Back in Hilton for only the second time this season, the wrestlers will play host to a surging UNI Panthers team tonight who are looking to get their first win in Ames in over a decade. This will be a dual filled with closely matched wrestlers and tossups. It could just as easily end up a blowout for either team as it could going to criteria.
Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA
When: 7:00PM CST, Friday, January 20th
|Weight||ISU Wrestler||Record||-||UNI Wrestler||Record|
|125||Marcus Simmons 15/12/15||14-5||vs.||Jay Schwarm||11-8|
|or||Kyle Larson||8-8||or||Tanner Rohweder||10-8|
|133||Earl Hall 11/14/12||17-5||vs.||Josh Alber 12/10/10||14-3|
|141||John Meeks||5-8||vs.||Jake Hodges||9-7|
|149||Chase Straw||14-9||vs.||Max Thompsen 8/8/8||19-3|
|157||Colston DiBlasi||16-11||vs.||Dan Kelly||8-5|
|165||Dane Pestano||7-7||vs.||Bryce Steiert 9/10/10||11-2|
|174||Lelund Weatherspoon 8/12/9||16-7||vs.||Tyler Lujan 12/8/11||18-3|
|184||Pat Downey 10/8/8||6-0||vs.||Drew Foster 14/11/15||14-2|
|197||Marcus Harrington||3-5||vs.||Jacob Holschlag||10-5|
|HWT||Quean Smith||7-5||vs.||JJ Everard||7-8|
Match By Match Breakdown:
Returning All American Dylan Peters appears to still be sidelined for the Panthers. That takes this from a matchup where UNI would be favored to win by pin to a match where Iowa State has a great chance to get bonus points. Simmons and Schwarm wrestled last November at Harold Nichols and Simmons picked up a pin in only 47 seconds. Such a quick pin is unlikely to be re-enacted, but regardless of which backup UNI sends out Simmons should be a heavy favorite to win by major decision or better. And Iowa State could very much use bonus points in this dual.
Hall wrestled Alber three times last year and won all three. But Alber has been performing better thus far this season and is ranked higher than Hall by both The Open Mat and Intermat. So this is an opportunity for Hall to pick up a marquee win and prove he belongs among the favorites to reach All American status in St. Louis. Despite a history of frustrating losses at times, Hall generally comes through when it really counts. So look for him to come out of this match with a close W to kick off a move back up in the rankings.
Not a whole lot to say about this one. Meeks will be a slight underdog and if he’s going to turn it on and finish out his senior season strong he’s running low on time.
Straw lost 2-8 to Thompson at Harold Nichols and overall hasn’t looked as good since Christmas as he did before. So it is safe to say he is a heavy underdog and just not giving up bonus points at this weight is probably the best one can hope for.
Like Straw, DiBlasi hasn’t looked as good since the end of the fall semester. Whether it is because people have enough tape to gameplan around his funk or something else, DiBlasi has gone from a fringe top 20 guy to a fringe NCAA qualifier. However, unlike Straw he won’t be facing an opponent ranked in the top ten. On paper this match is a true tossup despite Colston’s recent struggles. A win would put him back on track for an allocation and perhaps a trip to St. Louis, but a loss would probably mean the end of his chances for anything other than stealing a spot.
Breitenbach’s sacrificial lamb tour continues as he faces yet another ranked opponent - and every remaining match after this one doesn’t get any easier. Not looking for a win here so much as just staying off his back and not getting disheartened by this brutal stretch so he can be healthy and motivated come Big XIIs.
This is a huge match for Lelund. He’s on a 2 match losing streak but both of those losses were to wrestlers who are likely to end up on the podium in March. He’ll face his third highly ranked wrestler in a row in Lujan. However, unlike the last two matches, this time Lelund will be the favorite. A win here is important both for the dual outcome and for Lelund’s seeding at NCAAs. A win would keep him in the top ten and provide him an easier path through his first few matches in St. Louis, but a loss could see him slide closer to that #16 spot and an early matchup with the #1 seed.
Assuming he doesn’t bump up, this will be Downey’s first match of the season against a top 20 wrestler at 184 (he owns a top ten win over Rotert of SDSU but that was at 197). Downey is still recovering the conditioning he lost during his time off due to a rib injury so the thing to watch for here is whether he can go hard for a full seven minutes against a quality wrestler. Downey is the favorite and should pull out the win, but watch to see if Foster is able to tire him out and make it ugly.
Holschlag doesn’t inspire a lot of fear as an opponent but Harrington doesn’t appear to have ever fully recovered from the neck injury that hampered him to start the season. A win here would be nice for Harrington to get some confidence and momentum heading in to the home stretch but he’ll be an underdog against the Panther.
This is another toss up match - Smith has a better record but Everard won the only meeting between the two back in 2013. However, other than a disappointing performance at Midlands, Smith has been putting together a pretty solid senior season. Look for him to keep that going as he enters his last two months of college wrestling and pick up a win to stay on track for an NCAA allocation. Not only that, but I’m finally becoming reasonably confident that he might not pin himself. Hopefully I didn’t just jinx it.
When looking at each match individually I come away with a 17-15 UNI victory. But I
hope think have convinced myself ISU will be wrestling better this weekend than they have been recently and somebody will get an upset to push ISU to an 18-14 win in Hilton.
The wrestlers will remain at home next weekend for a pair of duals. Iowa State will host Oklahoma at 7:00 PM on Friday, January 27th and then top ranked Oklahoma State will visit Hilton at 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 29th.