116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Topher Carton has been in a similar situation.
The senior 141-pounder has vied for a starting spot, wrestling in five duals for Iowa last season. Unfortunately for Carton, he didn't hold that spot for the championship season.
Don't expect Carton to be complacent with a title at Saturday's Luther Open in Decorah. Carton defeated teammate Paul Glynn, 4-2, in the final.
'I think it's a matter of just not taking anything for granted, continuing to progress and get better,' said Carton, who was 10-5 last year with two close losses to ranked foes. 'It's November. There's a lot of time until March and really doesn't matter until you get to Big Tens (and) NCAAs.'
Carton was expected to compete with redshirt freshmen Vince Turk and Glynn, who is listed at 133 as well. He opened strong, recording two technical falls, a major decision and a pin. Turk medical forfeited from the tournament.
Iowa Coach Tom Brands said that Carton made a statement with his showing, but has to continue those results in competition and practice.
'He knows what his mission is,' Brands said. 'He's been in this position before where he was maybe a guy who could have emerged or asserted himself. He's done a good job so far. Have to keep rolling.'
Carton said he has matured and grown during his wrestling career. He said he learned that just because you have something one day doesn't mean you are guaranteed it the next. You have to keep earning it.
'This is something that it's important to realize that November doesn't mean anything and December doesn't either,' Brands said. 'Every time out you are trying to prove yourself and that is the nature of competition.'
Carton admitted it was a good start, critiquing his performance already. The title was 'a good jump-off point' and that is all.
'Looking back at the film, I saw some things I need to work on,' Carton said. 'I think if you asked the coaches they would say the same thing. Like I said before, continuing to get better. Just fine-tuning everything and develop as a wrestler in all areas of the mat.'
He entered the season with a positive mentality. He worked with a new sports psychologist and nutritionist on campus. Carton didn't just train to be the Hawkeye starter, but working for a larger goal would help secure that feat.
'I was training like I was the best wrestler at 141 pounds in the country,' Carton said. 'That's the mentality that we have here. We're not training to make the spot. We train to win a national championship.'
Competition is healthy and Carton embraces it in the practice room. He welcomes the challenge, noting that it sharpens a wrestler's edge. Carton knows he has to be disciplined and maintain his work ethic, preventing others from passing him.
'You have three or four guys right behind you ready to plug themselves in and keep rolling,' Carton said. 'You really have to be diligent about your process and about preparing for matches, weight control, routine, getting up in the mornings and things like that.'
CASH WAS MONEY
Redshirt freshman Cash Wilcke won his first official tournament as a Hawkeye, beating fellow Iowa classmate Mitch Bowman, 3-2, in the 197-pound championship.
Wilcke was a two-time state champion for OA-BCIG. With Stephen Holloway at heavyweight filling in for Sam Stoll, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, Wilcke has a bit of an inside track on Bowman for the spot.
'They have to sort things out for themselves as well,' Brands said. 'I think that is the second time Wilcke has beaten him.
'We had a match in this wrestling room with them,' Brands said. 'Wilcke won that by an identical score.'
Brands said the difference this time around was that Wilcke was more offensive. Wilcke attempted to build his lead instead of scoring early and coasting.
'The thing I liked about Wilcke this recent match better is he went to his attacks more often,' Brands said. 'He didn't score but he went more often. The last match it was try to win with one takedown in the first period.'
KNEED TO BE READY
Plenty of athletic tape and ice were used for Hawkeye wrestlers this last week. Brands, who rarely discusses injuries, noted that Iowa was dealing with a rash of knee issues.
'I do know that we have to be ready,' Brands said. 'I don't talk about injuries but we've had eight knee injuries right now and that's because we're not ready. We're not moving our feet. Guys are getting to our legs and tweaking our toes funny. We cannot let guys in on our legs.'
Third-ranked Iowa crowned 12 total champions at the Luther Open, which contained little, if any, NCAA Division I competition. The Hawkeyes host Cornell College and Iowa Central on Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, beginning at 9 a.m. They will have to have a better approach.
'We have to be ready regardless,' Brands said. 'Sometimes you look at the competition and take it for granted. Good lesson. You don't take anybody for granted. Let's see if we can make progress there.'