University of Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands has a message for his wrestlers, especially those wrestle-off winners from last Friday and Saturday.
Brands said he doesn’t take much from the wrestle-offs, except wrestlers have given themselves an opportunity to claim a spot. In the past, some starters have not separated themselves from the competition in duals and tournaments or even in the room. Time to “Grab the bull by the horns” to secure your position.
Among those wrestle-off winners was senior Matt McDonough at 125 pounds. The two-time NCAA champion and three-time national finalist isn’t a surprise winner at all, but the narrow margin of victory may have come as one. He needed a late reversal to beat freshman Cory Clark, who capped his prep career at Southeast Polk with a fourth state title in February. Clark reached the finals of the wrestle-off competition with a 3-1 sudden-victory win over another true freshman, Thomas Gilman.
Brands discusses how McDonough, and other veteran members of the team, are challenged daily by the newer group, which includes the 125-pound freshmen, Sam Brooks (174) and 197-pounder Nathan Burak.
The Hawkeyes open the season Friday at UT-Chattanooga. They will wrestle the host Mocs, Cumberland (Tenn.) and University of Virginia. Brands talked about wrestle-off winners Mark Ballweg (141) and Brody Grothus (149) will be the guys at those weights. The spot at 197 could be a freshman, but will be determined later.
Below is the news release for Friday’s duals from the UI SID: