AMES — The time has finally come.
We are officially less than five days away from seeing the new-look Iowa State wrestling program take the mat for the first time under head coach Kevin Dresser.
Before we can get to Saturday and the annual Harold Nichols Open, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding this year’s team coming out of the program’s media day, which was held on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cyclones lost seven of 10 starters from last season, which left Dresser with a lot of room to truly recreate this program and make it his own.
Iowa State’s current roster consists of 14 freshmen, both redshirt and true.
“We definitely have a young squad,” Dresser said. “I like the word mold. We have to jell. If you were to ask me ‘Is this team completely jelled?’ I would tell you no. It just doesn’t happen overnight.”
Potential starters among the freshmen include Daniel Vega (125), Ian Parker (133), Kanen Storr (141) , Jarrett Degen (149), Sam Colbray (197) and Gannon Gremmel (285).
Storr, a redshirt freshmen, is a key wrestler to watch early in the season. He went 25-5 last season, while all five of those losses were to NCAA Qualifiers. Storr also became the third Cyclone since 1982 to finish in the top five at the Midlands Championships where he came in fifth.
Degen, a redshirt freshmen, transferred to Iowa State after following Coach Dresser from Virginia Tech with a 22-9 record. He will battle Dante Rodriguez, a redshirt sophomore, at 149.
Grimmel, a redshirt freshmen, was ranked No. 60 nationally out of high school. He will face a challenge for that starting position via redshirt junior, Marcus Harrington, who just made the move to heavyweight from 197.
About those competitions…
As is usually the case so early in the season, several competitions are ongoing. The only weight classes that seem to have a solid spot filled right now belong to Storr at 141 and Dane Pestano at 184.
This should make for an interesting season as we see how this year’s talent breaks through and what guys step up and go that extra mile.
“It’s exciting for us to see early on who’s going to step and be the guy,” said Dresser. “There’s going to be weights that are contested throughout the year.”
Patience is key
Hiring a new coach always comes with great optimism and for Iowa State, that is no different. Wrestling needs to be relevant again.
Patience is key. This is a rebuilding year.
However Dresser explained that his name and the word ‘patience’ don’t always go hand in hand.
“We want to win now but we’re also realistic, we know what lies in front of us,” Dresser said. “This isn’t a 100 yard dash, if we’re going to build a solid, long-term program,”
Iowa State will host the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m.