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Gambrall Returns, Plans to Stay at Higher Weight

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IOWA CITY, Iowa Fans will have to get used to a few changes when it comes to Grant Gambrall returning to the University of Iowa wrestling lineup.

First, they will hear the AC/DC classic "You Shook Me All Night Long" over the his odd choice of entrance theme's last year, which was the tame "Lion Sleeps Tonight." Secondly, Hawkeye fans will have to get used to the returning All-American at 197 pounds.

In just his second match of the year, Gambrall scored a 7-3 victory over Taylor Kettman at 197, helping top-ranked Iowa to a 38-4 win over University of Northern Iowa Thursday night in front of 7,078 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Gambrall suffered a concussion before the season and was hampered by its lingering effects. He won his only previous match, which was Nov. 25 at the Iowa City Duals.

The move appears to be permanent, attempting to solidify an unproven spot in the lineup.

"Yeah, I do," Gambrall said about the move to 197. "That's the plan."

One that seems to be initiated by Gambrall.

"That's up to Grant," said Brands, affirming Gambrall will be at the higher weight for the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30. "Right now, that's what we're seeing."

Gambrall, who placed third at the NCAA's at 184 last year, scored three takedowns and didn't allow an offensive point to give the Hawks (5-0) the first of nine wins.

It was a positive to be back on the mat and competing in front of the home crowd.

"I'm still not at the level I'd like to be at obviously. I need to be a lot sharper and a lot more dominant, but it felt great to get back out there," Gambrall said. "Nothing better than wrestling in front of a bunch of fans at Carver."

Gambrall appeared to get stronger as the match progressed, scoring five points, including two takedowns, in the final period. He pushed through the mental wall.

"It's just something you get from practicing as hard as we do," Gambrall said. "Even when maybe you haven't been working out as hard as you would have liked to or as long as you'd like to, you still get that mental aspect when you're wrestling for the Hawks and battling in that room every day and able to push through things when it's not feeling the best. It's not about how you feel. It's about taking care of business."

Gambrall said the injury caused his weight to jump over 200 pounds. It affected his decision to drop down to 184. His conditioning needs improvement.

"Right now, there's work to do," Gambrall said. "I don't think I'm too far off. Tonight maybe was as representative what I'm capable of even right now."

He was a welcomed site to his teammates.

"I think he did a good job," said Matt McDonough, a former Linn-Mar state champion who earned a 10-1 major decision over former Cedar Rapids Kennedy state champion Cruse Aarhus at 125. "It says a lot for how fast he's come back and doing things right and being about wrestling hard and not letting up."

The Hawkeyes dominated after Gambrall's victory. Iowa reeled off five major decisions, leading 23-4 and owning a 21-2 advantage in takedowns during that stretch.

It was capped by red-shirt freshman's Josh Dziewa's debut in the lineup. Dziewa was the latest to fill the 149-pound slot for the Hawkeyes, and claimed a 14-6 win over Clay Welter.

"It was nice to get an opportunity," Dziewa said. "Go out there and do what I do."

He was in control, scoring a five-point move early and building a 12-2 lead after two periods. He held on to the major decision, despite giving up two third-period takedowns

"A little spark there, maybe," Brands said. "We want to see who's going to come out and score points and hold up. He did one but we have work to do in the other."

Derek St. John followed with a 3-1 win over NCAA qualifier David Bonin at 157. The two had split in two matches last season. St. John scored a takedown in the opening period and added an escape in the third for the difference.

St. John was riding Bonin in the second when time was called and St. John went to his back and yelped in pain. After trainers tended to his right knee, the matched resumed and St. John remained unbeaten at 10-0.

"Impressive to me," said Brands, noting it was gutsy for St. John to finish on one leg. "You're building toughness there in December. That's a good thing."

Mike Evans closed the meet with a fall over Riley Banach at 165. It was night and day from the way the Panthers (1-3) started, getting a major decision from Ryan Loder at 184 and a 4-0 lead in Doug Schwab's return to Carver-Hawkeye as Panthers' head coach.

Schwab witnessed some fight, but UNI needs more of it.

"You've got to fight every second of every match in every position," Schwab said. "Some of our guys aren't there yet. We concede things to whomever we wrestle. it's tough enough the way it is. If you start giving away points and let guys have easy scores ... it stacks the odds even more against you."

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
184 pounds - Ryan Loder (UNI) major dec. Vinnie Wagner, 13-2 (3,1); 197 - Grant Gambrall (I) dec. Taylor Kettman, 7-3 (3,0); Hwt. Bobby Telford (I) major dec. Blayne Beale, 12-0 (3,0); 125 - Matt McDonough (I) major dec. Cruse Aarhus, 10-1 (3,0); 133 - Tony Ramos (I) major dec. Ryan Jauch, 15-5 (6,0); 141 Montell Marion (I) major dec. Seth Noble, 18-8 (8,0); 149 - Josh Dziewa (I) major dec. Clay Welter, 14-6 (3,2); 157 - Derek St. John (I) dec. David Bonin, 3-1 (1,0); 165 - Mike Evans (I) pinned Riley Banach, 1:10 (1,0); 174 Ethen Lofthouse (I) won by forfeit.
Takedowns: UNI 5, Iowa 29. Reversals: UNI 0, Iowa 0; Escapes: UNI 22, Iowa 8; Nearfall points: UNI 4, Iowa 13. Penalty points (awarded): UNI 0, Iowa 2. Riding time points: UNI 1, Iowa 5. Total match points: UNI 37, Iowa 86.
Attendance: 7,078.
Referee: Kevin Tann.

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