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Iowa's Grothus weighs options

BY CODY GOODWIN | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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Last week, after Brandon Sorensen beat defending NCAA Champion Jason Tsirtsis during the Hawkeyes’ thrashing of Northwestern, Iowa coach Tom Brands raised some eyebrows when he said Brody Grothus has “a couple different options.”

“Sorensen has solidified himself at 149,” Brands added on Tuesday. “But that has nothing to do with Grothus. He’s very valuable to what we’re doing this year, and for next year as well. There’s options for him.

“But number one, we have to get him one-hundred percent healthy. He has the mindset that he’s moving forward that way. He’s live in the room now. He’ll keep moving that way.”

Grothus, the presumed starter at 149 at the season’s beginning, injured his left ankle at the Midlands Championships and defaulted out of the tournament after losing to Tsirtsis, 3-2 in overtime, in the tournament’s semifinals. The junior, who’s 14-2, has not wrestled a competitive match since.

In that time, Sorensen has overtaken him as Iowa’s guy at 149 pounds, and flourished to the tune of a third-place Midlands finish, two Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors, and has beaten both Tsirtsis and Oklahoma State’s Josh Kindig, last season’s 149-pound NCAA finalists, among other ranked opponents.

“Sorensen’s taken that spot and he’s ran with it,” Grothus said. “You have to credit him for doing that. There was really no doubt in anyone’s mind. We have two guys at that weight that can win a national title.

“With this injury from the Midlands, I’ve been on the losing side of it. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to train like I want to be the guy. I’m going to find a way into the lineup somehow.”

Rumors have surfaced that Grothus might be on his way down to 141 pounds to challenge current starter Josh Dziewa for the spot. When asked, Grothus said he and the coaches hadn’t talked about that yet, and his main focus was getting back to 100 percent.

“Our main focus right now is just getting healthy and getting back scrapping,” he said. “Once we do that, we'll see how my body feels and where my weight’s at, and we can always play with something.”

When asked what Grothus’s options were, Brands smiled and said, “You tell me. How’s that? We don’t have to play a game here.”

Brands added: “We can talk about a lot of different match scenarios, but number one is he gets healthy … He adds a lot of service to us, even in a role that he may not probably be happy [with].”

Grothus said it would take time for his body to get “readjusted to that lower weight … if that’s ultimately what happens,” and that he’s still at a 149-pounder’s weight right now.

More than anything, though, Grothus just wants to get back to wrestling hard again, because “it’s tough to lose weight when you’re sitting in a boot.”

“I was texting my brother and some old coaches and friends,” he added. “And they really just focused on using this break as a little motivator, as a little re-energizer.

“I’m coming back fresh. I haven’t seen the mat in a month. I’m coming back guns blazing.”

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


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