Back in Hilton after a cathartic 24-12 win over UNI last weekend, the #8 Cyclones will close out the regular season against the #16 Wisconsin Badgers on Senior night on Sunday. With two top ten matchups and another two (three if you use the coaches poll) between top twenty wrestlers, this one should be worth the price of admission.
|Weight||Iowa State Cyclone Wrestler||Record||-||Wisconsin Badger Wrestler||Record|
|125||UR/31 Kyle Larson||18-12||vs.||Johny Jimenez||5-6|
|133||3/2 Earl Hall||24-4||vs.||7/5 Ryan Taylor||20-3|
|141||UR/23 Dante Rodriguez||16-5||vs.||Jesse Theilke||3-7|
|149||14/13 Gabe Moreno||24-5||vs.||Rylan Lubeck||9-9|
|157||Luke Goettl||17-8||vs.||Jared Donar
|165||3/5 Micheal Moreno||20-2||vs.||2/2 Isaac Jordan||19-1|
|174||12/13 Tanner Weatherman||21-7||vs.||UR/17 Frank Cousins||16-10|
|184||16/15 Lelund Weatherspoon||16-3||vs.||20/21 Ricky Robertson||22-6|
|197||2/2 Kyven Gadson||22-2||vs.||14/11 Timmy McCall||19-7|
|HWT||Quean Smith||14-11||vs.||2/3 Connor Medbery||25-1|
Rankings from Intermat // 2-12-15 Coaches Panel
133: The first of two top ten matchups in this meet. Hall has never wrestled against Taylor but there's no reason to doubt he'll be able to keep his win streak going as the regular season comes to a close. A win over Taylor would put Hall in great position for one of the top seeds in St. Louis next month. And If we're lucky, we'll see some of this.
141: This is a big match for Dante. Win and he cements himself at least "Silver" status for NCAA allocations and makes his path to St. Louis very straightforward. Lose and his situation becomes a bit more tenuous, with "Silver" not assured and his at large resume less impressive. His opponent, Jesse Thielke, hasn't had a huge amount of folkstyle success. But Thielke is a former World Team member in Greco-Roman and will be fully prepared to fend off Rodriguez's upper body locks and high amplitude throws. To win this one Dante is going to have to alter his usual style and find success via a more traditional offensive gameplan.
157: After last weekend, Goettl's chances at competing in St. Louis are all but gone. He's had a long, rough road as a Cyclone but he's stayed true to the team and always seemed to give his all. This match doesn't mean a whole lot in the scheme of things, but it would be nice to see a guy who has spent four years in the lineup go out on top on his Senior Night.
165: This is one of the most important matches of the entire season for Moreno. With a win he'd all but lock in a 2 or 3 seed at NCAAs and put himself on a clear path for the NCAA finals. A loss would not only cause doubt to creep in about his ability to get a win against the top few wrestlers at 165, but it would also drop him to 1-2 against that group and depress his likely seed considerably. If Iowa State is going to finish in the top 10 in St. Louis, we need Moreno to finish in the top three, and a high seed would also put him in a better position to score bonus points in the early rounds. For the sake of both Moreno and the team, a win is needed here.
174: Weatherman has been looking better in recent weeks, so this one is just important to see him continue on that groove with a win over a ranked opponent. Also, with a win on Sunday Weatherman locks himself into "Gold" status for NCAA allocations. Not that he'll be sweating much waiting for the at-large announcements. But every little bit that improves his seed helps.
197: This match will be Showtime's last chance to put on a show for a dual meet crowd in Hilton. McCall has been ranked as high as 8th this season but suffered some losses recently that have dropped him to 14th. My only concern in this match is that Kyven will go for a big, risky move to get the fall and get countered. But Kyven hasn't lost in a dual in three years and I see no reason for that to change on Senior Night.
For a full breakdown of common opponents for each matchup, check out WrestleStats comparison for this meet.
The only match we're completely out of is HWT but Wisconsin will be at least slightly favored in several other matches. I think the Cyclones win 6-7 matches and take this one somewhere along the lines of 19-13.
I'll be using @GrappleCy to update on meet results for anyone who is interested.
The Cyclones will host the Big XII Conference Championship (all two rounds of it) on Saturday, March 7th. NCAA Allocations will be announced on February 27th so check back then for a look at how that is going to look for the Cyclones and the rest of the Big XII.