After a jam-packed road trip to New Jersey and West Virginia a little under a month ago, the Cyclones wrestling team heads to the other side of the U.S. for Monday's dual.
Iowa State (9-2, 6-1 Big 12) squares off with Oregon State (4-6, 0-1 Pac-12) at 9 p.m. Monday in Corvallis, Oregon.
With the dual a little over 1,800 miles away, Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser enjoys the challenges of life on the road. Dresser liked the east coast road trip and the Southern Scuffle because he views the road tasks as a way to toughen a relatively young team.
On Monday, a couple of those young athletes will be tasked with top five wrestlers from the Beavers.
"They're not a super strong across the board dual team, but their individuals are stellar," Dresser said. " and heavyweight, we're big-time underdogs at those weight classes, so [it's a] great challenge — great opportunity for those guys."
On paper, Iowa State should dominate the Beavers, but Oregon State has a couple standouts individually that Dresser alluded to.
The bookends of the weight classes — 125-pounds and heavyweight — feature Oregon State's strengths.
The Beavers will likely trot out Intermat's No. 3 125-pounder Ronnie Bresser and No. 4 heavyweight Amar Dhesi. The Cyclones will counter with 125-pounder Alex Mackall and heavyweight Gannon Gremmel.
"He's a very unorthodox wrestler," Mackall said about Bresser. "Not a guy who likes to tie up and wrestle from the inside a lot. He kind of dances around on his feet."
Mackall compared Bresser's tendency to stay on his feet and shuffle his feet to boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Mackall and Gremmel are two of the five unranked regulars in the lineup, but the duo has shown flashes throughout the year.
Gremmel has recently heated up lately with a pair of wins on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3. Dresser attributes some of the success to Gremmel's uptick in confidence, specifically offensively.
Gremmel's improvement will be tested against Dhesi.
"He's good; he's really good," Gremmel said about Dhesi. "A true freshman knocked him off [Michigan's Mason Parris] first match out. He's been wrestling good since then, and he keeps coming. He's a big guy, and he can attack you low — he can attack you high."
Outside of the two headliners at 125-pounds and heavyweight, 157-pounds could set up for an entertaining match if Oregon State's Hunter Willits can return from injury.
Iowa State's Chase Straw streaked to a 3-0 record during the last three duals — each dual starting at 157-pounds.
Anchoring 157-pounds this year for the Beavers is Willits. Willits sports an 18-7 record and sneaked into the coaches panel rankings at No. 28.
Willits withdrew from his match against Fresno State on Jan. 31, and he didn't weigh in for the dual against Cal Poly. Oregon State lists Willits or Zech Bresser against the Cyclones, so Willits status is questionable.
The two 157-pounders wrestled last year in Iowa State's 24-16 dual win with Straw squeezing out a 5-3 win in sudden victory.