Iowa senior wrestler Tony Ramos was credited with only winning one match against Michigan on Sunday, but his teammate Brody Grothus might care to differ.
Grothus was in the midst of a back-and-forth match against seventh-ranked Eric Grajales at 149 pounds when he looked over to his bench and saw Ramos cheering him on.
“Everything was seriously a complete blur,” said Grothus, a sophomore. “I couldn’t hear the coaches. I remember looking over to the coaches’ corner and they were even a blur because it was so loud in there.
“All I could see was Tony Ramos’ face. And honestly, that gave me a little bit of a boost. And I had a lot of time to look around because (Grajales) was taking a lot of time to get to the center. So I Iooked right where I knew my family was, and I saw my brother and I saw my dad and I saw Ramos. And you compile those things in there, and they give you the little extra push.”
The 12th-ranked Grothus used that extra push to defeat Grajales 17-14 in overtime, improving his record to 20-8 on the season. Iowa won eight of 10 matches against the Wolverines and cruised to a 26-6 victory before an announced crowd of 8,358 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Sunday’s match was the final appearance for Ramos at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Carol Stream, Ill., native left in style, defeating Rossi Bruno 6-1 to finish his career 34-0 at home. Ramos became the first Hawkeye wrestler to finish his career undefeated at home since Brent Metcalf, who compiled a 25-0 record from 2008-10.
Ramos received a loud ovation after his match and again when he and the other seniors on the team were honored after the dual.
Grothus was asked after the dual to clarify what he meant about being motivated by seeing Ramos’ face.
“You just look at that guy, today is Senior Day, it’s about those guys today,” Grothus said. “I don’t want to focus on me that much because it’s their day. And Tony Ramos is one of the biggest leaders in our room. That’s no secret.”
Grothus also praised 157-pound senior Derek St. John for being a leader. St. John isn’t as vocal as Ramos, but St. John’s message still gets heard through his work ethic and with his performances, which included a 3-1 victory over 14th-ranked Brain Murphy on Sunday.
“I think Derek St. John is a leader by example,” Grothus said of last year’s NCAA champion at 157 pounds. “But Tony Ramos, he’s vocal, he also leads by example. But that guy is the epitome of an Iowa wrestler. When you look over and you see him behind you and he’s on your team, you want to be like Tony Ramos. So that’s what pushed me over the edge.”
Iowa freshman Cory Clark started the dual with a 4-1 victory over Conor Youtsey at 125 pounds. Ramos then expanded Iowa’s lead to 6-0 with his victory at 133 pounds, although, he wasn’t thrilled with his performance.
“I was upset that I didn’t get a major or a pin or a tech fall or something like that, do more and go out on a better note,” Ramos said.
Iowa’s first loss came at 141 pounds where ninth-ranked Josh Dziewa dropped a 3-2 decision to 13th-ranked Steve Dutton.
The Hawkeyes then reeled off six consecutive victories, setting the stage for the showdown at 285 pounds between Michigan’s second-ranked Adam Coon and Iowa’s third-ranked Bobby Telford.
The match lasted through the second tiebreaker and was finally decided by Coon having a slight advantage in riding time with the score tied at 3-3.
Iowa coach Tom Brands was pleased with Telford’s performance despite the loss. However, Brands wasn’t pleased with something that was said between the two coaching staffs while both teams were shaking hands after the dual.
“I’m going to tell you something, Bob Telford out-wrestled the guy,” Brands said. “And I got a little bit of static coming through the line there from their coaching staff. And I’ll take our guy every time there. We were in on the leg three times, and that guy didn’t come close to us. And the bottom line is, so what. Now we’ve got to convert.”
Former West High standout Nick Moore also won a key match at 165 pounds, defeating sixth-ranked Dan Yates 8-2. Moore, who is ranked fourth at 165 pounds, improved his record to 17-2 on the season.
Iowa improved to 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, while Michigan fell to 10-4 and 6-2 in the conference.
Iowa’s next match is Friday against Lehigh in Pennsylvania. The Hawkeyes will finish the regular season at Wisconsin on Feb. 23.