Midweights show depth, still raw


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When the dust settled in a 37-0 Iowa win over Michigan State on Dec. 6, the Hawkeyes unsurprisingly had winners at 141, 149, and 157.

Thing is, none of the grapplers who wrestled at those weights competed in the previous meet against Iowa State.

Of the three midweights, no one looked more comfortable than junior Brody Grothus as he dismantled Michigan State’s Kaelen Richards in a 16-1 technical-fall victory at 149 pounds.

An impressive win that perhaps provided a bit more insight into a crowded weight.

“It’s nice to have depth, period; you look at Grothus today, and he was kind of like Evans, Brooks, and even Telford,” head coach Tom Brands said. “He had to work to get that fall; I mean the guy was real loosey-goosey, flexible, and he had to really catch him to put the tech fall on the scoreboard.”

Grothus got the nod over sophomore Brandon Sorensen, who had wrestled against Iowa State, then competed at the Maryville-Kaufman Brand Open in Missouri on the same day as the dual.

This, however, is not the only weight in flux.

Edwin Cooper quietly moved up from 149 to 157 pounds and could perhaps provide competition with senior Michael Kelly.

“I feel like I adjusted well, and I was well prepared for tonight’s match — I felt pretty good out there,” Cooper said. “Coach made the call and told me to go in and wrestle, and I had to put some points up and do what I could do to get the ‘W.’

“I just need to work on moving more and keep attacking and scoring points, and I’ll be good.”

As Cooper noted, it’s obvious there’s a bit of work for him to do as he makes the move to a new weight.

His moves were a bit timid at times and he allowed a takedown about halfway through the second period and generally looked about how an observer would expect a talented junior-college transfer in his first major match in Carver-Hawkeye to look.

“Cooper lets a guy in with an easy takedown … those are things that happen, and so far it hasn’t bit us, where it’s a disaster,” Brands said. “That’s a sign that maybe we’re a little tougher than year ago or two years ago, but we just have to keep getting better there so that stuff doesn’t happen.”

Kelly was “a bit dinged up,” Brands said, and he wanted to go, but Cooper was given the nod and won his match in a 6-5 decision.

Close, but nevertheless it was still a victory and a successful Big Ten début for Cooper.

A similar story played out at 141, where Dziewa was given the night off, which allowed for Topher Carton to get a chance in a Big Ten dual meet.

While Carton probably will not crack the lineup over Dziewa anytime soon, he did win his match and provided yet another example of the depth that Iowa seems to have in the middle of its lineup.

“Guys are scrapping all up and down the lineup; they always talk about if you’re behind Gilman or Clark, you’re one second away, a guy breaks his leg — who’s going to fill his shoes?” Grothus said. “We got to be tough at 10 weight classes, and that’s our goal.

“We don’t need 10 guys to win a national title — we need 20, 30, 40.”

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

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