Hawkeyes make it 10 straight
AMES – Iowa State’s wrestling program has shown marked improvement this season.
That doesn’t mean the Cyclones are ready to compete at Iowa’s level just yet.
Iowa won seven of 10 matches and beat host Iowa State 23-9 Sunday in their annual wrestling dual meet.
The?fourth-ranked Hawkeyes (4-0) beat the rival Cyclones for the 10th straight time and claimed the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy for the fourth time in as many tries.
Top-ranked Derek St. John beat Iowa State’s John Nicholson 5-1 to clinch the meet for Iowa, which scored a pair of major decisions but also left some points on the mat.
“We missed some scoring positions,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “What we have to know coming in here is that they’re going to be coached to strategize … and we’ve got to beat that. And I think they did a pretty good job of doing what they wanted to do in some of those matches where they kept it close enough where they can maybe win in the end, and we’ve got to handle that better.”
Kyven Gadson, Quean Smith and Luke Goettl posted wins for the Cyclones (5-1), who nonetheless emerged confident about their chances for the rest of the season – and against the Hawkeyes in the future.
“We’re better than what we showed. I know it, they know it. And we’re going to continue to improve, and we’re going to beat the Hawks. We’re going to beat them, and it’s coming,” Iowa State coach Kevin Jackson said.
It didn’t happen this time though.
Iowa’s Cory Clark, ranked fourth nationally at 125 pounds, survived a furious rally by Earl Hall to win 8-7 on riding time and put the Hawkeyes up 10-6 at intermission.
Top-ranked Tony Ramos then opened things up with another dominant performance.
Ramos crushed redshirt freshman Dakota Bauer 16-5, which included 3:43 of riding time. The ever-expressive Ramos was booed as he left the mat, and he responded by playfully waving to Cyclones fans.
Josh Dziewa made it 17-6 Iowa with a 12-5 decision of Gabe Moreno. Goettl’s dramatic takedown of previously-unbeaten Mike Kelly kept Iowa State alive, and though Nicholson gave St. John a spirited match he could only muster a point on the defending NCAA champion.
A sense of urgency exists for the proud Iowa program, which has watched fellow Big Ten power Penn State win three consecutive NCAA team titles.
Iowa State wishes it had those kinds of concerns.
The Cyclones have struggled since coach Cael Sanderson left for the Nittany Lions, and last season they suffered their biggest loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes, 32-3.
But Jackson’s rebuilding efforts had started to show tangible results in 2013-14. The Cyclones opened with five straight wins for the first time in six years.
Iowa State got off to a rough start against the Hawkeyes though.
The Cyclones needed a big win out of ranked 174-pounder Tanner Weatherman against Mike Evans, but Evans instead rolled to a 10-1 major decision. Ethen Lofthouse then gave Iowa a 7-0 lead after two matches.
Gadson won at 197 though, and Smith beat Terrance Jean-Jacques in overtime to pull Iowa State within 7-6.
But the Cyclones didn’t have any more ranked wrestlers in the lineup until Mike Moreno in the meet’s final match, and the deeper Hawkeyes rolled to yet its third winning streak of at least 10 meets in this series.
“If you look at last year’s match and this year’s match, a little change. A little improvement. I think we got a couple of them tired,” Jackson said.
Still, Nick Moore’s third-period takedown of Moreno capped the win for the Hawkeyes, who can now look ahead to its highly-anticipated home meet with Penn State on Dec. 21.
“We had opportunities to maybe put matches away with wider gaps and we were missing opportunities,” Brands said.