ISU coach Kevin Jackson thought heading into the dual against the Arizona State Sun Devils that the Iowa State Cyclones would split the matches, at worst, down the middle at five a piece. That did not happen as the Cyclones lost 23-18.
Jackson and Iowa State can’t dwell on the loss though as they are preparing for a tough three-day road on Friday and Sunday. The Cyclones will travel to take on Big 12 foes, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 5 Oklahoma State, with a one-day gap in between the two meets.
“We are very excited for this weekend,” Jackson said. “I think we match up very well against Oklahoma.”
Entering the matchup down in Norman, the Cyclones enter with a 1-0 Big 12 record compared to the Sooners at 2-0.
This season, Oklahoma has a higher ranking than Iowa State for the first in since the 2013-14 season. But Iowa State isn’t worried as this isn’t the first time they have seen Oklahoma.
Like the Cyclones, the Sooners competed in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Midland Championships. Oklahoma fared better than Iowa State at Cliff Keen as they placed fourth while the Cyclones placed tied for 19th. However, Iowa State flipped the script at the Midlands as they placed sixth which was eight placings better than Oklahoma’s 14th place.
As the Sooners look to avenge their last year’s 26-18 loss to the Cyclones, there is one ISU wrestler that is looking for redemption after losing to an Oklahoma wrestler earlier this season. In the one-half of 133-pound semi-finals of the Cliff Keen Invitational, it featured the Big 12’s top two 133-pound grapplers, Iowa State’s Earl Hall and Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer.
At the end of the match, it was Brewer who stood tall over Hall winning by a decision of 12-5.
“We need the real Earl Hall to show up come Friday,” Jackson said.
Hall knows exactly what to do to ensure that thereal Hallshows up against Brewer this time around.
“I have to wrestle for seven minutes this time around,” Hall said. “Because last time I got the first takedown on him but I let up after that.”
The Hall against Brewer will be the marquee matchup of the dual and it might just be the deciding factor on who claims another Big 12 victory.
“[Oklahoma’s] gym will be packed and it will be a fun match,” Jackson said.
After Norman, the Cyclones will travel to Stillwater to take on a team that ISU 165-pound gladiator Tanner Weather described as afunky styleof attack in the Cowboys. Oklahoma State’s style would be described as a John Smith style. Meaning that they will shoot at the low singles and go for your elbows.
Despite the Cowboys’ style, one that is hardly seen at the college level, and having multiple wrestlers that are more highly ranked than the Cyclones, Jackson and his team know what they are in for come Sunday.
“Oklahoma State is a huge challenge,” Jackson said. “However, I think there are some matches that could go either way in his dual.”
The dual against the Cowboys will certainly be tough as the Cyclones only have one wrestler out 10 who is ranked higher than an Oklahoma State grappler, according to the InterMat rankings.
One thing that Jackson believes that could determine the outcomes of both duals is bonus points. Against Arizona State, Iowa State let up and failed to capture bonus points, which Jackson thinks was the Cyclones downfall in Tempe.
Another thing that could affect the result of the Oklahoma State dual is the one day break between the two meets.
Typically after a meet, wrestlers have a couple days to replenish what they lost in meets and get hydrated on water, which normally weighs them down. But for Iowa State, they can’t do that with the short turn around.
However, Jackson sees the short turnaround as a preparation toward March.
“Come NCAA Championship time, [ISU wrestlers] will have three days straight to make weight. So this weekend is a good time to help prepare them for that,” Jackson said.