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Iowa needs Gambrall at 184, Lira ready at 197

[ 1 ] February 8, 2012 |

Junior Grant Gambrall can’t wait to move a weight down from 197 pounds. Sophomore Tomas Lira can’t wait for another shot at 197.

Both are likely to get their wish in the upcoming weeks.

Gambrall, who was an all-American at 184 last season, is expected to wrestle there Feb. 19 if Iowa (10-3) wins the National Duals Regional on Sunday in Ames.

“I can’t go 184 by rules until the Final Four,” Gambrall said. “I’m getting myself back to where I was at the end of last year, the summer before the injuries.

“I feel I won’t be missing a step. I feel like maybe I was missing a step when I first came back two months ago. As of now, I feel like I’ve finally got everything underneath me that I need.”

Because of an offseason head injury, Gambrall spent nearly five months not doing much of anything. He put on weight, so at the start of the season it made sense to start competing at 197.

“At the time, it wasn’t supposed to be a trial run,” Gambrall said. “We tried that option, and it didn’t work.”

Gambrall has put together a 7-7 record at 197. That includes a seven losses in his last 10 matches. Part of his struggle has been coming back from injury, but most is trying to wrestle up a weight class.

“I didn’t think there was (much difference) going into the year, but I might have a different view on that now,” Gambrall said. “Definitely a size difference. Their hips are bigger, you’ve got to finish quicker and get to the angle faster.

“I’ve lost weight the last two weeks, and I feel a lot quicker and am able to move quicker.”

Gambrall will have to get acclimated to 184 in a hurry. The Big Ten Championships are March 3 and Gambrall needs to place to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships because he hasn’t wrestled enough at 184 to be given a wild card entry.

“But you don’t want to put yourself in that situation anyway,” Gambrall said. “Don’t leave it up to chance. My plan is to win the Big Ten Tournament and that will take care of itself.”

With Gambrall cutting down, 197 is left to Lira, who is 11-8 this season, including 2-4 in duals.

Lira is another ’tweener, who could wrestle at 184 if given enough notice. But the sophomore from Nichols isn’t moving anywhere.

“For me, personally, it doesn’t make a difference,” Lira said. “If I’m in the right mindset, I’m going to go out there and do my best.

“I don’t think it really makes a difference what I weigh as long as I come out there with the right mindset, ready to go.”

Lira hasn’t made the move, yet.

He was the only Hawkeye to lose Sunday against Wisconsin, falling 9-7. It was the fourth match he’s lost by two points this year. He’s lost two other by one point.

“I’ve just got to wrestle my matches,” Lira said. “Too much I’m wrestling other people’s matches. I’m letting them slow me down and that can’t happen anymore.”

Lira thinks he has the mix of power as a 197-pounder and speed as an 184-pounder to get the job done.

“I kind of got the best of both worlds,” Lira said. “I’m pretty strong pound for pound. I can get in quick, move them into where I’m good.

If there is a time for Lira to take off and become more aggressive, that time is now. The other option at 197 is redshirt freshman Jeremy Fahler, who is another ’tweener.

“I said if I get my chance again, I’ll do a lot better,” Lira said. “I have to prove myself.”

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Category: Wrestling

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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