Thomas Gilman responds to loss with 'psychological' win

Chad Leistikow

Iowa's Thomas Gilman celebrates after defeating Cornell's Nahshon Garrett, 3-1, during their EAS/NWCA National Duals semifinal matchup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Thomas Gilman's loss to open the National Duals was a bit jarring.

But with an assist from 184-pound teammate Sammy Brooks, Gilman made sure one loss didn't become two.

Iowa's fifth-ranked 125-pounder responded to his second setback of the season by knocking off No. 3 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell 3-1 to open a semifinal dual won by the Hawkeyes 24-8.

Three hours earlier, Gilman was upset by eighth-ranked Sean Boyle of Chattanooga in overtime 3-1.

"You take five minutes. You weep. You do whatever you need to do," Gilman said, minutes after improving to 24-2. "You've got to realize there's nine other guys that need you.

"Brooks comes up to me and says, 'Hey, get your head out of your you-know-what. We need you.' I said, 'Yes, sir.' "

Cornell coach Rob Koll said Gilman shut down Garrett's dangerous, attacking style. He also thought Garrett looked nervous in front of a pro-Iowa crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"I'm glad we saw him today," Koll said, "as opposed to waiting to nationals and having to face that type of style."

Gilman was the aggressor against Garrett, finally scoring a takedown with 19 seconds left to snap a 1-1 tie. Carver-Hawkeye roared.

Beating Garrett was huge on many levels for Gilman, a sophomore preparing for his first NCAA Championships in three-plus weeks after he sat behind Cory Clark at 125 a year ago.

"I don't give two blanks about what (Garrett)'s ranked or who he is," Gilman said. "To me, winning that match was more emotional and psychological coming off a loss, you know?"

And now, Gilman gets a chance to prove himself again in Sunday's National Duals final against Missouri. The Tigers' representative at 125? That would be top-ranked Alan Waters, who dispatched two-time defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

"It doesn't matter the ranking, but he's a worthy opponent," Gilman said of Waters. "He's good in certain areas, but so am I."