Iowa wrestling swept the elite division of the Luther Open Saturday
By Danny Payne
Any time a team wins 48 matches by fall, it’s a good day on the mats. And that’s what Iowa did at the Luther Open.
The Hawkeyes made the trip to Decorah and took care of business Saturday — sweeping all 10 weight classes in the elite division — against a field of Division II and Division III opponents.
Iowa fans figured their No. 2 Hawkeyes would dominate the less talented field, which they did, but head coach Tom Brands said the weaker competition doesn’t take away from his squad’s performance.
“You can say what you want about the competition but guys don’t lay down,” the eight-year head coach said. “It doesn’t matter what division these guys are — they fight.”
And Iowa senior Tony Ramos won those fights with ease. The Carol Stream, Ill., native recorded a major decision to go along with three pins en route to the 133-pound championship.
“Well that’s good because it means we put up bonus points,” the senior said of his team’s pin total. “It’s exciting to see guys getting pins, it’s something we’ve been working on and emphasizing,”
The weaker opponents allowed the Hawkeyes to “absorb” — as Brands said —information about various weight classes heading into the season.
Iowa learned Cory Clark and Thomas Gilman are both viable options at 125 pounds. The pair of sophomores faced off in the finals at afternoon’s end and Clark got the best of Gilman to take the title back to the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex.
The bout was scoreless after the first two periods, but in the third, the Pleasant Hill native broke through. Clark gained his first score off an escape before getting a takedown in the waning moments of the tilt and picking up the extra point for riding time to take down Gilman, 4-0.
Brands was pleased with Clark’s performance, but mentioned that Gilman has room to improve.
“We have to get off the bottom if Gilman’s going to turn things around,” he said. “Because that’s an edge that he’s missing and that’s really Clark’s edge. I mean, he had two minutes of riding time, didn’t he? Or more — and [Clark] rode Gilman the whole match.”
But it wasn’t just the sophomore duo’s matchup that highlighted the day for the Hawkeyes. Bobby Telford recorded five pins in less than seven minutes on the mat to win the 285-pound title.
In the 184-pound bracket, senior Ethen Lofthouse bested sophomore Sammy Brooks to take the crown. Both grapplers recorded two pins on the day.
Mike Evans also had a strong day in Decorah. The clean-shaven Enola, Pa., native recorded beat Wartburg’s Landon Williams by tech fall in the first-place match to solidify a strong day’s work.
Missing from the Hawkeye lineup were regulars Nick Moore at 165 and 2013 197-pound NCAA Tournament-qualifier Nathan Burak. Brands said Moore has a minor injury and Burak was unable to make the trip because of academic responsibilities.
However, the most important aspect of the tournament for Brands is to continue the success his team had Saturday.
“Let’s keep doing this and as the competition gets stiffer can you do it again? That’s the question,” Brands said. “Can you do it again? Show me you can do it again, over and over.
125 pounds: Cory Clark (IA) 4-0 over Thomas Gilman (IA)
133 pounds: Tony Ramos (IA) 14-5 over Evan Obert (Luther)
141 pounds: Josh Dziewa (IA) 4-0 over Topher Carton (Unattached, IA)
149 pounds: Mike Kelly (IA) 6-5 over Edwin Cooper (Upper Iowa)
157 pounds: Derek St. John (IA) 8-2 over Brandon Sorenson (Unattached, IA)
165 pounds: Walt Gilmor (IA) MFF over Cole Welter (Wartburg)
174 pounds: Mike Evans (IA) 16-0 over Landon Williams (Wartburg)
184 pounds: Ethen Lofthouse (IA) 3-2 over Sammy Brooks (IA)
197 pounds: Kris Klapprodt (IA) 5-1 over Shane Siefert (Wisconsin-Whitewater)
285 pounds: Bobby Telford (IA) WBF 4:42 over Ryan Fank (Wartburg)