Photo courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications.
AMES — “‘The hays in the barn,’ as they say with him right now. He’s put the work in and now it’s time to go show off.”
That’s how Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser describes senior Dane Pestano road to the postseason.
Pestano is one of two seniors on Iowa State’s transitioning roster and will be leave big shoes to fill next season in Ames.
The Waimanelo, Hawaii, native isn’t shy to remind you the Iowa weather was definitely not a reason he chose to come to Iowa State, but the culture this program represents. Pestano found a home away from home in Ames.
“Everyone treats you like family,” said Pestano. “It’s kind of like my home away from home. I have people here who have taken me in for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve felt like I wasn’t really away from home.”
Pestano, a very soft-spoke and humble guy, has consistently expressed how thankful he’s been to be at Iowa State.
Some of the things he will miss most go from scrapping in the wrestling room to being able to wrestle inside of Hilton Coliseum. He’ll miss being able to walk out of the tunnel to the fans cheering, fans who’ve been a big part in his time here at Iowa State.
“The fan base is good, I love them,” said Pestano. “They’re really genuine and they care about you.”
After redshirting his first year at Iowa State, Pestano was able to come in and make the line-up as a freshman. Pestano fluctuated across the board for a bit coming in having wrestled at 215 in high school and jumping between 165 and 184.
For Pestano, 184 was where he thrived. In the 2015-2016 season, he brought in a 24-15 record and qualified for the NCAA Championship after finishing fourth at the Big 12 Championships.
The following year, he dropped to 165 but ultimately jumped back up to 184 as the constant weight cutting was interfering with his ability to perform well.
In his senior year, Pestano has been one of the shining stars on the team and for the fans.
“He’s more of a quiet leader,” said Dresser. “He’s one of the most popular guys on our team and he definitely leads by example.”
Pestano has been one of the more consistent guys on the team this season, showing how to gracefully take losses and turn them around to wins.
“I’ve really enjoyed Dane all year long. I like guys who come to practice and scrap and are consistent, Dane is that,” said Dresser. “I hope that he goes and shows everybody what he’s capable of.”
Pestano will have ended the regular season overall 18-12 and 6-5 in the Big 12 and is still alive at the Big 12 Championships.
After pulling in an 8-5 win to start his day over NDSU Charley Popp, Pestano fell 7-5 to SDSU No. 2 Martin Mueller on Saturday night. This landed Pestano in the consolation bracket where he ended the night with two more wins.
Pestano is looking to need to end with a top-four placing to earn a bid for the NCAA Tournament.
“I hope he goes out and has one last Dane Pestano party out there,” said Dresser. “He can wrap his career up in big time fashion.”
Pestano is hoping to get as far as he can and show everyone what he’s capable of and again, is thankful he could be a part of the start of the new culture with Dresser and his staff.
“Their future looks bright and I’m just glad I could be apart of something and start something,” said Pestano.