Early into the ISU wrestling season, head coach Kevin Jackson has stressed one key for his Cyclones in duel competition: Win early and set the tone for the rest of the duel.
In the three duels the Cyclones have competed in, they won early and set the tone in two out of the three. In those two duels vs. Midland University and Boise State, Iowa State won. The other one in which they didn’t win early, the Virginia Tech duel, the Cyclones lost.
“Winning the first two matches is a key way to help ensure a win during a duel,” Jackson said.
Iowa State will need to win early to set the tone of the duel when the No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes stroll into Hilton Coliseum on Sunday at 2 p.m.
During duels, teams usually start out with their 125-pound grapplers weight and proceed with the next highest wrestlers until they hit the final weight class, heavyweight. And that certain order of competition bodes well for the Hawkeyes.
“There is a reason why they like to start 125 and 133-weight classes,” Jackson said.
Looking at the Hawkeye’s roster, their starting 125 and 133-pound wrestlers are both ranked No. 2 nationally in their respective classes, according to the FloWrestling rankings.
Last season, Iowa State’s 125-pound starter Kyle Larson lost to Iowa’s Thomas Gilman 6-1. Jackson needs Larson to change that outcome this year.
“[Larson] is the guy who has the opportunity to put us on the right foot early in the duel,” Jackson said.
But the match that may determine the Cy-Hawk duel this season is the battle at 133-pounds.
For Iowa State, it’s fourth-ranked Earl Hall.
Hall is not only a leader for this Iowa State team, but he is the only wrestler on the roster to be undefeated thus far. He was the only starter to win at Virginia Tech, at home against Midland and Boise State and win an individual title at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. On Sunday, Hall will have to do something he hasn’t done in his entire career.
“I have lost every match I have competed in against Corey Clark,” Hall said.
These two 133-pound gladiators last faced against one another at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis last season. That match was all Clark, who racked up a 5-0 first period lead on Hall and never stopped. He ultimately squashed and deflated Hall’s chances at a NCAA title with an 11-5 win.
If Hall wants to turn his fortunes around, he must compete differently than the last few times he has faced Clark.
“Every time [Hall] has faced Clark, they have competed in a slow, stalling type of match,” Jackson said. “That is simply not Earl’s game. If he wants to win, he must go for points quickly and often.”
What can a win for Hall over Clark do for Iowa State?
“If I do beat Clark, hopefully it can motivate my teammates to win so we can beat Iowa,” Hall said.
125- ISU Kyle Larson vs. Iowa Thomas Gilman
133- ISU Earl Hall vs. Cory Clark
141- ISU Dante Rodriguez vs. Iowa Logan Ryan
149- ISU Gabe Moreno vs. Iowa Brandon Sorensen
157- ISU Logan Breitenbach vs. Iowa Edwin Cooper Jr.
165- ISU Tanner Weatherman vs. Iowa Patrick Rhoads
174- ISU Lelund Weatherspoon vs. Iowa Alex Meyer
184- ISU Dane Pestano vs. Iowa Sammy Brooks
197- ISU Duke Egli vs. Iowa Nathan Burak
Heavyweight- ISU Quean Smith vs. Iowa Sam Stoll