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Iowa wrestling media day notebook: 149, 157 up for grabs

BY JORDAN HANSEN | NOVEMBER 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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Of the few spots that are not set for the Iowa wrestling team this season, none are more apparent than what will likely become a battle for the 149- and 157-pound spots.

Despite Iowa having returners at both weights — Brody Grothus at 149 and Mike Kelly at 157, head coach Tom Brands certainly left the door open for others to challenge them for a starting job.

“Then next weekend we go to Luther Open, and we’ll know more there. But where are we at, at those weights is Grothus is a returner at 49. Fifty-seven, we have a veteran there, Mike Kelly,” Brands said. “Those two guys will factor in, but there are some exciting new names in there, as well, with Edwin Cooper and Brandon Sorensen.”

Cooper is a junior-college transfer from Upper Iowa who was a runner-up at the NCAA Division II championships last season. Listed as a 149 pounder, he will also be in contention for the starting spot with Grothus and Sorenson.

To muddle matters further, Sorensen, a redshirt freshman, is listed at 149 and 157, but his thoughts on where he feels that he belongs were made quite clear on media day.

“In my mind it’s wherever I want to go, I have the goal to be the champ at nationals at wherever I fall in the lineup,” Sorensen said. “I’m feeling 149 right now, and I’m going to pursue that goal.”

Leading the charge

With the Hawkeyes returning four All-Americans in Cory Clark (125), Mike Evans (174), Nathan Burak (197), and Bobby Telford (285), Iowa is flush with experience, and with eight seniors, it is not a young team.

“I think we have five or six guys who are ready to [step in] that want to do it, that are doing it,” Evans said. “But it’s going to take 10 Ramos; it’s going to take 10 McDonoughs.”

Evans was not the only one with thoughts on leadership — Brands was vocal on who he thought was going to take a leadership role this season.

“There’s a lot of different leaders in our room … I’d say the natural guy being a heavyweight is Bobby Telford, but he’s a two-time All-American, he had the knee injury his sophomore year. That wasn’t fun,” Brands said. “We put that behind us, but it’s time to step up in a much bigger way, and along with nine other weight classes.”

Tempering expectations

While Iowa is ranked No. 2 by Flowrestling, the team hasn’t looked too much into that.

Flowrestling has an Iowa wrestler ranked in every weight with the exception of 157. Despite the high ratings, things have not changed much for the Hawkeyes.

“We feel good about where we are as a team; we feel like we’re strong, and we’re just continuing to build,” Cory Clark said. “To be honest, I haven’t really looked at the ranks or anything that much. I don’t pay much attention to that — we haven’t talked about it a whole lot.”

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa wrestling team.


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