In its final home duals of the 2021 season, Iowa State wrestling plays host to two top-15 opponents Sunday.
Iowa State has won five out of its last six duals, and it will be tested Sunday with the 15th-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers (4-2, 3-1 Big 12) and the 11th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (4-0, 1-0 Pac 12) coming to Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State Head Coach Kevin Dresser said winning both duals Sunday would be a “leadership thing” from the team’s seniors.
“We got a lot of young guys stepping out there as well, so it's a funny mix that we've got right now," Dresser said. "We've got the old men and we've got the young guys, so let's see if the old men can pull us through.”
For redshirt senior Jarrett Degen, this is his one opportunity to wrestle at home this season since he missed the first four home events with an injury.
“I'm really excited because I missed the first three or four events that were at home and it was kind of something that I was looking forward to,” Degen said. “I am really glad we got these duals at Hilton so I had one chance to wrestle at home this year.”
But it wouldn't be a COVID-19 season without some changes to the original schedule.
Northern Colorado was also supposed to wrestle in Ames on Sunday but had to back out because of COVID-19 protocols in the program. Arizona State and Iowa State had their dual originally scheduled for Jan. 17 but had to postpone and shut down for two weeks because of COVID-19 protocols in the Sun Devils program.
The Iowa State wrestling team is headed into its final home weekend of the season with some momentum.
On Feb. 7, No. 13 (NWCA Coaches Poll) Iowa State dominated the North Dakota State Bisons 28-6, then took down the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 19-12 to improve to 8-2 (3-1 Big 12) in Fargo, North Dakota.
Making their season debuts last weekend were seniors Colbray and Degen, both of them victorious.
“I thought they were great, they were very steady, very consistent, stayed in position and they looked like upperclassmen,” Dresser said. “Obviously, they hadn't wrestled in 11 months, so I'm sure they thought, ‘Wow, this is a different feel,’ but I think they handled it well.”
Redshirt junior Marcus Coleman also made his season debut in the starting lineup Feb. 7, defeating Owen Pentz of North Dakota State by technical fall 19-4 but lost to South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan 7-3 at 197 pounds.
With three top-15 teams wrestling Sunday, there should be plenty of ranked wrestlers in action.
Here are all the wrestlers competing Sunday who are ranked (1-20) in their weight classes by InterMat:
125: No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State), No. 14 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa)
133: No. 8 Michael McGee (Arizona State), No. 14 Kyle Biscoglia (Northern Iowa)
141: No. 6 Ian Parker (Iowa State)
149: No. 5 Jarrett Degen (Iowa State)
157: No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State), No. 12 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State)
165: No. 5 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State)
174: No. 15 Trey Munoz (Arizona State)
184: No. 6 Sam Colbray (Iowa State), No. 7 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa)
197: No. 3 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State), No. 20 Marcus Coleman (Iowa State)
HWT (285): No. 5 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State), No. 6 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), No. 14 Carter Isley (Northern Iowa)
Since its return to action, Arizona State has one win over the Wyoming Cowboys 29-15 Feb. 6 and a 34-6 win over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Thursday.
Northern Iowa has two losses this season, to Oklahoma State (20-12) and Missouri (34-6), who Iowa State also lost to (31-7 to Missouri and 16-15 to Oklahoma State).
The Panthers' best win this season came Jan. 24, 23-13, against the Oklahoma Sooners, who were ranked 18th at the time and who lost to the Cyclones on that same day, 18-16.
Iowa State faced both Arizona State and Northern Iowa last season, beating Northern Iowa in Ames 18-16, but it lost to Arizona State 21-12 in Tempe, Arizona.
In last season's dual against Northern Iowa, Iowa State won the last four out of five matches, capped off by a 4-0 win by Gremmel over Isley.
The Cyclones also had an upset at 174 with Colbray, who was ranked 16th at the time, defeating then-fifth-ranked Bryce Steiert 7-6.
In the Arizona State dual last season (Jan. 11, 2020), Iowa State won the first four out of five matches and had a 12-3 lead but lost the final five matches to lose the dual 21-12.
Iowa State has a 28-10 all-time record against Arizona State but has dropped the last four matchups between the two (last win came Feb. 13, 2015).
Northern Iowa has won the last four out of five against Iowa State, but Iowa State holds the advantage in the all-time series 58-20.
The first dual of the day starts at 11 a.m. with Iowa State wrestling Arizona State on mat one and extra matches between Arizona State and Northern Iowa on mat two.
Arizona State then faces Northern Iowa at 1:30 p.m. on mat one, while extra matches between Arizona State and Iowa State take place on mat two.
Iowa State rounds out the day with the Northern Iowa dual at 3:30 p.m. on mat one, while extra matches featuring all three teams on mat two.