Lofthouse going for strong finish
Iowa assistant coach Terry Brands celebrates as Luke Lofthouse defeats Indiana's Matt Powless in their 197-pound match, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Press-Citizen/ Matthew Holst)
Luke Lofthouse knows his college wrestling career ultimately will be defined by how well he finishes.
He competes for a program in which wrestlers are distinguished by their accomplishments in March. But for the Iowa senior, how well he finishes his career likely will be dictated by how well he finishes his scoring attacks.
?The end-all is what counts, especially the end of (a wrestler?s) senior year,? Iowa coach Tom Brands said. ?A guy like Lofthouse wants to make sure he?s feeling good about where he ends up.?
Lofthouse has been climbing the national rankings at 197 pounds in recent weeks. His latest victory, a 10-5 win last week against then-No. 5 Matt Powless of Indiana, vaulted Lofthouse to No. 8, the highest ranking of his career at Iowa.*
The second-ranked Hawkeyes (12-0-1, 5-0 Big Ten) wrestle at 6 p.m. against No. 23 Purdue (6-7-1, 1-4 Big Ten) at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind.
For Lofthouse, it?s another opportunity against a highly ranked opponent. He takes a 13-3 record into his match with No. 10 Logan Brown, who won a 3-1 overtime decision last year in their only other meeting.
Lofthouse couldn?t turn scoring opportunities into points during his previous match against Brown. That was a common theme during his junior year when he filled in for injured starter Chad Beatty during the last two months of the regular season and compiled a 19-13 record.
The problem for Lofthouse wasn?t getting to the legs of an opponent. It was finishing takedowns once he got there.
?That?s probably the biggest thing I worked on,? he said.* ?Every match that I lose, there?s (been) opportunities to score that I wasn?t capitalizing on. That?s been the difference. Even this year, the matches that I?ve lost, it?s been the same thing ? I wasn?t able to finish when I had the leg.?
Lofthouse has come a long way since last year when his single-leg shots turned into adventurous finish attempts. Sometimes he scored. Sometimes he stumbled. Almost always, there was some type of hiccup between the initial attack and the result.
Although Lofthouse?s success rate on shots isn?t as high as some of his teammates, he?s scoring more frequently on his attacks than he did last year or even earlier this season. He scored four takedowns against Powless, who entered the match with a 30-2 record and had only lost to top-ranked Cam Simaz of Cornell.
?It?s almost where you start to feel it happen and now the desire to get it more and more increases,? Lofthouse said. ?It?s almost like a shark with blood. You get a little taste of blood and you?re going until you?ve got what?s for dinner. It?s the same thing with this.?
Lofthouse said Iowa?s coaches helped him make technical adjustments. He staying on his feet better and said he?s transitioning faster from shot to finish now. Although he said it?s not seamless yet, it?s getting closer. It?s the byproduct of hundreds of hours of drilling on thousands of shots.*
*?I wouldn?t even know where to start (guessing how many), but it?s a lot,? Lofthouse said. ?They say you need to do something 10,000 times before it becomes routine. You start adding those up between practices. ?* I?ve got to be past 10,000 by now.?
Tags: Luke Lofthouse, Tom Brands
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