Three storylines to follow at the NCAA Wrestling Championships

The Cyclones are headed back to Tulsa.

Iowa State will send eight wrestlers to compete in the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships that will be held March 16-18.

The eight Cyclones that will compete are Zach Redding (133), Casey Swiderski (141), Paniro Johnson (149), Jason Kraisser (157), David Carr (165), Marcus Coleman (184), Yonger Bastida (197) and Sam Schuyler (285).

Here are three key storylines to follow as the Cyclones compete in Tulsa.

As Iowa State continues to improve as a team, the expectation for the national tournament continues to rise.

Iowa State has been able to propel itself to new heights this season.

They went toe-to-toe with No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa in early season duals. They did something not many teams do and bumped up three of their guys in weight to take down Cornell at the Collegiate duals.

They received their highest team ranking since 2009 when ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Heading into the most important tournament of the season, Dresse notches his fifth consecutive season with at least eight qualifiers for the tournament. That makes them one of 15 teams sending at least eight of their wrestlers.

The Cyclones had four wrestlers seeded in the top 10 of their respective weights: No. 1 Carr, No. 5 Johnson, No. 5 Coleman, and No. 8 Schuyler.

The expectation for Iowa State is bringing home more than three All Americans to feel they’re continuing to move upwards. 

Last season, Carr, Coleman and Bastida earned that honor.

The expectation is to see repeat All-American finishes from Carr, Coleman and Bastida and have Johnson and Schuyler join them.

To become an All-American, you must have a top-eight finish.

If Schuyler and Johnson at minimum wrestle their seed and avoid any upsets, they should find themselves on the podium and join their teammates in becoming All-Americans and help bring home the most All-Americans in one season of the Dresser era.

Swiderski was named the “sleeper pick” by the NCAA to become an All-American at 141 pounds. The freshman had an impressive debut at the Big 12 tournament. He entered unseeded and finished in fourth place.

Paniro Johnson is in a good position to end up in a rematch against defending champion Yianni Diakomihalis.

Diakomihalis isn’t just a national champion, he’s a world champion. He is the heavy favorite to take the title at 149 pounds. Johnson is on the same side of the bracket as Diakomihalis and has a very strong chance of a rematch Friday night of the tournament.

Earlier in the season, Johnson found himself only losing to the Cornell wrestler 3-1 in sudden victory. Diakomihalis hasn’t been untouchable this season either as he lost to Wisconsin’s, Austin Gomez, who Johnson beat handily in a 9-4 decision in the Battle in the River City where Wisconsin and Iowa State went head-to-head.

Anything could truly go at 149 pounds and thankfully, Johnson is wrestling his best in March. Regardless, a podium finish for the freshmen
will be huge.

David Carr is the heavy favorite to win the 165-pound title in his debut season at the weight

In his first season at 165 pounds, Carr finished the regular season 23-0 with 15 of those wins being over ranked opponents.

He led the team in overall wins, win by fall and bonus point wins.

He also currently has a 29-match win streak since his loss at the 2022 NCAA tournament. His dominance also shows in the 82 takedowns he’s tallied (the most on the team) this season and has only allowed three. For reference, 72 of those 82 takedowns were scored in the regular season. The teammate behind him is Bastida who notched 69.

Carr’s most notable win came at the Big 12 Championships, when he won by fall over No. 2 and defending champion, Keegan O’Toole, to win the Big 12 title. This elevated him to a four-time Big 12 Champion making him only the second Cyclone in history to earn four conference titles since 2002 behind Cael Sanderson.

If Carr and O’Toole wrestle to their seeds, they’ll have a rematch but this time for an NCAA title. Both wrestlers have expressed their excitement in this newfound rivalry which Carr currently leads 2-0 over O’Toole.

With the dominance of Carr’s season and if he wins a second NCAA title, in arguably the deepest weight in the country, there’s a real argument to be had about Carr deserving to win the Hodge Trophy. Which, hypothetically speaking, if he did win it he would be the first Cyclone to earn it since 2002 when Cael Sanderson earned his third.

It’s shaping up to be a special season for Carr.

Here is all you need to know to watch the Cyclones at the NCAA Championships:

Live Stats: TrackWrestling
Watch: ESPNU (Sessions 1, 3, 5) & ESPN (Sessions 2, 4, 6)
Listen: Varsity App & Cyclones.com

First Round Matchups:
133: No. 14 Zach Redding vs. No. 19 Domenic Zaccone (CAMP)
141: No. 24 Casey Swiderski vs. No. 9 Mosha Schwartz (OU)
149: No. 5 Paniro Johnson vs. No. 28 Alec Hagan (OHIO)
157: No. 25 Jason Kraisser vs. No. 88 Ed Scott (NCST)
165: No. 1 David Carr vs. No. 33 Josh Kim (HAR) or No. 32 Cole Moody (WYO)
184: No. 5 Marcus Coleman vs. No. 28 Jacob Ferreira (HOF)
197: No. 13 Yonger Bastida vs. No. 20 Evan Bockman (UVU)
285: No. 8 Sam Schuyler vs. No. 25 Michael Wolfgram (WVU)

NCAA Championship Schedule
Thursday, March 16

Session 1: Pigtails & First Round – 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session 2: Second Round & Consolation First Round – 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)ADVERTISING

Friday, March 17
Session 3: Quarterfinals & Consolation Second & Third Rounds – 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session 4: Semifinals & Consolation Fourth & Fifth Rounds – 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, March 18
Session 5: Consolation Semifinals & Placing Matches – 10 a.m. (ESPNU)
Session 6: Finals – 6 p.m. (ESPN)

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.