Moore wins marquee bout against Cyclones


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AMES — Nick Moore couldn’t remember how, exactly, he scored his match-winning takedown against Iowa State’s Mike Moreno.

He was sitting at the post-dual press conference shortly after No. 2 Iowa beat No. 6 Iowa State 23-9 on Sunday, trying hard to recall how he came out with a 3-1 victory. His memory failed him, but luckily, Mike Evans helped him out.

“I just kept wrestling,” Moore said, before asking: “Was he in on my legs?”

“Then you locked at his crotch,” Evans said.

“Oh, and then I kind of rolled back a little bit,” Moore continued, the moment now fresh in his memory. “Yeah, that’s something — you don’t really want to be in that position.”

It was a fortuitous result for Moore, whose win over Moreno at 165 pounds closed the book on Iowa’s 11th-straight win over Iowa State. It was also just Moore’s third match all season.

Moore didn’t wrestle at the Luther Open, the tournament that opened Iowa’s 2013-14 campaign.

Head coach Tom Brands said Moore was working through a small injury at the time. On Sunday, Moore had his left knee wrapped up underneath a kneepad.

He returned for the Iowa City Duals on Nov. 22 and competed against both Baker University and Iowa Central. Moore pinned both of his opponents in the first period.

But there was reason to worry that Moore wouldn’t be as ready to tangle with Moreno, who’s ranked third nationally at 165 pounds, according to InterMat. Moore is ranked eighth himself, but the lack of mat time and having just two wins — over weak competition, at that — was good enough for some Iowa wrestling fans to fret.

Moore silenced those in a stew when he scored a takedown out of a scramble with a minute left in his match on Sunday — both he and Moreno traded escapes earlier in the bout. A product of Iowa City West, Moore finished the bout with a tough ride that flattened Moreno and sealed the win.

“He battled,” head coach Tom Brands said. “There were a lot of things going on in that match. He got dinged for stalling, and it didn’t even faze him. That’s good. That’s good to see.”

The win was Moore’s second over Moreno in three tries. He topped the Cyclone in last year’s Iowa-Iowa State dual, 3-2. But Moreno got revenge in the opening round of the NCAA championships by way of a 5-3 victory, ending Moore’s hopes of a national title.

But Moore is very matter-of-fact with respect to getting the win. The rankings don’t mean much to him and likely won’t mean much at all until the seedings for the NCAA Tournament are known. He knows the season is long and that there’s still room to grow.

“I got that same win last year,” Moore said. “You just keep building from here. Keep everything in perspective and take it for what it’s worth.”

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