When asked recently about the strides sophomore Nick Moore had made from last season to now, Iowa coach Tom Brands put his hands about two feet apart in front of him.
“About that much,” Brands said last week. “Its evident. The progress he’s made over the last, say, seven matches has been incrementally in the right way, the right direction.
“I’m starting to think he’s coming along the way he needs to. Let’s know it now.”
On Sunday, Moore lost a 3-2 decision to No. 3 Tyler Caldwell at Oklahoma State.
“If you knew how I felt coming off that mat, you’d know … no moral victories,” Moore said. “To be honest with you, not really a lot of good to come out of that match other than to know that I’m right there with guys that are ranked that high.”
Moore, who went 9-6 as a redshirt freshman at 157 subbing in for an injured Derek St. John, is seizing his chance this year.
“I didn’t look at it like (I was subbing),” Moore said. “I know a lot of people did. I looked at it as 157 was mine for the time being. I didn’t take it as the back-up filling in. I got a lot out of that. I grew a lot.”
When Mike Evans and Ethen Lofthouse each moved up a weight coming into the season, it opened up 165 for Moore.
“When you get the opportunity, you’ve got to take it or it could be another year, and another year, and all of a sudden I’ve graduated,” Moore said. “And its over.
“You’ve got to take opportunities, especially in this program.”
Ranked 18th with an 8-3 record going into a pair of duals in Michigan this weekend, Moore is looking for more. No pun intended.
“Do I think Nick Moore showed more progression towards what he’s capable of? Yes,” Brands said. “We like where he’s headed.”
That means more scoring. Opening up his offense.
“I’ve got to learn to get in my shots, learn to score,” Moore said. “Its been a problem that needs to get fixed.
“I think I have the ability; I just need to do it. Not sure if that’s corny or cheesy.”
On Friday at Michigan, Moore faces No. 13 Taylor Massa, a freshman who is 17-5, and Sunday he faces Michigan State sophomore Nick Proctor (13-8).
“(Massa) is just a match I have to be ready for,” Moore said. “Be ready to go wrestle through to the end of it. If I do that, it comes down to ability and am I capable of winning the match.”
Like Moore, Iowa (12-1, 2-0) has to shake off a close loss, its first of the season, to No. 2 Oklahoma State so it can head back out on the road to face No. 18 Michigan (6-3, 0-2) and Michigan State (4-6, 0-3).
“Going on the road is part of this game,” Brands said. “We’ve got to be tough on the road, too. This affects seeds for the future, too.”