Wrestling notebook: Grothus gets out of his "funk"


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Brody Grothus admitted to being “in a funk” last year.

Now a redshirt freshman, he quickly realized the huge gap between prep and college grappling during his first stint in the Hawkeye wrestling room a season ago. Grothus relied on unorthodox wrestling style, or “funk,” in high school. And he said avoiding the basics didn’t help to produce the results he wanted, and he set out to change that this year.

The result is, for the moment, the 149-pound spot in the Iowa lineup. Grothus won the position by defeating Patrick Rhoads, 8-2, on Nov. 10 at Iowa’s wrestle-offs.

“I relied on a lot of my funk last year,” Grothus said. “I could get away with a lot of stuff in high school that I can’t get away with at this level. By sticking to the basics, and using my scrambling ability when it’s there, it really helps to wear on the other guy.”

The “basics” don’t include risky 5-point moves to start matches, he said. The understanding of that importance came many times last year. Grothus often found himself on his back in the practice room, giving up near-fall points.

Moments like that, he said, drew him away from his big-point scrambling moves and pushed him toward the fundamentals that his coaches have been preaching.

“It’s only going to work when it’s unexpected,” Grothus said about his potentially dangerous grappling style. “If they’re expecting it, you can’t keep doing it over and over. It’s going to bite you.”

Tom Brands: ‘Take the bull by the horns’

Iowa’s head coach Tom Brands made it clear on Tuesday that this past weekend’s wrestle-offs were “cut and dried,” especially because the team won’t be in the midseason Midlands Tournament this year. The Hawkeyes typically use the late-December tournament to settle any ongoing weight-class battles.

“What we say is, ‘Take the bull by the horns, and don’t look back,’ ” Brands said. “Results are going to dictate. This is a funny year, because we’re not in the Midlands. The Midlands is kind of a midseason check-up, where, if there is a controversy, it gets ironed out pretty easily.”

Wrestle-offs haven’t always determined Iowa’s final lineup. Coaches have occasionally made changes and decisions based on performances outside of the practice room.

But Brands did lay out the formula for all who won this year’s wrestle-offs to keep their spots.

“Do the job, and compete ferociously,” he said. “Score points, widen the gap, and we’re happy campers. All of us.”

Telford not surprised, but motivated

Sophomore Bobby Telford breezed through both of his wrestle-off matches this past weekend, collecting two pins in just 3 minutes and 27 seconds on the mat on Nov. 10.

He didn’t have much to say on the results, because they were what he expected. Telford has bigger goals to look forward to this season. They’ll be feasible, he said, in part because of his practice partner last year, Blake Rasing.

“He helped a lot. He was a good partner,” Telford said. “I know where I stand in the room … It was the first step of many, and I need to keep my eye on what I want to do.”

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