Jan. 6, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
Clark medically forfeited his semifinal match against No. 13 Emilio Saavedra of Old Dominion on Dec. 30 at the Midlands Championships. It was precautionary; Iowa’s 133 pounder will take the mat this weekend at No. 11 Illinois and Northwestern.
“Clark is good, he’s going to be wrestling and that’s not a surprise,” said UI head coach Tom Brands during a Wednesday media gathering inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “He’s doing well. It was one of those situations when he is making the call more than us. We trust him.”
Clark, ranked No. 1 by WIN and No. 2 by Intermat and AWN, will put his 11-0 record on the line against Illinois’ third-ranked Zane Richards on Friday in Champaign, Illinois. Clark is 2-1 all-time against Richards, winning the most recent matchup, 8-2, in the semifinals of the 2015 Big Ten Championships.
Grothus will make his 2015-16 debut at 141 pounds at the Pat “Flash” Flanagan Open in Dubuque, Iowa. Grothus has a 44-22 career record at 149 pounds, but he is making the move down a weight class with All-American Brandon Sorensen entrenched at 149.
“He could go this week at our dual meets, but the smart thing to do is break in like this is the early season for him,” said Brands. “He looks good in the room, has been fully released, and has done a good job of keeping things in perspective.”
Grothus has been targeting competing at 141 from day one.
“This is a little different for him,” said Brands. “A lot of times with young men in wrestling, they put the painful things (i.e. cutting weight) in the sport off. The one good thing he has done and the one good change he has made is he hasn’t put that off. It is self-discipline and adhering to the things that will get him to where he wants to be.”
Brands says the Hawkeyes must be ready to compete in their return to the Big Ten dual schedule.
“If you look at the Illinois dual score with Ohio State, (Illinois) could have won that dual,” said Brands of the 22-17 victory by the sixth-ranked Buckeyes. “There were one or two matches that could have gone either way. We have to be ready.
“We need to do our job at 10 weight classes and in the 20 matches this weekend.”
Friday’s dual against the Fighting Illini begins at 7 p.m. (CT) from Huff Hall. Iowa faces Northwestern on Sunday at 2 p.m. inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.