Iowa coach Brands instructs youngsters to focus on wrestling all the time

Terry Brands, right, shows the kids in the Outlaws Wrestling Club a few techniques, with the help of Isaac Rodriguez, left, and Matthew Gurule, center, Wednesday night. Brands, an associate head coach at the University of Iowa, implored the kids to always be thinking about wrestling.

It doesn’t matter what you did or where you’re from, it’s about what you do.

That was what legendary wrestler and coach Terry Brands told a group of eight Colorado Outlaws Club wrestlers and their parents Wednesday night at the home of Outlaws coach Arnie Gurule.

“You have opportunities to make your career,” Brands told the wrestlers, who ranged in age from 8-14. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from Grand Junction, Colorado, just like it doesn’t matter I’m from Sheldon, Iowa, which is a town of 4,000 people in northwest Iowa.

“You’ve got to take care of the things in front of you. You have to make sure you’re on top of your training.”

Brands, who won a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics and is the University of Iowa’s associate head coach, learned those lessons several years ago when he was in high school. He stopped in Grand Junction Wednesday on his way back to Iowa City, Iowa, to help the club that started the development of current Hawkeye Matthew Gurule, a Central High School graduate.

Brands was at a camp in Delta, Utah, earlier this week.

“I had a coach who would ask ‘What time is it?’ ‘I don’t know, five minutes to noon.’ He asked again, ‘What time is it?’ ‘Well, now it’s 10 minutes after noon. What do you mean?’

” ‘No, it’s time to wrestle.’ “

Brands doesn’t expect wrestlers to work on technique 365 days a year. It does mean, though, they should work on the mental aspect of the sport that often.

“Are you on the mat 365 days a year? No, you shouldn’t be. Matt McDonough (Iowa’s two-time national finalist) doesn’t get on the mat 365 days a year, but he still works on his wrestling 365 days a year.

“Even when he takes three or four days off, he still works on his wrestling, because he works on it up here,” Brands said, pointing to his head.

Outlaws wrestler Isaac Rodriguez and Matthew Gurule demonstrated some moves during the clinic.

“It’s awesome,” Matthew said. “I don’t think the kids have met him before. It’s a good experience for them.”

Matthew redshirted for the Hawkeyes last year, but was 19-9 at 125 pounds wrestling unattached. He won the William Penn and DuHawk Open and placed second at Glen Brand and Pat Flanagan opens, fourth at the Grand View Open and sixth at the Kaufman-Brand Open.

“I liked it a lot,” said Matthew of his first year. “A lot of the tournaments I went to I did all right, not the best, but there is a lot of room for improvement. This summer I’m going to work on more improvement.”

In high school, Gurule was a two-time state champion and three-time state finalist. He was 170-21 in his prep career at Central High School under his uncle Laurence Gurule.

“(Matthew) needs to figure out how to win at the highest level,” Brands said. “He’s got the skills to do it, but he needs to have the mind. This club and his background prepared him well (for Division I) wrestling.”

Rodriguez, 14, will be a freshmen at Fruita Monument High School this fall. He’s won several Rocky Mountain Series tournaments, including the Triple Crown, Golden Gear and Reno World Championship.

What did he take from the visit with Brands?

“It’s about position, position, position,” Rodriguez said, “... and technique.”


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