Notebook: Iowa wrestling coaches wait for Gambrall to emerge


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Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands made it clear on Tuesday that Grant Gambrall would start at 174 pounds at this weekend’s dual against Iowa State.

“He looks better in the room,” Brands said. “[He’s] maybe more of a spark to be offensive and aggressive and score points. But it’s got to translate, too.”

Some uncertainty about whether or not Gambrall could keep the 174-pound spot arose after his performance in Iowa’s dual meet against Virginia on Nov. 16. The senior was pinned by No. 9 Jon Fausey in between two victories against unranked opponents by a combined 4 points.

But Brands said Gambrall’s match against Virginia wasn’t an indication of what the 2011 All-American wrestler is capable of.

“We want him to emerge from that,” Brands said.

Gambrall agreed that all three matches of his first weekend were disappointing. He wasn’t as intense as he wanted to be, he said, and his offense faltered because of that.

He quickly adjusted in the practice room the week after, and the results showed. He collected a pin and a technical-fall against Iowa Central and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Gambrall said the competition may have been different, but it’s the amount of focus and preparation he had that will need to carry over into a tougher part of the season.

“The weekend of the Virginia dual, I felt like I was moving very slowly the whole time without much explosion,” he said. “Now, I’ve been focusing on that in my training.”

Evans moving up — for now

Gambrall won’t be the only Hawkeye wrestler weighing in at 174 Saturday.

Mike Evans will dress alongside Gambrall for this weekend’s dual at 174 pounds, Brands said. Evans wrestled at 165 pounds last season and earlier this year. He’s been ranked as high as fourth in the country at that weight. The most recent individual rankings from Intermat have Evans ranked seventh at 174 pounds.

The sudden upward shift from Evans was brought on because he cut down to 165 pounds too quickly to start the season, Brands said.

“He went down too fast,” Brands said. “And it affected his body in a lot of different ways … He’s grown, too, from last year. He’s going to have to be more disciplined. It’s going to have to be more of a process.”

Evans, who called the potential battle at 174 a “sensitive topic,” wasn’t sure how long he would remain there moving forward. He plans to train and prepare the same way he did before the move.

“I’m going to battle him for the spot. He’s going to battle me for the spot,” Evans said. “Can’t really over-talk things like that. That’s how it is.”

Race for 149 is heating up

There are four options for the spot at 149 pounds, and Iowa coaches are determined to slim that list down to two.

The front-runnersare redshirt freshman Brody Grothus and redshirt sophomore Mike Kelly, Brands said. Even then, there’s no clear indication on who will eventually earn the spot going forward.

“There’s a lot of progress being made in here that people don’t necessarily see,” the coach said. “I don’t think it makes it any clearer who the guy is, though.”

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