Iowa squeaks by Edinboro, 22-19


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If Sammy Brooks was nervous before his 197-pound bout with Edinboro’s Vincent Pickett, he sure didn’t show it.

Brooks entered the dual with a lot riding on his bout. Iowa held just a 5-point lead at the time. A loss meant the No. 15 Fighting Scots could still upset the top-ranked Hawkeyes. A win put the upset out of reach.

Brooks kept calm, and used the second period to turn Pickett three times. He ultimately won by a major decision, 11-0, sealing what ended up being a 22-19 Iowa victory.

It was an odd dual to begin with for Iowa, now 5-0 on the season. Head coach Tom Brands said earlier in the week that Thomas Gilman would get the nod at 125 pounds over fourth-ranked Cory Clark. Further, Brands brought two 149-pounders — Brody Grothus and Michael Kelly — and is still without two starters — 197-pounder Nathan Burak and heavyweight Bobby Telford.

The roster moves had a promising beginning. Gilman used five takedowns to topple No. 17 Kory Mines, 12-3, and Iowa opened the dual with a 4-0 lead.

But then disaster struck, and the Hawkeyes fell into a deep hole. It began at 133 pounds, where No. 8 A.J. Schopp upset top-ranked Tony Ramos, 3-2. Schopp used a tough first-period ride and stout defense to take the bout. If not for a last-second takedown in the second period of the match, Ramos might not have scored at all.

Edinboro’s Mitchell Port, the No. 2 141-pounder, followed the upset with a second-period pin over No. 13 Josh Dziewa. After a scoreless first period, Port wasted no time finishing the match and giving Edinboro a 9-4 lead through three matches.

Tenth-ranked Dave Habat completed Iowa’s nightmarish start with a 13-4 major decision over Brody Grothus. Derek St. John, the nation’s top-ranked 157-pounder, answered with a major decision of his own in the next bout, but the Fighting Scots held a 13-8 lead at the halfway mark of the dual.

Stemming from St. John’s victory, Iowa climbed out of the hole with four-straight victories — especially with help from Mike Evans and Brooks, who each earned major decisions to help Iowa clinch the dual before the final match.

Nick Moore held the same mindset during his 165-pound bout with Edinboro’s Zach Towers but managed just an 11-4 victory after not being able to score a takedown in the third period.

Ethen Lofthouse, ranked second at 184 pounds, escaped what was almost an upset. Tied at one in the match’s final period, Lofthouse scored a takedown off a re-shot that gave him a 3-1 lead. But Nick Mitchell, wrestling in place of Edinboro’s Vic Avery — who’s ranked No. 8 at 184 pounds — managed an escape, allowing Lofthouse to win just 3-2.

Brooks’ match proved to be much bigger than initially believed, as Tomas Lira — who weighed in at 197.5, more than 50 pounds under his opponent — was pinned early in the dual’s final match. Edinboro’s Ernest James locked up a cradle and managed to flatten Lira to bring the crowd members to their feet, despite the final result.

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