Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Wrestling
Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser is from Humboldt, IA, and every year he tries to have a dual meet there to honor his roots and what the town did for him in his life.
First, it was Purdue and its coach, fellow Humboldt native, Tony Ersland in 2021. Iowa State beat Purdue 23-13, which was Dresser’s 200th win.
Last year it was Grand View, just down the road in Des Moines.
This year, when he called Wisconsin coach Chris Bono to try and set up a dual meet, Bono asked him who was wrestling in the Humboldt dual this year. You see, Bono’s wife Niki is from Humboldt.
“Dresser asked, ‘I don’t know, would you want to do it?’” Bono said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “And I said, ‘We’d love to do it.’ The next thing you know, we’re on the schedule in Humboldt.
“My wife grew up there — all of her family is still in Humboldt. I’ve spent a lot of time in Humbolt. I was dating her in college, so I was up there all the time for Thanksgivings and dinners and to this day we still go back there a lot in terms of seeing her parents. I love Humboldt, it’s a good little town and my wife’s family is still there.”
Sunday’s dual, which takes place at Humboldt High School at 2 p.m., already had a personal component for both teams and both coaches.
And then Dresser decided to make it more personal at Iowa State’s media day on Oct. 31.
“The goal is to go embarrass his wife’s family for two hours,” Dresser said. “That’s what we’re going to try and do.”
That comment apparently didn’t go over too well in some of the Humboldt circles because on Tuesday’s media availability when asked again about the connection he deflected and gave a tamer answer.
“We’re ready to go to Humboldt — round three,” Dresser said. “We’ve had Purdue, Grandview and now another Big 10 school (Wisconsin). Anytime you step onto the mat with a Big 10 school, you have to be ready to go.”
Bono didn’t hear or see the comments when Dresser first said them, but it eventually got back to him — as things do in small town Iowa.
“I didn’t hear what he said, and then he called me and apologized,” Bono said. “That doesn’t bother me one bit. It hurt some people around my wife’s family, I know that. I have no response to that, but if we go up there and beat them, then he’ll look a little silly. I know Dresser really well, I get along with him, he’s a great guy and words don’t do anything to me.”
And that last part might be the most important. These two coaches and programs respect each other. Dresser was trying to promote the dual and may have taken it a step too far — that happens.
It doesn’t take away from either of the programs and if the comment adds a little extra fire for either team, then that’s ok, too.
“Coach Bono has done a great job at Wisconsin in a short time there,” Dresser said. “Our guys love Humbolt because the fans are all on top of you.
“We’re ready for a tougher opponent, we need a tougher opponent and we’re getting a tougher opponent.”
Across the board, Iowa State’s wrestlers will compete against better competition than they have so far in this young season. But the marquee match is at 165 pounds when No. 2 David Carr wrestles No. 4 Dean Hamiti.
Carr beat Hamiti 7-5 last year when Iowa State beat Wisconsin 26-6 last year.
“I have a good opponent ahead of me and I’m excited to scrap,” Carr said. “You know I love big matches, so this will be a good one. The last time I had a big match at Humbolt, it went pretty well, so hopefully this one goes the same.”
The last big match he’s referring to was when he pinned No. 11 Kendall Coleman in 4:30.
“We have to finish our attacks, but we also have to get David out of his gameplan — no matter how we do it,” Bono said. “We have to get him out of where he’s comfortable competing because obviously he’s very, very good and he’s doing David Carr-type stuff this year. We have to get him out of his gameplan, Dean has to finish his attacks and we have to make sure we ride hard and if we do all three of those things really well, it’ll be a very entertaining match.”
So yeah, there have been some extracurriculars this year before the meet, but make no mistake, the action will be on the mat.