Lineup Controversies Welcome
Nov. 19, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Lineup controversies are welcomed inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex for the University of Iowa wrestling team.
"Depth is good, controversies are good," UI head coach Tom Brands said while meeting with local media Tuesday. "(It means) we're deep, we like being deep, and we want to be deeper."
The Hawkeyes swept 10 weight classes in the Elite Division at the season-opening Luther Open. It was an all-Iowa final at 125, 157 and 184 pounds. Cory Clark downed Thomas Gilman, 4-0, at 125; Derek St. John defeated Brandon Sorensen, 8-2, at 157; and Ethen Lofthouse edged Sammy Brooks, 3-2, at 184.
At 149 pounds -- a toss-up weight for Iowa -- Brands saw junior Michael Kelly emerge. Kelly posted victories by fall and major decision to reach the quarterfinals before winning three-consecutive matches by decision en-route to the title. He downed teammate Connor Ryan, 6-1, in the semifinals before defeating Upper Iowa's Edwin Cooper, 6-5, in the championship match.
"He seems to be more smart and high energy, instead of here and nowhere," said Brands. "He was throwing his legs back, scoring in front headlocks and rode tough at the end to win that match in the finals. There were a lot of good things, and it's easier to go forward with a win."
Brands says the competition isn't settled. He wants to see Kelly continue moving forward this weekend at the Iowa City Duals.
"He needs to go out and continue to show us he wants to be the guy," said Brands. "You are the guy with the way you wrestle and score points."
Iowa scored an abundance of points at the Luther Open. The Hawkeyes had 26 wrestlers combine for 48 falls, 12 technical falls and 13 major decisions, an attitude Brands wants to see carried over throughout the year.
"We keep racking them up," Brands said. "There is a competition going on in this room, and I've heard about it with Tony Ramos, Mike Evans and Bobby Telford. They're talking about pinning, and that's good. Let's keep doing it when the competition gets tougher and have it carry over to the big meets."
Brands says the pinning attitude can defeat opponents before the start of the match.
"You're putting your opponents away before you step out on the mat because of the way you wrestle," he said. "That's what we want to do."
Ramos, who had three falls and a major decision en route to the title at 133 pounds, says the Hawkeyes need to keep improving heading into the second weekend of competition.
"It's a chance to get mat experience and showcase our skills at home in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in that atmosphere," he said. "We'll see if Cory Clark and Josh Dziewa are still moving forward, and who is going to emerge at 149. We'll see how those guys are coming along."
Iowa hosts Baker University, Cornell College and Iowa Central on Friday beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).