Iowa State wrestling held its annual media day Tuesday afternoon inside the Harold Nichols wrestling room. The Cyclones enter the year with eight ranked individuals by InterMat, highest in the Big 12 and a top-10 team ranking.
Gomez works toward return to 133
Austin Gomez said he weighed close to 165-170 pounds over the summer. He was initially planning on moving up to 141 for his redshirt sophomore year.
One day during a cardio workout, Gomez had a change of heart.
The fifth-ranked wrestler at 133 said he is planning on returning to the weight class he posted a 24-7 record and a top-12 national finish during the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational over the first weekend in December.
"It's something I thought I wanted to do, but as the days went on, it's better for my team that I need to be at 133," Gomez said. "133 is my weight class. Got to keep working every single day."
Aggressiveness and a willingness to do things others wouldn't led to some moments that didn't work out in Gomez's favor.
He said the one thing he's worked on in the offseason is fundamentals.
"It cost me an All-American medal and I just have to learn to be stingy and stick to the basics," Gomez said. "You'll definitely see me more focused on leg attacks instead of big throws. Still going to be the same Austin Gomez, just a little more controlled."
Head coach Kevin Dresser said the Carol Stream, Illinois, native enjoyed tacos too much over the offseason. The third-year leader of the Cyclones said once he "has that baby soon," he'll be back down.
In the mean time, Gomez is preparing for today's Cardinal and Gold wrestle-off final against Ian Parker at 141. Both welcome the opportunity to face off with one another in a competitive format.
"I haven't had a top-level guy to wrestle off, really excited," said Parker, who is ranked 13th at 141. "It definitely improves my wrestling."
Colbray, Broderson share similarities ahead of wrestle-off
On the surface, Julien Broderson didn't think he and Sam Colbray had a lot in common.
Once the three-time state champion for Davenport Assumption came to Ames two months ago, he saw the similarities in both wrestling and life.
"We're almost the same height, same weight obviously," Broderson said. "Wrestling wise, we can shoot, we can do upper body, a mixture of both. It'll be a good match tomorrow."
It makes for one of the more compelling wrestle-off finals between the true freshman and the sixth-ranked wrestler at 184.
Colbray said he sees the potential in his opponent.
"He has shown me resiliency, lifestyle habits," Colbray said. "More than anything, anyone can excel at ISU. Kevin Dresser is one of the best fuel sources."
Broderson is expected to redshirt, according to Dresser, and even if he were to win the wrestle-off, that still might be the plan.
Broderson said he's in the best shape of his life, and has been mentally preparing himself for the open tournaments that redshirts are allowed to participate in.
"If I win tomorrow and I still redshirt, that'll be fine with me since that's been the plan all along," Broderson said.
197 to be determined by redshirt freshmen, Iowans
Dresser acknowledged the one green area in the lineup is at 197, where Iowa State is looking to replace four-time All-American Willie Miklus.
The wrestle-off between Iowa City's Francis Duggan and West Des Monies' Joel Shapiro will determine who garners that spot with big shoes to fill.
"Which one of those guys is going to step up, we've seen good things," Dresser said. "Throw 'em out, turn the lights out at Hilton Coliseum, it's just you and one other guy — then you really found out what they're made out of."
Neither are ranked by InterMat, although Shapiro, who went 26-5 at 184 during his redshirt year, holds the 28th spot in Trackwrestling's rankings. Duggan wrestled at heavyweight a season ago, posting an 18-9 record.
Parker said he doesn't think the caliber wrestlers Duggan and Shapiro are replacing will affect them individually.
"They understand that they're not putting on the same shoes as Willie," Parker said. "They're both very talented and you can see that."