Feb. 18, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A string of nine straight wins and 13 of 14 has helped make University of Iowa 165-pound wrestler Nick Moore nearly invisible in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.
Maybe not invisible, but UI head coach Tom Brands said Tuesday he no longer notices the junior from Iowa City as the team prepares for a dual at Wisconsin on Feb. 23.
“He catches my eye in a good way,” Brands said of Moore. “You’re walking around and you see what’s going on and over here is Nick Moore, and it’s all good. You nod your head and keep walking. We like where he’s at and he’s wrestling really well.”
There are no more reminders of what it takes to put on a championship attitude. That has passed many moons ago for Moore, who is 18-2 and ranked fourth in the nation. As a freshman and sophomore he had a record of 30-17.
“He’s doing his job and he knows he’s doing his job,” Brands said. “There is a lot of energy in him where he knows he is wrestling well, he doesn’t need to be reminded. He is in a good place.”
The Hawkeyes travel to the UW Field House for their final dual of the season with the 125-pound roster spot still up for grabs. Freshman Cory Clark is 14-0 with Big Ten victories against Garrison White of Northwestern and Conor Youtsey of Michigan; freshman Thomas Gilman is 16-3 with a 4-2 mark against league opponents.
“Both guys are top four in the country, if not the best guy in the country,” Brands said. “We’ll pick one and go. There may be a wrestle-off and there may not be. The decision has not been made.”
Clark and Gilman both own wins over 2013 NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois.
With certainty in the lineup at 165 and uncertainty at 125, the Hawkeyes put their 14-2 dual record on the line one more time this season with a chance to win their sixth Big Ten Dual Championship in the last seven seasons. Iowa is 6-1 in league duals, and a win at Wisconsin would put the Hawkeyes in a tie with Minnesota and Penn State.
“It’s important that we’re doing our job in dual meets. Let’s keep a good thing going,” Brands said. “The most important thing is Madison in two weeks (Big Ten Tournament on March 8-9). Then two weeks after that you have nationals, so we want to be strong in March.”
Sunday’s dual against the Badgers (12-4, 5-1) begins at 1 p.m. (CT). Iowa leads the all-time series 74-8-3 and has won four in a row. The Hawkeyes won the last meeting 39-3 on Feb. 5, 2012 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.