guy, you’re going to be successful.”
He added that more matches equal more success. That extra year of seasoning will come in handy for Kelly and Grothus, who combined to go 0-8 in conference duals in 2013.
“149 in the Big Ten Conference was very solid up and down the line last year,” Grothus said. “I don’t think you will find a weak person at any weight in the Big Ten. It’s a matter of getting that experience, learning from it, and continuing to build.”
In lieu of wrestleoffs, the Hawkeyes open the season Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Luther Open in Decorah, Iowa. Their first action inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena is Friday, Nov. 22, with the Iowa City Duals, beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).