The postseason is almost here for No. 13 (NWCA Coaches Poll) Iowa State (9-3, 4-1 Big 12), with the team's Friday matchup at West Virginia sitting as the last dual before the Big 12 Championships.
Heading into Friday’s dual with the Mountaineers, Iowa State has a newly ranked wrestler at 133 pounds and has some decisions to make on who is starting in Morgantown, West Virginia, at 125 and 197.
Fresh face in the rankings
In this week’s individual rankings from InterMat, Iowa State true freshman Zach Redding cracked the top 15 at 133 pounds.
Redding is 7-4 this year and is coming off his first win over a ranked opponent.
In Sunday’s dual against Northern Iowa, Redding defeated then-14th-ranked Kyle Biscoglia of Northern Iowa 6-5 in tiebreaker period one.
“It felt really good, I just went out there and knew I had a shot of beating the guy,” Redding said.
In his win over Biscoglia, Redding got a takedown with 10 seconds left in the third period to tie the match at five and send the match into overtime.
After the first sudden victory period, Redding earned a point from a stalling call against Biscoglia to win 6-5.
Iowa State Head Coach Kevin Dresser said Redding doesn’t get intimidated by other wrestlers' ranking whenever he faces them.
“I think when he steps out there, he really wants to beat guys and doesn't get intimidated by rankings and how old [his opponents] are, he just goes and throws it out there,” Dresser said.
Dresser added Redding isn't one to get rattled easily, a trait most freshmen in the Big 12 don't carry right away.
Redding said that mindset comes from his parents and coaches.
“My parents and my coaches in high school just kind of threw me to the wolves every time, and I just didn't really mind," Redding said. "I kind of got used to it, and that's kind of my mindset and really don't care who I wrestle."
Redding has won his last five out of seven matches, with his only losses in that span coming from Sunday against the current eighth-ranked wrestler Michael McGee of Arizona State (9-4 decision) and Feb. 7, which was a 4-2 loss to South Dakota State’s Zach Price, who is now ranked 17th by InterMat.
Following his 6-0 win Jan. 30 over Oklahoma State’s Reece Witcraft, who was an NCAA tournament qualifier in 2019, Redding said his next goal was to beat a ranked opponent.
He accomplished his goal by beating Biscoglia on Sunday, but now, has a new goal ahead — qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
Redding may have another opportunity to defeat a ranked wrestler Friday against West Virginia’s Ryan Sullivan, who is ranked 20th in his weight.
Dresser discusses options at 125 and 197 pounds
Over the last few weeks, Iowa State has had a couple of starters rotate in and out at the weight classes of 125 and 197.
Freshmen Aden Reeves and Kysen Terukina have both been starters in recent weeks, with Reeves starting in the Arizona State and Northern Iowa duals Sunday because of Terukina being out with a shoulder injury.
In the post-match press conference Sunday, Dresser also threw out two other wrestlers that are in the mix at 125.
“We’ve got Ramazan Attasauov on his way down to 125 [from 133]…and [Corey] Cabanban is going to be in the mix, so 125 is going to get real competitive again,” Dresser said.
Cabanban is 0-1 this season with a loss to Northern Iowa’s Jack Skudlarczyk by major decision 14-2 Jan 24.
Attasauov has a 9-3 record (8-3 in extra matches/"B dual" matches, 1-0 in main duals), while Reeves is 0-6 (0-4 main duals, 0-2 team B dual/extra matches) and Terukina is 5-3 (4-2 in main dual and 1-1 in team B dual/extra matches).
Dresser hasn’t made a decision yet on who is going to get the starting nod at 125 Friday against West Virginia.
“We'll take a couple of guys out there, not quite sure who we're gonna wrestle,” Dresser said.
Dresser said Attasauov came to him and said he wanted to cut down to 125.
“He got certified at 125 earlier in the year, so he came to me and said he wanted a shot to be the guy, and so due to progression, he's able to legally compete and try out there later this week,” Dresser said.
At 197, redshirt junior Marcus Coleman and freshman Yonger Bastida started in one dual Sunday, with Bastida falling 17-7 to then-third-ranked (now fourth) Kordell Norfleet out of Arizona State and Coleman defeating Keegan Moore of Northern Iowa 10-5.
Dresser said the decision on who will start in the “A-team dual” will be based on results in practice.
Coleman has a 3-3 record this season (2-2 main dual and 1-1 in B dual/extra matches), while Bastida is 4-4 (all main dual matches).
In regards to the Cyclones' dual against West Virginia on Friday, Dresser offered specifics on what the format will look like for competition.
“We're gonna be able to bring two guys per weight, the setup's gonna be two dual meets going on at the same time, kind of an ‘A team dual meet a dual meet,’ so we're excited to get 20 matches out in Morgantown, [West Virginia]," Dresser said.
For the Cyclones, this is the last opportunity to wrestle a team before the Big 12 Championships begin March 6 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.