Regular season has ended for wrestling, and thus, postseason wrestling beckons.
Iowa wrestling is preparing for the Big Ten Championships on March 3-4 and shortly after, the NCAA Championships on March 15-17. The postseason will be interesting, because there are new faces with clinched places and new places without clear faces.
The latter concerns sophomore Paul Glynn.
In years past, the 133 spot was held by Cory Clark, who placed first at NCAAs last year. Considering this and that Iowa wrestling is known for the strength of its lightweights, whoever fills that spot has big shoes to fill.
Glynn, like the other unknowns on the team, intends to make them fit.
“I guess that there’s a phrase out there, ‘Free the Lee,’ and it’s more like, ‘Free Paul Glynn,’ ” head coach Tom Brands said in December. “Let Paul Glynn be free to wrestle his match.”
Throughout the season, Glynn has struggled to keep his record up to claim his spot. He has been in the starting lineup only nine times this season, and of those nine times, he has won only three.
He was decent after redshirting his first year on campus. Competing unattached in the 2015-16 season, he recorded a 15-9 record. In 2016-17, he posted a record of 7-6, including a second-place finish at the Luther College and Pat “Flash” Flanagan Opens.
He also led Bettendorf High to a state title in 2014.
That previous success didn’t translate at the beginning of the season, though, and Brands attributed it to a simple rut.
“I don’t anticipate that he’ll be in his rut for long,” Brands said in December. “[It’s] something we’ve got to work really hard to improve on so he can have some peace in his life.”
Glynn has been working on this, pulling out two wins in his last three matches, one against Northwestern’s No. 20 Colin Valdiviez by decision, 3-2, and one Feb. 18 against Iowa State’s Markus Simmons, also by decision.
It’s the most recent match that has fans talking, though. In the first half of the match, Simmons scored a takedown and a 4-point near-fall, taking a 6-point lead.
Glynn didn’t yield, however. He battled out the rest of the match, scoring his own takedown and near-fall, putting riding time in his favor, and securing the victory with one last takedown.
But that there was a comeback needed has Brands concerned.
“We have to keep working on near-miss defense; get the comeback, stay in there,” Brands said. “Get back to what you do well, and go in deep on those shots and converted. That’s the thing: He finished, he didn’t get rattled, and dug himself out of a hole. [But] we’ve got to start quicker on the things that will get you down.”
Glynn’s resiliency might be what earns him the spot at 133, but if he wants to keep it, he needs to turn comeback energy into “get ahead” energy. Brands expects resiliency. But he also expects dominance from the start.