Notebook: Wrestling focused solely on Michigan


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The last time the Iowa wrestling team had just one eye on its next mission, head coach Tom Brands wasn’t terribly happy with the results.

Last weekend, after the Hawkeyes beat Maryland 33-3, Brands said his team’s performance was “sloppy,” and he could tell they were looking ahead to Penn State.

Perhaps that was a lesson learned, despite escaping the recent East Coast road trip unscathed. The regional round of the National Duals is this weekend, and the top-ranked Hawkeyes will wrestle No. 16 Virginia on Feb. 15 for a spot in the finals, set for Feb. 21-22 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

But first, Iowa must first wrestle No. 15 Michigan on Friday. A win will give the Hawkeyes the Big Ten regular-season title outright, an honor they earned a share of after their 18-12 win over Penn State.

“I heard about Thomas Gilman’s reaction to clinching it, or share, and I like it,” Brands said. “He was confused — like, ‘Share? With who?’

“So we still have work to do, and we’re in a position where we don’t have to share. After looking at it, after seeing that quote and comment. We’ll worry about the work we do, and then we’ll fall where we fall.

“And that’s not most important, but right now, it is because it’s what’s next.”

Grothus looking skinnier

Brands said Wednesday that Brody Grothus has until Feb. 15 to get down to 141 pounds if he plans on challenging Josh Dziewa for the starting spot in Iowa’s lineup.

Grothus, though, said he is, in fact, on his way down — and added that he’ll be available for Iowa at 141 on Friday against Michigan.

“It’s exciting,” Grothus said. “Gosh, it’s like the start of a new season almost.”

Brands said he still has confidence in Dziewa but also said he’ll be ready to make a decision on who his 141-pounder will be before the Big Ten championships.

Senior Night on Friday

Iowa will honor seven wrestling seniors (plus a manager) after Friday night’s dual against Michigan, and with it comes the end of an era with a group of wrestlers that Brands said started out as a wild bunch. He said he had to “corral some of them without putting the fire out of their spirit.”

“I don’t really think I can step back from it and say, ‘This is what happened,’ because I was involved in the process with them,” senior 165-pounder Nick Moore said. “There was definitely some growing pains there, when we all first came in together.”

Senior heavyweight Bobby Telford said Friday’s match won’t be any different from other duals in Carver this season, if only because, after Michigan, Iowa still has to wrestle Virginia.

“It is a big deal, but it’s really not a big deal at the same time,” Telford said. “You love Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and you love the fans here, and you want to thank them for all the excitement they gave you, but it’s just like any other match. You approach it the same.”

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

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