The Iowa State wrestling team was searching for a season changing win against in-state rival, UNI, on Friday night. But the Cyclones failed to capture it as they lost to the Panthers, 20-12.
This marked UNI’s first win in Ames since 2003.
“I don’t care what [Iowa State] say,” UNI head coach Doug Schwabb said. “I don’t feel like they look at us as equal.”
The Panthers’ effort level was a whole grade or two higher than the Cyclones’, primarily in the second-half of the dual. Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson felt that this contest was a must win for hi program. He also felt good heading into intermission, as the Cyclones were up 9-8 thanks to Colston DiBlasi, Lelund Weatherspoon and Pat Downey.
After that 10-minute intermission, the sense of comfort started to slowly unravel for Jackson and Iowa State. The Cyclones’ 197-pound and heavyweight wrestlers, Marcus Harrington and Quean Smith, both lost their matches.
“I just think we just lost matches that I didn’t think we were going to lose,” Jackson said. “I really thought we could pull the match, stretch the match out with 197, heavyweight and 125 but that just didn’t happen.”
According to Iowa State’s 157-pound wrestler Colston DiBlasi, the Cyclones just have to find a way to win the close matches. On the night, Iowa State lost three matches by two points or less.
Iowa State is now a lowly 1-7 on the season.
Jackson was adamant that there is still a lot of wrestling left to do this season. The Cyclones have five matches left vs. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Minnesota plus the Big 12 and NCAA Championships. He believes that some of the Cyclones will contend for championships later this season. But Iowa State will need to improve its urgency and effort in order to do so.
“I think instead of the individuals technical skills that we continue to bang out and challenge our guys in, I think it needs to be more live situations,” Jackson said on how Iowa State can improve its effort and urgency levels.
Jackson maybe feeling the pressure
Earlier this week, Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard talked about Kevin Jackson’s potential future with Iowa State on the Cyclone call-in show.
“We need to get better and it hasn’t been where we’d like to be,” Pollard said in response to question concerning the wrestling team’s performance this season. “The coaches know that and the wrestlers know that. In that end, if that doesn’t change, we’ll have to give someone else another shot at it.”
Jackson saw the comments and he understands that Pollard has a job to do. This lost to UNI certainly doesn’t help Jackson’s job stability.
“It’s real,” Jackson said. “I understand the situation. I’m not ignorant to the fact that we are not performing really well.”
Harrington’s head gear
In Iowa State’s dual against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Jackson and company decided not to wrestle Harrington to send a message about his effort level so far this season. Iowa State thought it would see a different Harrington against UNI.
It didn’t happen.
Harrington lost his match, 5-4, because he attacked too late. It was what he did after the match that had people talking.
Harrington took off his head gear, dropped it on the mat and walked away. That action rubbed people the wrong way.
“I was pretty disgusted watching that,” Iowa State 184-pound grappler Pat Downey said.
DiBlasi brings the funk
Colston DiBlasi’s wrestling style is funky. In fact, he has dubbed his style as, ‘DiBlasification.’ His ‘DiBlasification’ was in full effect against UNI.
There were multiple times that DiBlasi almost pinned himself. However, DiBlasi defeated his opponent 12-8 after reeling off eight straight points.
“When I’m wrestling really my whole goal is to get in as many wrestling positions as possible,” DiBlasi said on his style. “For better or worse.”
During those times that DiBlasi is on his back, some may think he is worried he is about to get pinned, but that isn’t his mindset. DiBlasi is thinking of ways to get out of it and set himself up to score.