Hawkeyes' Brody Grothus making the cut to 141 pounds

Chad Leistikow

IOWA CITY, Ia. – We haven't seen Brody Grothus on the mat since December. Wednesday in the Iowa wrestling room, he sported a fresh, tight haircut. There was something else different, too.

"How do I look?" the junior from Davenport said. "A little skinnier?"

That's right. Grothus has been cutting weight behind the scenes and said he'll be all the way down to 141 pounds by Friday's 7 p.m. dual against Michigan.

"It's exciting," Grothus said. "Gosh, it's like the start of a new season almost."

The fact that Grothus is making such a significant in-season cut underscores the stability that Brandon Sorensen has given the Hawkeyes at 149 pounds and the inconsistency Josh Dziewa has shown at 141.

Like Dziewa, Grothus possesses a high-reward potential that the Hawkeyes may need come March. A year ago while competing at 149 – where he's wrestled his entire college career – Grothus beat the guys that would finish 1-2-3-4 at the NCAA Championships, but faded with losses in four of his final five bouts.

Grothus recently said he would do what was needed to get back into the lineup. With No. 2-ranked Sorensen running away with the in-house competition at 149 after Grothus got hurt at the Midlands Championships, 141 has become his best path.

"There's an extra eight pounds I've got to find," said Grothus, who went 14-2 with a win over Sorensen before injuring his ankle. "You know, it's really just staying disciplined. When you've got a goal in your mind, you stick to it. Sometimes there's obstacles and things that get in the way. My ankle was the first one. Sorensen was my second one. You find a way around it."

There are complicated NCAA weight-cutting restrictions that Iowa has had to follow for Grothus to reach his lowest-certified weight by the Feb. 15 (Sunday) deadline. Iowa coach Tom Brands said the math works out.

"We're ready," Brands said.

But can Grothus be a viable option at 141 in this season's 11th hour? That probably can be answered by Dziewa (19-6), a senior who at No. 10 nationally is among the Hawkeyes' lowest-ranked starters.

A week ago, Brands said Dziewa needed to back up his talk with more action on the mat.

Wednesday, Brands called Dziewa a national-title contender at a weight topped by Ohio State's Logan Stieber — who beat Dziewa by technical fall on Jan. 4.

"We just need to keep bringing Josh Dziewa along. I think he can win it all," Brands said. "I mean, 141. Stieber? That's a salty opponent – a guy that's established himself, going for (NCAA title) No. 4, and I'm saying he can win it all. That's how much we believe in our guys."

If Brands wants to give Grothus a whirl at 141, he's got Friday vs. Michigan, Sunday vs. Virginia and up to three more chances at the National Duals to do it.

Grothus wants to get a shot to provide separation at 141. He chuckled at the notion that both he and his roommate, Iowa football quarterback Jake Rudock, went from starters to backups in January.

"It's funny you put it that way, but in my mind I'm not second string," Grothus said. "I'm not a sideline guy. When I was out there, in my mind, I was our guy. One little setback isn't going to change the way my mind thinks.

"(The coaches) see something in me that going down to 41 might be the best case for myself, maybe for the team. It all depends. It's going to shake out how it's meant to be."