The Iowa State wrestling team had the opportunity to beat two top-15 opponents Sunday.
It nearly accomplished that feat as it beat No. 15 Northern Iowa 23-17 but fell short earlier in the day against No. 11 Arizona State 20-15 due to a few matches in the latter half of the dual.
Iowa State led 12-7 after a first period pin by David Carr in his match against Arizona State’s Hunter Balk, but only managed one more win in the last five matches of the dual and lost 20-15.
In two of the four losses, Iowa State was right there and nearly won them.
At 165 pounds, Iowa State’s Isaac Judge led Arizona State’s Anthony Valencia, who is the fifth-ranked wrestler in the weight class, late in the match before disaster happened.
Judge led 3-2 in the final seconds of the match, but Valencia got a takedown and a nearfall to win 8-4.
Another close match didn’t go Iowa State’s way at heavyweight.
With his team trailing 16-15, Iowa State redshirt senior (No. 6 Intermat/No. 5 NWCA Coaches), Gannon Gremmel went into overtime with Arizona State freshman (No. 13 NWCA Coaches/No. 6 Intermat) Cohlton Schultz tied at two.
In the tiebreaker period one, Schultz got an escape in the first portion of the period, then rode out Gremmel in the second portion of the tiebreaker to win the match 4-2.
The Cyclones had a 15-13 lead but lost the final two matches of the dual to the Sun Devils.
Iowa State fell to Arizona State in Sunday’s dual in a similar fashion that it did when these two met in the 2019-20 season.
In the Jan. 11, 2020, dual against Arizona State, Iowa State led 12-3 after a David Carr win at 157 pounds but lost the final five matches to lose the dual 21-12.
Iowa State’s lone win in the final five-match stretch came at 184 pounds with redshirt senior (No. 6 Intermat) Sam Colbray, who held on to beat Arizona State’s Cade Belshay (No. 31 NWCA Coaches) 6-5.
Iowa State Head Coach Kevin Dresser said in practice this week he started talking about a “two-minute rule."
“This week, we talked a lot about resiliency and I told him, I said, we're gonna adopt a two-minute rule here, anything good that happens, you got two minutes to celebrate, anything bad that happens, you got two minutes to sulk, but after that, we got to move on,” Dresser said.
Dresser said the rule was adopted because of the scheduling format this year.
“I felt like it was fitting because of the way things kind of line up this year, with dual meets, COVID and everything, you've got to bounce back a lot quicker,” Dresser said. “It's one thing to lose on a Friday night, and then you got a match on Saturday night, but it’s a totally different deal to lose at 11 and a half to wrestle at three [that same day].”
The Cyclones moved on from its loss early in the day by beating Northern Iowa 23-17.
While it lost the latter half of the matches against Arizona State, the same can’t be said for the Northern Iowa dual, although Iowa State was trailing four matches in.
After Iowa State’s Jarrett Degen, the sixth-ranked wrestler at 149, got pinned by unranked Triston Lara (5:30), Northern Iowa led 11-9 with six matches to go.
The Cyclones won four out of the last six matches against Northern Iowa.
One of those four victories came from Carr via technical fall over Derek Holschlag (19-2, 5:00), one from Judge by an 11-7 decision over Northern Iowa’s Pat Schoenfelder and the Cyclones had a pair of decisions from Marcus Coleman at 197 (10-5 over Keegan Moore) and Gremmel (5-3 over No. 7 Carter Isley 5-3).
Prior to the Northern Iowa dual, Dresser said he talked to all 10 guys who were wrestling for Iowa State in the dual and asked them if they were ready; one of them, Judge, had a look on his face that stood out to Dresser.
“He kind of had a look on his face like somebody shot his dog or something,” Dresser said. “He wasn’t too happy.”
After taking a tough loss against a top-five wrestler in his weight class, Judge bounced back by giving Iowa State a key victory.
Judge’s win was the second of four victories that swung momentum Iowa State’s way past the midway point of the dual.
Coleman’s victory broke a tie at 17 and gave the Cyclones a 20-17 lead.
Coleman said the team score wasn’t on his mind when he stepped onto the mat.
“I just knew if I went out there and took care of myself, it’d be helping the team,” Coleman said. “So I was just focusing on me making sure I'm going out scoring points.”
The Ames native scored points when it mattered most.
Coleman was tied with Moore at four late in the second period, when Coleman got one point on an escape, then got a takedown with three seconds left to give himself a 7-4 lead heading into the third period.
“There was some momentum after I scored on that,” Coleman said. “My mentality was to keep on pushing forward, keep scoring points and the rest take care of itself.”
He went on to win his match 10-5.
For Coleman, this is his second weekend in a row he’s wrestled after dealing with an injury for most of the season.
“I felt decent, I'm still kind of just getting back into it,” Coleman said.
Following Coleman’s win, Gremmel then iced the dual with a 5-3 win over Isley to give Iowa State the win 23-17.
“Gremmel’s a great finisher,” Iowa State redshirt senior Ian Parker said. “It looked like he made a lot of improvements from his first match today to his second, just moving his feet more and wrestling smart."
Parker said Coleman’s energy level is “crazy good.”
“It's awesome to see Coleman back and healthy, that guy’s gas tank is crazy, good he's breaking people out here when he hasn't even been wrestling for months,” Parker said.
As for Parker, the sixth-ranked wrestler in the nation at 149 pounds (NWCA Coaches), he won both his matches on Sunday at 149 pounds, defeating Arizona State’s Peter Lipari 8-3 and pinning Northern Iowa’s Ethan Basile (4:29).
He and Carr were the only two Cyclones to win both their matches Sunday.
Early in the Northern Iowa dual, Iowa State scored an upset as freshman No. 33 Zach Redding defeated No. 11 Kyle Biscoglia 6-5 in tiebreaker period one at 133 pounds.
Sunday’s dual was the highest-scoring dual between Iowa State and Northern Iowa since Feb. 24, 2011, when Iowa State won 21-20.
Iowa State’s record now stands at 9-3 (4-1 Big 12) with one dual left this season against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Feb. 19 in Morgantown, West Virginia.