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Sorting out 125

BY DANNY PAYNE | FEBRUARY 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa wrestling fans know about the situation at 125 pounds for the Hawkeyes. After Cory Clark beat Thomas Gilman at the Luther Open last November, he was in the lineup for roughly a month, with the exception of one dual.

But then things changed.

MGMT’s “Electric Feel” played over the sound system at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to open the Penn State dual. Gilman and his red shoes emerged from the tunnel to wrestle Nico Megaludis rather than Clark and his black footwear.

It came to light after the Hawkeyes lost to the Nittany Lions in December that Clark, the more successful of Iowa’s 125-pounders and the Hawkeyes’ better option this season, was having issues controlling his weight. Gilman stayed in the lineup over Clark, even though head coach Tom Brands said the latter was scheduled to compete against Indiana on Jan. 12, but the Hoosiers forfeited the weight.

Sam Brancale of Minnesota pinned Gilman on Jan. 25, and Clark wrestled at Northwestern on Jan. 31, finishing with a major decision over Garrison White.

So whom is “the guy”? Brands has been hesitant to name a full-time starter because of the talent he has at his disposal, but one of the 125-pounders has a clear edge in terms of bonus points — Clark.

Clark is more explosive than his counterpart and has more potential to give the Hawkeyes a higher team score come postseason. Obviously, every point is going to be huge when competing with the likes of Penn State and Minnesota.

The Southeast Polk product has a 13-1 record this season (excluding two medical forfeits) and has scored bonus points in 10 of those matches — eight pins and two majors.

Gilman, on the other hand, owns a 16-3 clip with only six wins with bonus points. He’s collected a technical fall, two falls, and three major decisions.

But even if Brands decides to go with Gilman in the postseason, he’s still not a bad option — at all.
Gilman has shown he can win. He’s a four-time high-school state champion in Nebraska and won the Midlands Championships, held in Evanston, Ill. He picked up two extremely impressive wins — one over Jarrod Garnett of Bison Legends Wrestling Club, the 2012 Midlands title winner, and the other over defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois — en route to that title.

Winning isn’t the issue for either of the redshirt freshmen. They’ve both shown they can do that. It’s winning decisively and doing so consistently.

Both of these grapplers are good options, and it’s a good problem for Brands and his coaching staff to have. Clark and Gilman have the ability to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, and both have good, promising careers ahead of them in the black and gold Iowa singlet.

Granted, this issue will only be around for one more year. Clark will probably bump up to 133 when Tony Ramos graduates after this season, and everything should sort itself out.

In the meantime, Clark said he is able keep his weight under control. Assuming that is true, he’s the better option this year, strictly because of bonus points. He’s shown he can do it, he’s the more dangerous of the two, and he has the better chance to add an extra point or 2 or 3 to Iowa’s team score when it matters the most — in the month of March.


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