The Nov. 24 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup between No. 11 Iowa State University and the No. 2 University of Iowa was circled on the calendars for wrestling fans across the country.
For the Hawkeyes, a win over the Cyclones would place them at the top of the team rankings after No. 1 Penn State suffered a shocking upset loss to Arizona State.
For the Cyclones, a win over the Hawkeyes would help prove the legitimacy of coach Kevin Dresser’s squad, especially after a close 19-18 loss in the previous year’s matchup with Iowa.
Heading into the week, Dresser mentioned earning bonus point victories would be important if they wanted to beat Iowa, especially since the bonus point victories decided the last matchup.
It was the Hawkeyes who set the tone of the dual after the first two matches with two big bonus-point victories.
“We got manhandled by a very good wrestling team, I don’t think there’s any way to spin it any other way than that,” Dresser said.
The first matchup of the highly anticipated dual started off at 125 pounds with No. 7 ranked Alex Mackall for Iowa State and the two-time NCAA champion and No. 1 ranked Spencer Lee.
On paper, fans could’ve expected a heated battle between two of the top 125s in the country. However, Lee showed Iowa State fans and reminded Iowa fans why he was the two-time defending NCAA national champion at 125.
From the get-go, Lee dominated the match. Lee rattled off a takedown and two four-point near falls, securing a 10-point lead over Mackall, who only managed a reversal. However, Lee met the reversal with an escape, takedown and a four-point near fall with seconds left in the first period to secure a tech fall over Mackall.
All of the sudden, Iowa held a 5-0 lead over Iowa State and the dual hadn’t even lasted a full period.
“I think this is a good measuring stick and a good smack in the head,” said redshirt-junior Ian Parker. “Not that our effort wasn’t there, we’ve seen some things in some positions that individuals got to work on and get back and use it as motivation.”
Following up the Spencer Lee tech fall, Iowa’s Austin DeSanto moved back down to 133 to faceoff with Todd Small. DeSanto jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead after a takedown and a four-point near fall.
After DeSanto’s quick start, Small couldn’t keep up after DeSanto meet every Small escape with a takedown. DeSanto racked up five takedowns, an escape, a four-point near fall and over two minutes of riding time, leading to a 16-5 major decision over Small.
After two matches, Iowa held a 9-0 lead over Iowa State and all of the momentum.
The Cyclones tried making it close after winning at 141 and 157. No. 12 ranked Ian Parker faced Carter Happel at 141 and took the match to sudden victory, where he scored a takedown with 14 seconds left. Carr impressed everyone after he upset the Kaleb Young, who’s No. 2 at 157, in a 6-1 decision.
“It’s November, so I think it’s good to learn from a top team,” Carr said. “We learned a lot about each other and we learned a lot that we can just keep learning from and I think the most important month is March. So we’re going to keep progressing as a team and keep getting better and that’s exciting.”
Despite its efforts, Iowa took control early and remained in control for the remainder of the dual.
Even in favored matches for Iowa State, Iowa made its presence known. Even though Ian Parker won, his match with the unranked Happel went down to the wire. Unranked Nelson Brands pulled off an upset for Iowa after he took down the No. 7 ranked Sam Colbray.
The Hawkeyes setting the tone of the match after dominating the first two weights paved the way for their squad to win the final five weight classes in the dual.
For Iowa State, the dual with Iowa showed the areas for improvement up and down its roster heading into the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
“I think the fortunate thing about wrestling a great team is you really get exposed and you really know what you got to go to work on,” Dresser said.