Moore returns in Iowa’s win over Northwestern


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Tom Brands had three matches cir- cled for when 10th-ranked Northwestern came to Iowa City last week. The two most-obvious ones, of course, were at 149 and heavyweight, in which two ranked wrestlers were scheduled to take the mat.

The other was a bit more intrigu- ing, if only because Nick Moore, Io- wa's regular at 165 pounds, made his return to the starting lineup. He had missed the previous two duals for rea- sons unknown, and his replacements had been taken to the woodshed by their opponents.

After his 4-2 overtime victory over sixth-ranked Pierce Harger, Moore admitted there's still some work to do, but noted that it was nice to get a win — especially after Harger beat Moore, 8-5, at the Midlands in late December.

"It's always good to get back on the winning train," said Moore, who is ranked ninth at 165 by Flowrestling. "Like coach says, it's easier to move forward when you're winning."

Before Moore, a senior, sat out of both the Oklahoma State and Illinois duals, he hadn't wrestled well. He was 2-3 in his five previous match- es, and 6-4 in his previous 10. Before that stretch, he was ranked as high as third in some polls.

But there was some encouragement in beating Harger. On Jan. 23, when top-ranked Iowa trampled Northwest- ern, 38-3, Moore wrestled all seven minutes and then another 40 seconds into overtime.

"Those guys are pretty stingy," Moore said. "You just have to stay fo- cused for seven minutes. You kind of have to refocus throughout the match and make sure you're where you need to be and that type of thing.

"When something opens up, you're ready for it, and I was ready for it to- night. Now, to build on this, it's more opening things up instead of waiting for them to open up."

It was not a perfect match, though. Moore struggled to get to his offense throughout the match, and before his winning takedown in overtime, his only points came via escapes. He also surrendered a reversal less than 10 seconds into the third period.

Brands said in the week leading up to the dual that Moore was going through "all kinds of healing," which could be a hint that he was maybe fighting through some small injury.

After the dual, Brands said Moore needed to get to his offense a little more. He lauded Moore's effort in overtime, scoring off his shot but add- ed that he could have done that earli- er in the match.

"I think we got in one other time, and maybe another time, but we were basically one-for-two or one-for- three," Brands said. "Our snaps are strong. He's strong. That was a match we pointed to. We owed him a little bit from the Midlands.

"... That's what you have to do. When you give yourself an opportuni- ty, in on that leg, seize it."
Moore did just that, but he knows that more important matches are on the horizon. Iowa will travel to Minnesota at the end of this week to wres- tle the second-ranked Gophers in the Barn, and Moore will have to win his match against 16th- ranked Nick Wanzek if Iowa is to leave with a team victory.

But even passed that, Moore's ultimate goal is to be on top of the podium after the NCAA champi- onships in March. He'll continue to build until then, so that, next time, he won't need an over- time takedown to win a match.

That's something his opponents know, too.

"It's still just January," Harger told the Daily Northwestern last week. "For me, for most of the guys, the most important thing is to do well at Big Tens and at NCAAs. You can't win any titles in January."

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

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