Clark takedown underlined trust in Brands
EVANSTON, Ill. --
Cory Clark would glance to the corner at times during his rookie season as a college wrestler hoping Terry Brands would appear.
Those were instances when exhaustion was setting in and Clark figured Iowa's associate head coach could say something to give him a boost.
Fatigue was less of a problem Tuesday than the general stinginess of Illinois sophomore Zane Richards. But Iowa's 133-pound sophomore trusted the advice coming from the coach in his corner.
"I'm not about going out there and feeling people out, but it kind of happened and Terry kept barking at me from the corner: 'Get to him, it's there,'" Clark said. "Every time I went out of bounds he'd tell me and it kind of clicked."
Clark's best shot of the night produced the winning takedown midway through the third period. It also underlined his trust in Brands.
"I've had days where I've felt like I've had nothing left to give and Terry pointing at his temple saying 'It's all in here' can stand you up and make you do more," Clark said. "It's crazy how much of an impact him and (Iowa coach) Tom (Brands) have had on me. I thank them and I'm blessed to be with them."
Brandon Wright turned to the Iowa corner Monday night and flexed after posting his first career win against a Hawkeye.
It was a bold and demonstrative move by the Grand View senior in the face of the two coaches sitting in the Iowa chairs – Olympic gold medalist Tom Brands and his twin brother, Terry, a two-time World champ.
Wright knows who he was dealing with. He wants the Hawkeyes to know who they're up against too.
"We want to dual Iowa," he said. "We want to dual Iowa State. We want to dual UNI. We want to dual those teams as much as possible. That was a statement to put us on the schedule and give our guys a shot. Everyone knows Grand View is up and coming and we're a small-division program, but Iowa wrestling is Iowa wrestling and I know that's the mecca of wrestling.
"It was good to be a small-division guy and pin a Hawkeye. It was just a little flex at Brands to let them know we can compete with you guys. We're not some small school guys that you're going to stomp on."
Wright proved at the Midlands Championships that he's no pushover, either. The NAIA champion placed seventh at 141 pounds, showing he can hang with some of college wrestling's top competitors at the weight.
He posted victories against four Division-I wrestlers, including seventh-ranked Todd Preston of Harvard and Iowa's Topher Carton, which sparked the emotional outburst.
"As long as (the Brands brothers) don't come into my corner, I'm OK with it," Grand View coach Nick Mitchell joked. "I want him to be loose out there. I want him having fun. He doesn't mean it like he's calling anybody out. He's just excited. That's how he is."
The haziness that lingered over Iowa's wrestling lineup through the first two months of the season might hang around a little bit longer.
Tom Brands wouldn't tip his hand Tuesday about the two weights at the center of discussion, except to say the Hawkeyes will take 149-pounders Brody Grothus and Brandon Sorensen and 197-pounder Nathan Burak on their weekend road trip to Rutgers and Ohio State.
Grothus medical forfeited to sixth place Tuesday after dropping a 3-2 tiebreaker decision to defending NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis of Northwestern in the semifinals. Sorensen lost by the same score to Edinboro All-American David Habat in the semifinals before wrestling back to place third.
Burak, who has been dealing with a knee issue, won the title at 197, scoring a last-second takedown to claim a 4-3 victory against Wisconsin's Timmy McCall. The junior All-American wrestled unattached and still has the option to redshirt this season.
"Everybody wants to know, but you're not going to know," Brands said. "You'll know when I know. There are things that go on inside that knee. I'm not God. I pray every night for it, but I can't see in there. … We're going to be patient with this thing.
"Forty-nine, they didn't meet and Grothus medical forfeited down to sixth. We'll see. Let's open things up a little bit."