Men's Sports

WRESTLING: Session one takeaways at the NCAA championships

The Cyclones have wrapped up session one at the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State stands tied at No. 17 overall with Cornell, Army and Arizona State.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the first session.

1 – Four Cyclones are headed to the second round.

Austin Gomez, Jarrett Degen, Sam Colbray and Willie Miklus all won opening round matches.

These were the heavy favorites to make it out of the first round, and they did not disappoint.

But Gomez and Degen were the most exciting to watch.

Gomez scrapped and stayed consistent. If there was a beat missed at the Big 12’s, the 133 pounder cleaned it up. He didn’t allow a single point in his 11-0 win. Gomez spent majority of the first and third periods in control. The redshirt fresman had 1:44 of riding time. In the third period, Gomez racked up SIX points alone.

Degen’s greatest asset is his length. That’s also his greatest weakness. In Thursday’s matchup, Degen was facing off against a guy with a similar body type as him. Degen looked sharp in this one and came on top with a 14-3 major decision.

He posted a total of five takedowns, one of which came in the third period where he showed just how physical he can get.

2 – Heavyweight matches that keep you on your toes are heavyweight matches I’d pay to see.  

Heavyweight matches tend to be more on the slower side. The big guys tend to do a lot of dancing around the mat until one of them manages to get the other one on his stomach or back. Lucky for us, Gannon Gremmel has been in some scrappy matches in the postseason.

This one was no exception. Gremmel had to face Demetrius Thomas and unfortunately went down in an 11-7 loss.

For the first two periods, Gremmel fought consistently back. Although he wasn’t able to take the lead he still kept posting points bringing the deficit as close as possible.

Remember when Dresser said Gremmel had a slow start to hitting the weight room? That showed.

A guy like Thomas is on the lighter side of heavyweights but he makes up for that in his muscle. The Pittsburgh wrestler was able to stay on Gremmel to rack up riding time. He also secured the match in the third when he grew the deficit well out of Gremmel’s control.

Gremmel didn’t go down easy and that has been constant. The potential that lingers for next season is important. Hopefully it will make an appearance on Thursday night.

3 – This team is good, but not great. 

It has been no secret that this team has been on a steady incline. Their improvements and growth haven’t gone unnoticed and shouldn’t.

What is important to remember is that this team isn’t at its peak.

Although there is faith that some of these guys can wrestle above their seeding, it doesn’t erase the reasons that led them there exactly.

In order to come out alive of the wrestlebacks or walk away an All-American, these Cyclones have to really tap into what they’ve had preached at all season. They have to be quicker on their feet, they have to secure those takedowns and they can not let themselves get caught in a bad position.

Ian Parker walked out of a scoreless match having been pinned. Parker has had one of the toughest schedules this season. He’s fought and proven he is a staple to this lineup but one small mistake led his opponent to catch him in a moment of weakness and pin him in 3:58.

4 – Alex Mackall is underrated 

The redshirt sophomore went 25-11. He had some impressive bouts and some bad losses. His record doesn’t necessarily scream for a lot of attention but it doesn’t necessarily put him at the bottom.

The lower weights always call for tougher competition. Having lost only 8-2 isn’t a bad way to go when facing off against a guy who had a 12-2 season.

The first period was an exciting one. After Fausz got the first takedown of the day it wasn’t long before Mackall got the reversal. Although that was really all the action seen out of Mackall, there is definitely more brewing there.

My hot take, Mackall shows promise for an upset.

What’s next

Thursday night’s in consolation matches (6 p.m.):

125: No. 19 Alex Mackall v. No. 30 Bryce West (Northern Illinois)
141: No. 17 Ian Parker v. No. 33 Peter Lipari (Rutgers)
157: No. 23 Chase Straw v. No. 26 Quincy Monday (Princeton)
174: No. 21 Marcus Coleman v. No. 28 Jacob Oliver (Edinboro)
HWT: No. 25 Gannon Gremmel v. No. 24 Haydn Maley (Standford)

Second round:

125: No. 13 Austin Gomez v. No. 4 Micky Phillipi (PITT)
149: No. 8 Jarrett Degen v. No. 9 Justin Oliver (NC State)
184: No. 26 Sam Colbray v. No. 26 Dakota Geer (OSU)
197: No. 6 Willie Miklus v. No. 11Christian Brunner (Purdue)

Jacqueline Cordova


Jacqueline graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She has been fortunate enough to have interned for Cyclone Fanatic for 2 and a half years before being promoted to stay on. She currently wears a lot of hats at Cyclone Fanatic: Social Media Director, Iowa State Wrestling beat reporter, and staff photographer. Jacqueline loves reading and watching trash reality TV shows when she's not watching sports. One of her favorite accomplishments is having interned for the Minnesota Vikings and during Super Bowl LII.