Momentum is building for the Cyclones after starting 2-0 in Big 12 duals.
The Iowa State wrestling team traveled to Lawrenceville, New Jersey, on Thursday to take on Rider, coming off the heels of two blowout wins against North Dakota State and Fresno State.
“New Jersey’s a good wrestling state,” said coach Kevin Dresser. “They’ve been battle-tested. They wrestle tough competition every weekend.”
The Cyclones enter New Jersey with a relatively clean bill of health, which they’ve enjoyed for much of the year.
Redshirt sophomore Ian Parker wrestled on Sunday against Fresno State after having to sit out in the bout against North Dakota State due to a mild concussion.
Parker has progressed well in his recovery, but he still has a little bit left to go.
“I don’t know if I’d say 100 percent, but I mean as good as it’ll get,” Parker said. “I think everyone, especially in a sport like wrestling like no one’s really 100 percent.”
The rest of the team along with Parker has enjoyed a nice start to the season. The Cyclones are 4-1 in duals, and their loss was by one point to the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes.
Rider has also had a nice start to the season but hasn’t fared well when facing tough competition.
Rider still sports a solid dual record at 4-2, but it hasn't faced very strong teams yet besides Rutgers.
The dual against Rider will be the first of the weekend and will be followed up with a match West Virginia on Sunday.
The demanding schedule is a little surprising due to the start of second-semester classes for Iowa State students.
“Our teachers are very understanding of what we need to do,” said redshirt sophomore Samuel Colbray. “Once you start getting one thing right a lot of things follow. We’re competing well in the wrestling room and that transfers over to our grades.”
Colbray has vaulted himself into the national conversation at 184 pounds this year, but he is making sure he keeps everything balanced with the challenging week ahead.
A hot start to the year has garnered national attention to the entirety of the team as well, which was the main reason for their climb to No. 16 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coaches poll.
On Thursday, they’ll bring that momentum to New Jersey.