Heavyweight Rasing gets offensive


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The change in Blake Rasing’s approach was evident one second into his match on Jan. 22.

For much of the season, the Iowa heavyweight had been cautious and somewhat inactive on the mat. He had scored just three points or fewer in seven of his 12 prior bouts.

But as he shook hands with his opponent, Ohio State’s Zach Stolarsky, he noticed Stolarsky’s weight was placed too heavily on his left leg. The New Hampton, Iowa, native responded by shooting for the leg immediately after the opening whistle. Referees ruled that Rasing was out of bounds when he brought Stolarsky to the mat, but the tone was set.

“It was just right there,” Rasing said. “I haven’t gone there much this year, but I just got the leg snatch. The refs didn’t give it to me, but it felt good.”

Rasing scored seven points in the second period on the way to a 12-1 major decision. He controlled the pace of the match, dominating the action so much that Stolarsky was called for stalling four times.

Many of the Hawkeye wrestlers were more aggressive Jan. 22 than they have been for much of the season, and sophomore Matt McDonough said creating scoring opportunities had been a point of emphasis from the coaching staff. Rasing’s dominance, however, still stood out for its sharp contrast to his usual style.

But head coach Tom Brands suggested the junior has been capable of this type of offensive outburst all season.

“There was really no difference,” Brands said. “It’s the effort and putting a couple different holds together to get to guys. And repeating if it doesn’t work the first time, or the second time, down the road, and then you get success.”

Rasing acknowledged that his opponent’s 2-5 record may have helped give him the confidence to attack. However, he also said he’s been improving in that area during the season.

“I’m getting better every week,” he said. “I’ve been working on getting going from the beginning of the match. I felt good all week, and I felt good all day today.”

Rasing hadn’t been without success this year. His 3-1 overtime victory over Oklahoma State’s Blake Rosholt Jan. 16 secured a tie for the team. He beat a ranked Christian Brantley 2-0 at Northern Iowa on Dec. 9. But the low scores of those matches indicate Rasing’s lack of offense.

Volunteer assistant coach Kurt Backes, who works with heavyweights, said he was looking for more offense from Rasing after the match against Brantley.

“We always want to further ourselves,” Backes said. “We’re never happy with a 2-0 win. A win’s a win, but we want to further ourselves from our competition.”

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