The long regular season is inching towards an end as the wrestlers take on their last two Big XII opponents of the season this weekend with a home dual against Fresno State followed by a trip to Cedar Falls to take on UNI. You might recall that ISU has already wrestled Fresno State once this year, coming away with a 25-16 victory. After Lock Haven quit the Virginia Duals a day early they were nice enough to step in and give ISU a replacement dual.
This is also the first time that Iowa State will be wrestling UNI as a Big XII opponent as UNI left the MAC to become a Big XII affiliate member just this past summer. I don’t know about you, but for me it is still weird to see the Big XII logo on their singlets.
Fresno State & UNI Lineups
|Weight||Fresno State Wrestler||Record||-||ISU Wrestler||Record||-||UNI Wrestler||Record|
|Weight||Fresno State Wrestler||Record||-||ISU Wrestler||Record||-||UNI Wrestler||Record|
|125||Sean Williams||6-15||vs.||Sinjin Briggs||9-3 vs getting pinned||vs.||#19 Jay Schwarm||19-8|
|133||Trevor Williams||6-20||vs.||Marcus Simmons||19-13||vs.||Jack Wagner||7-15|
|141||Chris Deloza||7-21||vs.||Ian Parker||17-6||vs.||#9 Josh Alber||21-4|
|149||#21 Khristian Olivas||24-4||vs.||#20 Jarrett Degen||17-5||vs.||#8 Max Thomsen||22-5|
|157||Greg Gaxolia||13-14||vs.||Chase Straw||14-11||vs.||Logan Ryan||12-6|
|165||Isaiah Hokit||15-14||vs.||Brady Jennings||14-8||vs.||Dan Kelly||8-9|
|174||Dominic Kincaid||10-19||vs.||Danny Bush||14-12||vs.||#7 Taylor Lujan||23-4|
|184||Richie Brandt||1-3||vs.||Dane Pestano||17-9||vs.||#10 Drew Foster||20-4|
|197||Josh Hokit||5-5||vs.||#33 Sam Colbray||13-10||vs.||#14 Jacob Holschlag||14-7|
|HWT||#28 AJ Nevills||26-5||vs.||Marcus Harrington||19-9||vs.||Carter Isley||18-10|
Where: Hilton Colisuem, Ames, IA
When: 7PM, Friday, Feb 9th
Last time we saw Jennings he knocked off then #18 (now #22) Andrew Fogarty of NDSU. He didn’t move up to 165 until after Christmas and has had a pretty limited sample size of matches at the varsity level. So we don’t have a great idea yet as to whether that was a fluke win or if Jennings has taken a step forward by moving up a weight. Hokit is a decent wrestler with a record slightly above .500. If Jennings can pick up a win here he won’t have inserted himself in to the top 20 or anything, but he’ll have shown that he can prevent the weight from being a hole for the last few duals of the year and that he might have an outside shot at stealing an allocation in Tulsa.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, Harrington fell from #33 to being unranked despite a convincing 10-2 win over the current #33 ranked Dan Stibral of NDSU last weekend and no bad losses since the last panel was released three weeks ago. That plus having an RPI of 31 puts him just outside of earning himself an allocation for NCAAs. So that sets up an extremely important match here. If he can beat Nevills, win the rubber match against Isley on Saturday (see the UNI predictions below) and then soak up an RPI boost from finishing out the regular season against Sam Stoll, then Harrington might just squeeze in to one of the last allocation spots. But that all starts with a win in this match.
I’m a little unsure on this one because of the big dual only one night later and the team likely cycling to do as well as possible next weekend against Iowa. So I think ISU drops a match or two that they should win but still comes away with a 19-13 type victory.
Where: West Gym, Cedar Falls, IA
When: 7PM, Saturday, Feb 10th
TV/Stream: Flowrestling ($$)
Instead of the normal “key matches” for the UNI dual we have a joint preview for every match from Nic Ryder (@Nic_Ryder), who covers UNI Wrestling over on IAWrestle. Just follow the link below for both of our thoughts on weights 125-157 and then head back over here to finish up with weights 165-HWT.
Weight By Weight Preview
As mentioned above, head on over to here to read our predictions for the lower weights.
Ryder: Obviously the most interesting story line here is that Kelly was on the Iowa State squad for some of his redshirt freshman year before transferring to UNI late in the year. It was an odd time to transfer, but Kelly has gotten to prove himself this season with Bryce Steiert redshirting. Kelly, like Schwarm, is on a four match losing streak but showed himself well against Chandler Rogers last week, falling in sudden victory (and making me yell at the TV more than I have in quite some time). The Panther would do well to get over the hump with a win against either of these guys, but it will probably be Jennings who takes the mat for ISU. And he is on the edge of earning an allocation but Kelly could derail that for good, and wouldn’t that be a good way of reintroducing himself to his former team?
GrappleCy: Jennings moved up from 157 to 165 after eating too much over Christmas and the move has suited him well. He’s gone 8-2 at his new weight and in his most recent match he knocked off a ranked opponent in Andrew Fogarty of NDSU. But the sample size we have for Jennings is pretty small - only 10 matches total and 7 against D-1 opponents. With only three matches left in the regular season Jennings won’t have much time to build up much more of a resume. So if he is going to put himself in position to possibly slide in to earning an allocation he can’t afford any losses to unranked opponents like Kelly.
Ryder: Kelly by decision, 5-3
GrappleCy: Jennings by decision. ISU 21, UNI -1
Ryder: Ok, ok, this COULD be the most interesting...lol j/k.
GrappleCy: Look, Lujan might have a 24-4 record while Bush is below .500 since dropping down to 174. But what really matters is the friends they both made along the way.
Ryder: Lujan by tech fall 5, 21-6, 4:45
GrappleCy: Bush by pin. ISU 27, UNI -1
Ryder: Like GrappleCy says, these two met two years ago in the West Gym at 184 pounds and their careers have gone in opposite directions. Foster is a completely different wrestler now then he was in 2016 - for the better - while Pestano is still trying to find himself and put together the pieces after a...ahem...respectable cut down to 165 last season. All that said, I would give Pestano a fighting chance if Foster’s conditioning wasn’t better, but he is night and day ahead of where he was even a month ago. And I would think Foster wants revenge after their last match.
GrappleCy: Pestano won over Foster in West Gym two years ago but since then they’re taken different paths - with Pestano making a disasterous cut to 165 last season while Foster grew in to 184 and ended up an All American. Back up at 184 this season Pestano has compiled a respectable 17-9 record but has yet to pick up any signature wins to push himself in to the rankings (or at least make himself competitive for an at-large slot if it comes to that) and he’s running short on time to pick one up.
Ryder: Foster by major, 14-3
GrappleCy: Pestano by decision. ISU 30, UNI -1
Ryder: This should be a good match and would be a good win for Holschlag to bounce back with after a pair of losses. Colbray has been on a bit of a run, going 4-1 in his last five matches, but three of those wins have come in sudden victory. If Holschlag can get his offense going, whether that’s from his feet or on top, I don’t think Colbray can keep up. Though he does have a nice move or two
GrappleCy: Colbray and Holschlag met at the beginning of this season with Holschlag coming away with a 9-2 win. Looking just at that he’d be considered the underdog here. But Colbray has been a new man in the last month. Ever since coming home from the Virginia Duals he’s gone 4-1 with two top twenty wins and his only loss was by just three points to Oklahoma State All American Preston Weigel. We haven’t seen the version of Colbray that lost to Holschlag in weeks. A win here would cement Cobray’s turnaround and very possibly would put him over the top for earning an allocation to NCAAs.
Ryder: Holschlag by decision, 6-5
GrappleCy: Colbray by decision. ISU 33, UNI -1
Ryder: And now the big boys. Isley is 18-10 on the year but it feels like he has a worse record than that for some reason, I’m not sure why. He doesn’t have any big wins, and really no wins over a current-ranked wrestler. Maybe that’s why I feel the same on Harrington, not a great wrestler, but above average. The only thing I know FOR SURE about this match is that it’s going to end 3-2 because their other two matches ended 3-2, the first going to Isley and the second to Harrington. And since this is for the Panther shutout of the Cyclones, I’m going to say that Isley gets the win.
GrappleCy: At the Cyclone Open last November these two met, with Isley coming away with a 3-2 victory. At the Cliff Keen Invitational a few weeks later these two met again, with Harrington coming away with a 3-2 victory. Given this information there’s only one way for this match to end. Harrington to beat Isley in the rubber match by a score of 3-2.
Ryder: Isley by decision, 3-2
GrappleCy: Harrington by 3-2 decision. ISU 36, UNI -1
36 to -1 is probably a little ambitious. But then again so is the 41-0 UNI win that Nic is predicting. ISU should pick off a few wins but overall the dual isn’t likely to be very close. I’m thinking something like a 9-25 loss for the Cyclones in this one.
The Cyclones will close out the regular season at home next Sunday against Iowa. If you listen closely, you can already hear the echo of their fans yelling “stalling” from as far away as Gilbert.
Who Has A More Impressive Beard?
This poll is closed
Guest Contributor Nic Ryder
Assistant Head Coach Mike Zadick
Someone else (post a picture in the comments)