AMES — The No. 17 ISU wrestling squad returned to Hilton Coliseum after a month long hiatus to face the No. 21 Central Michigan Chippewas. Entering the matchup, the Cyclones had lost their previous three duals by a combined score of 89-30.
How badly did Iowa State need a win over Central Michigan?
“Pretty fricking bad,” said redshirt junior 174-pounder Lelund Weatherspoon.
That’s exactly what the Cyclones got – a 25-12 win over the Chippewas heading into a somewhat of a budding rivalry match against Northern Iowa on Feb. 5.
At one point on Sunday, it looked like Iowa State might not pull this one off.
The Cyclones entered intermission down 12-9 after scoring a forfeit fall and a 6-2 decision in the 133-pound matchup to go up 9-0. However, even after the Chippewas rallied off 12 straight points to go up at intermission, ISU coach Kevin Jackson did not waver.
“I was a little nervous going into intermission,” Jackson said.
During the streak in which Central Michigan tallied off 12 straight points, each of their wrestlers were ranked in the Intermat top-20 rankings while Iowa State’s wrestlers were unranked.
But Jackson knew what he had coming out of intermission. He knew that he had senior 165-pound grappler Tanner Weatherman starting things off for the Iowa State to begin the second half. But Jackson felt that the whole dual against Central Michigan was going to be determined by the 174 matchup.
“We felt that if [Lelund] can go out there and win, we would have a good shot of winning the duel,” Jackson said.
The Cyclones got Lelund Weatherspoon against the Chippewas’ 174-pounder and No. 9 Intermat 174er Mike Ottinger.
After the wrestlers didn’t notch a single point in the first period, Weatherspoon opened up the attack against Ottinger and he didn’t stop until he got the victory for his team. Weatherspoon claimed three takedowns compared to none by Central Michigan to go onto win by an 8-3 decision.
Jackson wanted this match against Ottinger to help boost Weatherspoon’s confidence down the stretch of the season.
“I had confidence going into the match, but this win gives me more confidence for the rest of the season,” Weatherspoon said.
That match would give the Cyclones their first lead since giving up a 9-0 lead in the first half of the dual.
Although Weatherspoon dominated and Jackson dubbed it as aperfect performanceagainst Central Michigan, Jackson still felt that wasn’t his best performance of the year.
“I still feel [Weatherspoon] can still got off more attacks because most of his takedowns were counterattacks,” Jackson said. “So this upcoming week will go through film and see what he can do better.”
After that win by Lelund, Jackson felt like the match was in Iowa State’s back pocket. But, Jackson got a nervous feeling once again during the 197 pound matchup.
“It almost come down to nervous time again when my 197-pounder [Marcus Harrington] forgets where he is out there,” Jackson said.
Harrington held onto win by a 11-10 decision to extend the Cyclones lead and put it out of range, 21-12.
Although the Cyclones got back on the winning track, Jackson felt his team can still do better than the way they performed.
“We need to stay offensive, we need to attack more,” Jackson said. “When your heavyweight scores more points than your lightweights, there is a problem.”
Despite feeling like his team could have been more offensive against the Chippewas, Jackson felt good to be back on the win side of the record column.
“It was important match for us,” Jackson said. “[Central Michigan] came out and competed. It was good to see [Iowa State] pull off this win. Good to be back on the winning side of things.”
125: Larson (ISU) via forfeit
133: Hall (ISU) via 6-2 decision
141: Horan (CMU) via 5-2 decision
149: Oliver (CMU) via fall
157: Smith (CMU) via 9-7 decision
165: Weatherman (ISU) via 9-3 decision
174: Weatherspoon (ISU) 8-3 decision
184: Pestano (ISU) via 5-2 decision
197: Harrington (ISU) via 11-10 decision
Heavy: Smith (ISU) via 14-6 major decision