IOWA CITY – Mission accomplished.
The ultimate goal in wrestling is to dominate and pin your opponent, and that’s what Nick Moore and his University of Iowa teammates achieved.
The sophomore 165-pounder earned three falls, exhibiting the talent and ability that members of the program see in practice, as the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes routed their opponents Saturday at the Iowa City Duals in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa (5-0) blanked Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, 49-0, and dropped Cornell College, 49-3. Iowa Central, which arrived late due to an alleged miscommunication of start times, comp[eted in an exhibition dual that the Hawkeyes won, 45-6. Iowa improved to 16-0 in this event.
Moore (3-0) served as the starter with NCAA qualifier Mike Evans moving up and splitting matches with Grant Gambrall at 174. He wasn’t focused on making a statement, but his results made one for him.
“I want to go out there every time and just wrestle like I can wrestle,” said Moore, who learned of the situation earlier in the week. “I think that I’m getting there closer and closer every time I step out there but sometimes I come out slow and I hold things back a little bit where I think if I can hold this spot I can make strides.”
The former four-time Iowa state champion at Iowa City West never reached the third period, pinning SIU-Edwardsville’s Jake Residori in 56 seconds and Cornell’s Benjamin Rosen in 1:37. Moore built an 8-3 lead after the first against Iowa Central’s Dillon Geohegan, decking him in 3:21.
Moore appears closer to transferring the “nice, wicked, explosive, high-level” moves displayed in practice to competition, according to Brands.
“This is the first time in a match situation where it was steady or consistent that I’ve seen the guy represent his ability,” said Brands, mentioning it could be due to a lack of matches. Having three matches today, I think he took a good step forward.”
Moore was overlooked as a major player for a starting spot by some outside the program, while Evans, Gambrall, a 2011 All-American, and 2012 All-American Ethen Lofthouse decided on weight classes. Evans originally returned to 165 and won the wrestle-off and Gambrall and Lofthouse swapped spots at 174 and 184.
The focus remained on his own improvement and not the status of others.
“I wasn’t sure of the weights while they were flipping them anyway,” Moore said. “I didn’t really know that Evans was planning on going 174 anyway to know he had to switch to 165, so it wasn’t anything that played into the results.”
Brands said Moore has been key contributor, filling in admirably for injured 157-pound NCAA runner-up Derek St. John last season with a 12-7 mark.
“He’s relevant,” Brands said. “He wrestled-off this year. He wrestled-off last year. He went on every road trip with us. We took him everywhere with us, and when a guy went down he performed.
“He had a big ka-boom against the Minnesota guy (in the dual). That was a big match for us. If that’s irrelevant then I’m a monkey’s uncle.”
The experience opened Moore’s eyes, realizing he needed to make changes in the way he prepared to compete. He took the lesson to heart and applied it, so far.
“It taught me a little bit about just being in the lineup and the different things you have to do to be ready when you step out on the mat,” Moore said. “It certainly gave me a lot of competitive matches to wrestle. Not necessarily that I got the results that I wanted but it got me up a level there.
“I think it just showed me a different level of training and conditioning and a whole new set of rules you have to live by to be in the starting lineup.”
Brands said Moore’s impact will be exactly what he makes it. Moore has the potential, and the coaching staff likes how he has progressed.
“His talent and skill ability is through the roof,” Brands said. “We’ve always felt that way. I know he feels the same way.”
The Hawkeyes won 28 of 30 matches. Second-ranked Tony Ramos (133), Lofthouse and heavyweight Bobby Telford also went 3-0. The fiery Ramos also scored three pins.
“If you want to win the Hodge Trophy, it comes down to who has the most falls,” Ramos said. “That’s something that I’m shooting for.”
St. John was 2-0 with a pin and technical fall. Gambrall and Evans combined for a 3-0 record with Gambrall winning against SIU-Edwardsville and Iowa Central and Evans earning a fall against Brent Hamm of Cornell.
Saturday also marked the debut of freshman Nathan Burak. Brands made the decision to pull the red-shirt off the 197-pounder for the final two duals. Burak went 1-1 after placing third at Lindenwood’s Joe Parisi Open last week, which including a 1-0 loss to highly-rated Brent Haynes of Missouri.
Burak lost to NCAA Division III national qualifier and fourth-ranked Alex Coolidge of Cornell, 9-8.
“I think that’s probably the best guy in the building that he wrestled,” Brands said. “That was a good test for him. We know that kid pretty well.”
He rebounded with a 15-9 victory over Iowa Central’s Brandon Bradney.
“He’s doing some things where he’s getting himself in trouble,” Brands said. “You’ve got to be making adjustments, which I think he did, but you’re going to have to make them a little quicker and a little bit more pronounced in the big time.”
Burak was glad to be in the lineup. He expected it, despite not having confirmation until after the first dual.
“It felt good,” Burak said. “That was always my plan to be in the starting lineup. It didn’t go the way I had planned my first two matches at Carver to go. There are definitely some things I need to work on. I have to build off that, focus on the good and put the bad in the past and focus on what’s coming up next.”
Burak may have fought off some jitters, wrestling in front of the CHA crowd for the first time. He has the chance to be better prepared in the future.
“Just make sure I get a good routine in before the matches,” Burak said. “I need to go out there and have some fun, make sure I’m moving my feet, pressuring the other guy and getting to my attacks more.”
Coolidge dictated the pace for most of the match, scoring takedowns in the first and second periods for a 5-4 lead after two. He added a takedown and two escapes in the final two minutes for on his biggest victories.
Wrestling a comfortable style worked in Coolidge’s favor. He said he was fortunate to do it, but he had to fight until the end.
“I knew I had to stay tough in there and battle,” Coolidge said. “The Iowa program pride themselves on conditioning and a tough battle. I knew I had to go blow for blow with him and that was the way to get the victory.”
Coolidge went 2-0, helping the Rams defeated SIU-Edwardsville, 21-20. The junior from Gillette, Wyo., will enjoy the win briefly before going back to work Monday, training for the grind of the upcoming schedule.
“It’s a big confidence builder,” Coolidge said. “It’s a boost knowing I can wrestle with the best guys in the country.”
NJCAA power Iowa Central missed the opening round and arrived in time for the Iowa dual, capping the day against SIU-Edwardsville. It threw off the timing of the event, but Brands and the Hawkeyes were unfazed.
“It didn’t bother me,” Brands said. “For whatever reason, they weren’t here on time. Our match management is diligent. I’ve went back and read emails that are a month old, so it’s funny how sometimes with all this technology you still don’t get the word out.”
The exhibition dual allowed some different faces to take the mat in front of a reported attendance of 5,654. Matt Gurule was among them, winning by 12-5 decision at 125 against Tristan Bundy of Iowa Central.
“Those guys are very appreciated,” Brands said. “I don’t know sometimes how appreciated they feel, and it’s good to get him a match in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”
#4 IOWA 49, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 0
125 – #1 Matt McDonough (IA) won by forfeit; 133 – #3 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Patrick Myers (SIUE), 4:24; 141 – #14 Mark Ballweg (IA) major dec. Drew Vrbenec (SIUE), 12-3; 149 – Michael Kelly (IA) major dec. Dillon Pousson (SIUE), 10-2; 157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) tech. fall Kyle Lowman (SIUE), 17-1; 165 – Nick Moore (IA) pinned Jake Residori (SIUE), 0:56; 174 – #8 Grant Gambrall (IA) tech. fall Deshoun White (SIUE), 23-6; 184 – #8 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) major dec. Chris Johnson (SIUE), 14-4; 197 – Tomas Lira (IA) pinned Josh Wood (SIUE), 4:35; 285 – #6 Bobby Telford (IA) dec. David Devine, 4-1.
#4 IOWA 49, Cornell College 3
125 – #1 Matt McDonough (IA) pinned Mitch Hood (Cornell), 1:17; 133 – #3 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Ben Rosen (Cornell), 2:26; 141 – #14 Mark Ballweg (IA) pinned Zach Henning (Cornell), 2:13; 149 – Brody Grothus (IA) dec. Trevor Engle (Cornell), 5-4; 157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) pinned Josh Guenther (Cornell), 2:47; 165 – Nick Moore (IA) pinned Benjamin Rosen (Cornell), 1:37; 174 – #4 Mike Evans (IA) tech. fall Brent Hamm (Cornell), 16-0; 184 – #8 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) pinned Kevin Stahmer (Cornell), 1:41; 197 – Alex Collidge (Cornell) dec. Nathan Burak (IA), 9-8; 285 – #6 Bobby Telford (IA) tech. fall Carl Gaul (Cornell), 19-2.
Cornell 21, SIUE 20
125 – Mitch Hood (Cornell) won by forfeit; 133 – Patrick Myers (SIUE) major dec. Ben Rosen (Cornell) 12-3; 141 – Drew Vrbenec (SIUE) pinned Ray Feliz (Cornell), 5:30; 149 – Tevor Engel (Cornell) dec. Dillon Pousson (SIUE) 11-4; 157 – Josh Guenter (Cornell) dec. Kyle Lowman (SIUE), 5-0; 165 – Jake Residori (SIUE) pinned Benjamin Rosen (Cornell); 174 – Brent Hamm (Cornell) dec. Deshoun White (SIUE), 3-1; 184 – Kevin Stahmer (Cornell) dec. Chris Johnson (SIUE), 3-2; 197 – Alex Coolidge (Cornell) dec. Josh Wood (SIUE), 5-2; 285 – David Devine (SIUE) major dec. Carl Gaul (Cornell), 12-4.
#4 IOWA 45, Iowa Central 6 (Exhibition)
125 – Matt Gurule (IA) dec. Tristan Bundy (ICCC), 12-5; 133 – #3 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Tyler Reiste (UTC), 2:28; 141 – Josh Dziewa (IA) pinned Kris Lehman (ICCC), 0:43; 149 – Patrick Rhoads (IA) dec. Kennan Jackson (ICCC), 11-5; 157 – Devin Geoghegan (ICCC) pinned Ethan Owens (IA), 2:25; 165 – Nick Moore (IA) pinned John Lampe (ICCC), 3:21; 174 – #8 Grant Gambrall (IA) pinned Cody Harrison (ICCC), 4:52; 184 – #8 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) pinned Joe Stanton (ICCC); 2:31; 197 – Nathan Burak (IA) dec. Brandon Bradney (ICCC), 15-9; 285 – Bobby Telford (IA) pinned Cheven Okonobah (ICCC), 1:28.
SIUE 36, Iowa Central 4 (Exhibition)
125 – no match; 133 – Patrick Myers (SIUE) pinned Tyler Reiste (ICCC), 1:54; 141 – Drew Vrbenec (SIUE) major dec. Kris Lehman; 149 – Dillon Pousson (SIUE) pinned Kennan Jackson (ICCC), 1:01; 157 – Devin Geoghegan (ICCC) major dec. Kyle Lowman (SIUE), 11-1; 165 – Jake Residori (SIUE) major dec. Dillon Deoghegan (ICCC), 14-5; 174 – Deshoun White (SIUE) major dec. Billy Behle (ICCC), 13-5; 184 – Chris Johnson (SIUE) pinned Joe Stanton (ICCC), 3:25; 197 – no match; 285 – David Devine (SIUE) pinned Chris Ballard, 2:35.