March 16, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands believes in the Hawkeyes’ firepower heading into the 2015 NCAA Championships this week in St. Louis.
Iowa sends all 10 wrestlers to the Scottrade Center for the 19th time since 1968. For the Hawkeyes to hoist the NCAA team title for the 24th time in program history, Brands says the entire lineup must contribute.
“It takes 10 guys to win,” Brands said Monday in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “I am relaxed when I say that but there is urgency behind that. I believe in our firepower, I always have. I believe in (Thomas) Gilman all the way to (Bobby) Telford.”
“Everyone knows what they want, it’s time to go get it, especially for the seniors and the guys coming up in this program. They need to take care of business in what they want and go get it.”
Senior heavyweight Bobby Telford
The Hawkeyes have eight seeded wrestlers — four in the top-four and seven in the top-six. Sophomore Cory Clark (133 pounds), senior Mike Evans (174) and senior Bobby Telford (Hwt.) are all seeded third; sophomore Sammy Brooks is the lowest seeded Iowa wrestler (ninth, 184).
Seniors Mike Kelly (157) and Nick Moore (165) are both unseeded, but Brands says both will play major roles.
“Those two guys not being seeded or automatic qualifiers, they are going to factor in,” said Brands. “I don’t look at those guys as a bonus on top of what we got. Those two guys factor in critically to what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Brands says there isn’t a magic formula to be the last team standing. Rather it is about each individual focusing on their individual matches and finding a way to advance.
“The formula is to put a string of matches together at each weight, and we have some tough customers that are geared the right away as far as individual goals and how they think,” said Brands. “That’s going to be the difference in close matches is how bad do you want it.”
Brands’ message to the team is to focus on the things they can control — wrestling hard, pushing the pace, scoring points — doing the things that matter. The things that don’t matter, don’t matter.
“I sat alone in the dark yesterday and tried to think of something original to say to the team, and that’s what I said,” said Brands. “Control what you can control. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the guys to do the work if they perform to their ability.”
Heading into the marquee event of the season, Telford says nothing changes. It’s about doing the things that got you to this point — wrestling smart, stingy, and finding a way to win.
“Everyone knows what they want, it’s time to go get it, especially for the seniors and the guys coming up in this program,” said Telford. “They need to take care of business in what they want and go get it.
“This is the last tournament of the year, and for some guys, the last tournament of their careers. At the Big Ten (Championships), (Josh) Dziewa said it best… what do we have to lose?”
Session I of the NCAA Championships begin Thursday at 11 a.m. (CT). The duration of the championships can be viewed on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN3).