IOWA CITY — The Iowa State wrestling team was handily defeated, 26-9, by in-state rival the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night.
Despite losing by such a wide margin, ISU coach Kevin Jackson was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“That was a very close dual, even though the score was lopsided,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said.
Three matches. That is the number of contests that Jackson believed separated his squad from its first win over Iowa in the last 13 years.
Iowa State lost four matches by two or fewer points, but the three matches that Jackson stressed were at the 157, 165 and 174 weight classes.
Iowa State’s 157-wrestler, Colston DiBlasi was barely beaten by the No. 4 157-wrestler in the country, Michael Kemerer, 8-7. The Cyclones’ 165 and 174-grapplers, Dane Pestano and Lelund Weatherspoon, were both taken down by late third period takedowns.
These three individuals losses can be credited to Iowa State’s attack rate.
“Get a takedown,” Jackson said on how Iowa State can win those close matches next time. “We didn’t have high enough attack rate to give yourselves the best chance to win.”
Throughout the 10 matches, Iowa State only claimed a mere 10 takedowns compared to Iowa’s 20.
Weatherspoon missed a big takedown opportunity when he had his opponent, No. 7 174-wrestler, Alex Meyer’s leg in the air. Jackson said that Weatherspoon has to come out with a 100 percent success rate in sort of situation. Then with DiBlasi’s outcome, his funky, “DiBlasification” (that is what he calls his wrestling style) scrambling style costed him in the end against Iowa’s Topher Carton. Finally with Pestano, he needs to figure out how to manage his weight better according to Jackson.
In the end, Jackson thought that the Cyclones didn’t wrestle to the best of their ability.
“I see the potential in these guys. I see that if they really put their heart and soul into the match and go to war, they have a great chance to win,” Jackson. “I think we were that close in those three matches putting that in there and finding a way to win.”
Earl Hall needs to wrestle to his ability
Last week during Jackson’s Tuesday press conference, he stated that he needed to see the Earl Hall of old to come out. But against Iowa, Jackson didn’t get the Hall he was looking for.
Hall, who is the No. 10 133-pound wrestler in the nation, barely beat Iowa’s backup 133-pounder, Phillip Laux, by the score of 5-3.
“I would have liked to see him try to dominate a match instead of just trying to win ” Jackson said. “The conversation with him is ‘You have to figure it out dude’.”
Jackson hopes that once finals are over for Hall, he can get a good training session in before the Midland Championships and see the former All-American compete at the level he expects him to wrestle at.
What is up with 141?
Entering the dual against Iowa, Jackson listed three possible starters at the 141-position: seniors John Meeks and Gabe Moreno, and freshman Kanen Storr. In the end the coach decided to go with Meeks.
“John is competing very well,” Jackson said on Meeks performance on the season.
However, he would have liked to seen him compete better against Iowa. Morneo is still very well in the mix for the spot as well. However, he hasn’t gotten back to his norm since his latest shoulder surgery.
Now, with Storr, Jackson just listed him as away to potentially psych Iowa coaches out.
As the season progresses Jackson and Iowa State will need one of these three competitors to step up and take the lead of this weight class.
“We really thought the weight class was a pretty solid weight class entering this year,” Jackson said. “It has yet to pan out that way.”
Didn’t want to risk Pat Downey
One of Iowa State’s best competitors is 184-wrestler, Pat Downey. He is the highest rated wrestler on the cardinal and gold’s squad, at No. 7. However, Downey didn’t compete against Iowa due to him still nursing a rib injury.
“My plan was that I didn’t want to use [Downey],” Jackson said. “If Lelund wins, I would have thrown him out there. He hasn’t trained a whole lot.”
Downey has competed and defeated Hawkeye 184-pounder, Sammy Brooks, in the past. So Downey could have given Brooks a run for his money. However, the goal for wrestlers is to compete in March, which is when the NCAA Wrestling tournament happens. Jackson needs Downey for the second-half of the season as Iowa State has home duals against teams like: Arizona State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Minnesota.