Winter weather is here once again and we all know what that means - wrestling season is back! The Cyclones open up the dual season this weekend with a tilt against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Stephens. Year Two of the Dresser era still features a lot of underclassmen, but we should see a lineup with no holes and a lot of talent capable of taking on just about anyone in a dual setting.
Since this is the first article of the season rather than just highlight the key matchups, which should be 149, 165, and HWT, I’ve broken down each weight class with some thoughts on expectations for the season. Leave your thoughts on expectations in the comments below!
When: 12PM Sunday, November 11th
Where: Stephens Auditorium, Ames, IA
|Weight||ISU Wrestler||Record||-||SIU-E Wrestler||Record|
|Weight||ISU Wrestler||Record||-||SIU-E Wrestler||Record|
|125||Alex Mackall||2-0||vs||Austin Macias||0-1|
|133||Austin Gomez||0-0||vs||Gage Datlovsky||0-1|
|141||Ian Parker||5-1||vs||Jacob Blaha||0-1|
|149||14/13/16 Jarrett Degen||3-1||vs||Tyshawn Williams||1-0|
|157||Chase Straw||0-0||vs||Justin Ruffin||1-0|
|165||Brady Jennings||3-1||vs||Nate Higgins||0-1|
|174||Marcus Coleman||2-1||vs||Ryan Yarnell||0-1|
|184||Sam Colbray||2-1||vs||Sergio Villalobos||1-0|
|197||5/5/5 Willie Milkus||3-0||vs||Christian Dulaney||1-0|
|HWT||Gannon Gremmel||3-1||vs||Tommy Helton||1-0|
Weight by Weight Breakdown
After a series of fill ins stepped in to the 125 spot last year Iowa State will once again have a legitimate D1 wrestler at this weight. Alex Mackall transferred to Iowa State from Rutgers at midseason last year after Nick Suriano deplaced him from the lineup and he is now eligible to put on a Cyclone singlet. We know Mackall is going to be an upgrade but it’ll be a little while before we learn where his ceiling is - last weekend he won a small bracket at Harold Nichols, this weekend he faces an unranked freshman, and against Iowa he’ll face Spencer Lee. So it might not be until the Southern Scuffle that we really get a feel for what to expect out of Mackall. But if I had to guess today I think he’s an NCAA qualifier who wins a match or two before bowing out.
Austin Gomez was a blue chip recruit coming out of high school. He went 8-0 during his redshirt season and claimed a spot on the Junior World Team in freestyle this summer. He has a whole lot of talent and knows how to use it. But he also is injury prone - a concussion shortened his season last year and a knee injury prevented him from attending Junior Worlds. If he can stay healthy he’s a top twenty wrestler at 133 with a ceiling that might involve the podium. But staying healthy has been a problem so far. He should have no trouble picking up a win on Sunday.
Ian Parker made a late season weight change last year, moving up to 141 after Kanen Storr left the team, and despite some very good wins he fell just short of qualifying for NCAAs. This year, with a full season at the weight, NCAA qualification should be Parker’s floor and the expectation should be for him to be able to pick up a couple of wins in Pittsburgh. Like Gomez, he should have no trouble picking up a win over an overmatched SIU-E wrestler on Sunday.
Jarrett Degen peaked at just the right time last year as he made an impressive run to the Round of Twelve at NCAAs. He’s proven that when he’s wrestling hot he can beat almost anyone. But he also has a tendency to take bad losses and isn’t as consistent as he needs to be in order to be a legitimate All American contender. I expect he’ll spend most of the season ranked in the mid to high teens and easily qualify for NCAAs but I’m not sure if he’ll be able to recreate his run from last March. He’ll get a good test on Sunday in what should be the marque match of the dual - Tyshawn Williams is a returning NCAA qualifier and probably the best wrestler in the SIU-E lineup.
Chase Straw wasn’t able to compete at Harold Nichols last weekend so this will be the first time we see him on the mat this year. One of the few non-transfer upperclassmen on the ISU roster, Straw has picked up some good wins over the years but has never been able to break in to the rankings. For this season the expectation should be for him to have a winning record in duals and hope he can qualify for NCAAs. His opponent on Sunday is a true freshman that was highly ranked as a recruit so a win would be a great sign that Straw will have a solid season.
This weight will probably be manned by more than one wrestler at various points this season - Jennings has it for now but Skyler St. John will be back from a knee injury at some point and challenge for the spot. Expectations are similar for either wrestler though, that they’ll be about 0.500 and hope to get hot at Big XIIs in order to qualify for NCAAs. This will be the only weight in which the ISU wrestler is the underdog (Higgins is a returning NCAA qualifier) so a win would be a huge for Jennings to show he can make it to Pittsburgh.
Marcus Coleman had a great redshirt season last year and up to this point has only ever lost in college to one opponent - 9th ranked Taylor Lujan of Northern Iowa. And he appears to have closed the gap on Lujan, who tech falled him last year but only beat him 7-10 last weekend. Coleman should show up in the top twenty by the end of December and expectations should be for him to qualify for NCAAs and win some matches. He should pick up a solid win on Sunday against a true freshman from SIU-E.
Sammy Colbray came to Iowa State as a top recruit and while he didn’t totally disappoint as a true freshman - he picked up multiple wins over ranked opponents - he didn’t live up to expectations. With Milkus coming in and taking over the starting spot at 197 hopefully the drop to 184 will be the spark that Colbray needs to take a step forward with his results. Expectations for Colbray are probably for him to not be ranked but to earn (and cash in) an NCAA allocation. However, the talent is definitely there for Colbray to exceed that and have a breakout year. Danny Bush beat this SIU-E wrestler 4-0 last season so Colbray should be able to pick up a win on Sunday.
Willie Milkus transferring to Iowa State from Missouri was a huge get for Dresser. The moment he stepped on to campus he was the best wrestler on the roster. Milkus is a three time All American and is expected to reach the podium for a fourth time this season. He’s also an exciting wrestler to watch - his record from prior years is full of tech falls and pins. On Sunday he’ll face a familiar face in Christian Dulaney. They met twice last season with Milkus winning both times.
Gannon Gremmel got the starting spot at 285 after Marcus Harrington decided to graduate and move on rather than use his fifth year of eligibility. Gremmel has some decent wins on his resume but in general has struggled against top tier competition. Expectations for Gremmel should probably be similar to Colbray. That he’ll spend the season unranked but earn (and cash in) an NCAA allocation. The SIU-E Heavyweight went 6-19 last season so Gremmel should have no trouble moving his record to 4-1 on Sunday.
The Cyclones should win eight or nine matches in this one and get bonus points in at least a few of them. This should be a 28-6 type win for Iowa State.
The wrestlers will head to the Lindenwood Open next weekend and then wrestle Iowa in Carver on December 1st.