Chase Straw earned a second year as the lead man at 157-pounds this season with a lot to prove with freshman David Carr a year away from vying for his spot in the starting lineup. On Saturday, he became a Big 12 Champion.
“I got the three seed which was really good,” Straw said, “I wanted to go out and wrestle those guys again [because] I know I could beat them.”
Straw went up against two guys that he had already lost to earlier in the season, and with one allocation at the weight class, Straw had to be perfect.
Straw lived up to the task and became the ninth qualifier for Iowa State, but he was the only one to capture first place, a distinction that hadn’t been given to a Cyclone in three years.
The redshirt junior was coming off of an uninspiring season that ended with an 8-9 dual record and a fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Tournament.
Over the offseason, coach Kevin Dresser earned his biggest recruit since taking over the coaching duties in 2017 with a commitment from the No. 2 overall recruit David Carr.
Carr is listed at 157-pounds, and even though there is a lot of fluidity with weights as high school wrestlers transition to the next level, it was a major talking point to begin the season when Dresser decided to redshirt Carr and hand Straw the starting position.
After a 9-7 loss to Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas in January, Dresser was frustrated with Straw’s performance. Straw was sporting a 4-4 dual record at the time.
“I’ve been a Chase Straw fan, but I’m frustrated that he just doesn’t go own it more,” said Dresser. “We’ve been in this situation too much.”
After that match against Thomas, Straw won nine of his last 10 matches and finished that run with a revenge win against Thomas in the Big 12 Championship by 3-2 decision.
On March 21, he competes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the 23 seed in the 157-pound bracket in the NCAA Championships.
After that Oklahoma dual over a month ago, a spark has been lit under Straw, and he comes into the NCAA Tournament with a lot of momentum and a shown ability to be able to handle the big stage.
“I don’t think pressure now is [going to] be an issue,” Dresser said. “I think all of our guys have performed pretty well all year long… I think they’ll be fine.”
Straw has been right in the middle of the heat this season thanks to the presence of Carr, as well as his coach’s frustration during the season as the Cyclones took a leap forward.
Straw has taken this in stride and earned a bid at the NCAA Championship thanks to a torrid run to finish the season.