The Cyclone wrestlers are heading to Hampton, Virginia this weekend to participate in the Virginia Duals. The Virginia Duals are a large event with dozens of teams ranging from high school to Division I, and the Cyclones will be participating in the "National College" division along with 11 other D-1 teams. In order to guarantee four duals for each participating team, the division has been divided up into four pools, with the top four seeds separated. Iowa State is the #2 seed for the tournament and will wrestle Kent State and George Mason in the James River Pool.
|Hampton River Pool||James River Pool||Poquoson River Pool||York River Pool|
|Virginia Tech||Iowa State||Old Dominion||Rider|
|Bucknell||Kent State||Arizona State||Chattanooga|
|The Citadel||George Mason||Campbell||Grand Canyon|
After pool play on Friday morning and early afternoon, the teams will be divided into four team mini brackets with the team winning the pool in the Gold bracket, 2nd place team in the Silver bracket, and third place team in the Bronze bracket. If Iowa State places into the Gold bracket they'll only have two duals on Friday with two more on Saturday. But if they place into the Silver or Bronze brackets they will have a third dual on Friday afternoon before finishing up on Saturday morning.
Where: Hampton, VA
When: January 8th and 9th, All day
Livestream: FloWrestling (Subscription required)
Expected Lineups for Pool Competition
|Weight||Iowa State Wrestler||Record||-||Kent State Wrestler||Record||-||George Mason Wrestler||Record|
|125||Kyle Larson||14-8||vs.||Del Vinas||8-7||vs.||Ibrahim Banduka||10-8|
|133||#7/#7 Earl Hall||17-5||vs.||#10/11 Mack McGuire||15-2||vs.||Vince Rodriguez||10-3|
|141||John Meeks||5-5||vs.||Chance Driscoll||14-11||vs.||Tejon Anthony||9-6|
|149||#17/UR Gabe Moreno||8-5||vs.||#13/14 Mike DePalma||14-3||vs.||Konbeh Koroma||10-6|
|157||Logan Breitenbach||7-8||vs.||#2/#2 Ian Miller||12-0||vs.||#19/#18 Greg Flournoy||15-4|
|165||#14/#13 Tanner Weatherman||15-6||vs.||Tyler Buckwalter||13-7||vs.||Blake Roulo||5-3|
|174||#17/#12 Lelund Weatherspoon||14-6||vs.||Mike Vollant||10-8||vs.||Daniel Mika||0-3|
|184||UR/UR Dane Pestano||16-7||vs.||Cole Baxter||16-5||vs.||Luke Ludke||5-9|
|197||Marcus Harrington||1-2||vs.||Kyle Conel||13-5||vs.||Austin Harrison||2-8|
|HWT||UR/UR Quean Smith||12-6||vs.||Devin Nye||22-9||vs.||Matt Voss||14-6|
Key Matches against Kent State
Hall performed terribly at Midlands compared to expectations, losing twice to wrestlers ranked in the teens. That includes a mind boggling 0-1 loss to #19 Giraldo of Rutgers in which Hall didn't commit to a single shot. He'll get the chance to right the ship on Friday morning when he takes on three time NCAA qualifier Mack McGuire. A win is not only important for Hall to move back up the rankings, but also for the team. The matchups are likely to make this dual closer than it needs to be and this weight is one Kent State needs if they are going to get a team victory.
Like Hall, Moreno under performed expectations at Midlands to close out 2015. And also like Hall, he'll get a ranked opponent to start off on Friday morning. Thus far this season Moreno hasn't gotten back to the top ten form he was in prior to his shoulder injury. Kicking off 2016 with a win over a mid teens ranked guy like DePalma would be step one in putting Moreno back into the AA conversation, while a loss could push him out of the rankings entirely.
Due to a bad draw at Midlands we didn't learn much about Harrington in Evanston other than he needs to work on his conditioning. Conel is the first "average" wrestler Harrington will face in his shortened season. A convincing win is needed here if Harrington wants to show that he is a guy who can qualify and score points for ISU in New York.
Key Matches against George Mason
In what should be a mostly one sided dual, Logan Breitenbach or Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer will face 19th ranked Greg Flournoy in the only match where ISU won't be at least a slight favorite. Flournroy owns a 6-2 win over Rodriguez-Spencer at Midlands. If either of these guys are going to meet preseason expectations and earn a bid to New York this is the type of match they have to win in the second half of the season.
The George Mason dual shouldn't be anywhere close, but the Kent State dual might get dicey. Looking at all the tossup matches I can see ISU winning 27-9, losing by 10-24, or anywhere in between. Only 157, 165, and 174 are foregone conclusions. But I'm going to go with predicting a 19-15 win for ISU over Kent State and a 24-9 win over George Mason to put ISU into the Gold bracket on Saturday against the other pool winners. Within that bracket I look for ISU to end up in 2nd place with a win over Old Dominion in the semifinals and then a loss against Virginia Tech in the finals. If ISU stumbles against Kent State and ends up in the Silver bracket I look for them to cruise to two easy victories on Saturday and finish the tournament in 5th place.
ISU will be head to Tempe, Arizona on January 15th to take on Arizona State.