AMES — The Iowa State wrestling team showed dominance and left Stephen’s Auditorium with a convincing 37-3 win over SIU-E in its dual opener opener.
“What a better place to perform?” said head coach Kevin Dresser after the victory.
It wasn’t a normal home opener as the theater dual is something Dresser introduced to the program a year ago. Over 1,445 tickets were sold and the energy was electric.
Last season, the Cyclones entered Stephens Auditorium and lost to Rider, 22-15. This year, the Cyclones left the dual having totaled 33 takedowns as a team, while SIU-E only had three.
New team, new mindset
The Cyclones have entered the 2018 season with fresh perspective.
“I don’t want to get too excited,” said Dresser. “It’s a long haul we’re still in early November and the NCAA Tournament is in late March but we needed to progress from where we were.”
The team seems to have cleaned necessary elements show results on the mat. The Cyclones took shots and gained bonus points that were lacking the prior season.
There were two tech fall wins from Austin Gomez and Jarrett Degen, two pins from Ian Parker and Marcus Coleman. Both were accomplished by the second period. Gomez and Coleman did so in their Cyclone debuts.
“When I’m out there, I really don’t feel anything,” said Gomez. “I just go out there, score points and wrestle. I guess I felt something when I figured out I had a first period tech. That was pretty cool; I didn’t even know the points, I was just wrestling.”
“We’re here to bring Iowa State back” pic.twitter.com/niBIEAWvqm
— Jacqueline (@JacquelineCord) November 11, 2018
In his first start at home, Brady Jennings knocked off an NCAA qualifier, Nate Higgins, in a 10-2 decision with 1:30 of riding time.
“I think there’s obviously a lot of things to fix, especially technically, because that’s what coaches do, but I think we showed some dominance,” said Dresser. “We need to show some dominance in some situations where we’re supposed to dominate.”
The coaching staff hasn’t stopped reiterating that they have a room full of guys who show up ready to turn this program around.
The new guys mixed in with the veterans have shown that they work well together. The biggest challenge was weeding out those who weren’t 100 percent committed.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we have everyone in the room who wants to be good,” said Jennings. “They’re not just there just to be there. They’re there to win a national title.
The Cyclones get another chance to compete in a tournament next Saturday as they go on to wrestle at the Lindenwood Open.
“We’re here to bring Iowa State back,” said Gomez.
125: Alex Mackall dec. Austin Macias, 16-14.
133: Austin Gomez TF Jacob Blaha, 18-3 (3:00).
141: Ian Parker fall Coleman Brainard, (4:13).
149: Jarrett Degen TF Tyshawn Williams, 24-9 (6:22).
157: Justin Ruffin, 10-8 dec. Chase Straw, 9-4 (OT).
165: Brady Jennings dec. Nate Higgins, 10-6.
174: Marcus Coleman fall Kevin Gschwendtner, (5:19).
184: Sam Colbray dec. Sergio Villalobos, 10-3.
197: Willie Miklus dec. Christian Dulaney, 5-3.
285: Gannon Gremmel dec. Tommy Helton, 9-5.