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March Matness: 2021 NCAA Wrestling Day 1 Preview & Predictions

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The short and strange 2021 wrestling season comes to an end this weekend as teams all across the country converge on St. Louis for the NCAA championships. The tournament itself will be mostly similar to years past - 33 man brackets competed over three days. The only on the mat change you’ll see is that the lightweights and heavyweights will compete separately for the first few sessions (yeah, I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mitigate either) with 125-157 running all the way through their matches, clearing the arena, and 165-285 running after. The Cyclones themselves have eight wrestlers in the field with seeds ranging from #3 all the way up to #33. A team trophy probably isn’t in the cards this year but Iowa State has one individual champion contender backed up by a handful of guys looking to reach the All American podium.

One thing worth noting is that the seeding committee appears to have used their usual formula to determine seeding. But this year wrestlers wrestled very few matches and there was not a huge amount of crossover between conferences, or in the Big 10s case, any crossover at all. As a result of that there are a lot of seeds that don’t make a whole lot of sense. That’s combined with a bunch of freshman that nobody knows much about and little data on what wrestlers had growth since the 2019-2020 season and as a result seeds were a total crapshoot and it is safe to assume that multiple brackets are going to be completely busted by Friday morning. Depending on how things go that could be very good, or very bad news for individual Cyclones.

Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo


Session IA (Pigtails & First Round 125-157) - 10AM - ESPNU

Session IB (Pigtails & First Round 165-285) - 1PM - ESPNU

Session 2A (Second Round 125-157) - 5PM - ESPN2

Session 2B (Second Round 165-285) - 8PM - ESPN2

Brackets & Live Stats: Trackwrestling

Stream: Every Match, Every Mat, ESPN+

Iowa State Lineup

Weight ISU Wrestler Record Seed
Weight ISU Wrestler Record Seed
125 Kysen Terukina 8-5 #33
133 12/13 Zach Redding 10-5 #13
141 6/7 Ian Parker 13-2 #7
149 12/18 Jarrett Degen 6-3 #18
157 3/3 David Carr 15-0 #3
184 UR/16 Sam Colbray 6-3 #29
197 13/UR Marcus Coleman 7-4 #21
HWT 6/6 Gannon Gremmel 15-1 #6

Weight By Weight Breakdown

125: Kysen Terukina

As a true freshman who got his ticket via a wild card, there aren’t a huge amount of expectations at this weight and any wins Terukina can get are valuable experience for him for the years to come. And I think he’ll be able to get one or two. He will open up against #32 seeded Patrick McCormick of Virginia. Win and he gets #1 Spencer Lee of Iowa. Lose and he gets #30 Micah Roes of Binghamton in the consolation pigtails to avoid being the first eliminated in the tournament. I’m not gonna predict him over Lee if that match happens, but I do think he’ll be able to pick up a win in one of his two possible matchups against wrestlers seeded in the 30s. The big question is whether he’ll be able to pick up an upset win in the second session against a TBD opponent seeded in the mid teens to keep his tournament going in to Friday.

133: Zach Redding

When the brackets came out last week Redding’s draw really caught my eye. He’s in a sweet spot in the bracket that won’t require any huge upsets for him to reach the All American rounds, just a solid set of matches. He’ll open up as the favorite against #20 Ryan Sullivan of WVU. A win there gives him #4 Austin Desanto of Iowa and baring an upset that’ll send him to a soft landing in the consolations, likely starting against #19 Chance Rich of CSU-Bakersfield before a toss-up against #12 Jarrett Trombley of NC State to reach the blood round. That gives him a blood match against (likely) #7 Lucas Byrd of Illinois. That’s not a match he’ll be the favorite in by any means, but when you aren’t seeded in the top 8 that’s about as nice a path as you can get. If he puts together three good matches on Friday and caps it off with a moderate upset he’ll be on the podium.

141: Ian Parker

As Parker is a high seed there isn’t a whole lot to write about his Thursday. He’ll be favored in both of his matches and just needs to stay focused and avoid any upsets to move on to the Quarterfinals on Friday morning.

149: Jarrett Degen

Degen is probably the biggest question mark of the tournament for the Cyclones - he was recovering from surgery and injuries for most of the season and barely saw the mat this year. And his spot in the bracket is pretty rough - there aren’t any paths that don’t require him to get multiple upsets to keep himself going past the first couple of rounds. It’s the last go around for our tall boy and hopefully he’s able to bring his best.

157: David Carr

Similar to Parker at 141, Thursday isn’t the important day for Carr. Coming out of the #3 spot in the bracket he’ll be the heavy favorite in both of his Day 1 matches and he just needs to stay focused and avoid getting as he barrels his way in to Friday’s quarterfinals.

184: Sam Colbray

It’s safe to say that Sam Colbray is underseeded. That has resulted in an interesting opening round match against #4 Keckeisen of UNI, who only beat him 4-3 when they wrestled in Ames a month ago. He’s got a real shot at a win there. That would give him a second session match against #13 Chris Weiler of Wisconsin on Thursday night which would be winnable if the good Colbray shows up. There’s some real opportunity in this bracket for Colbray if he wrestles well but if the bad Colbray shows up it could be an early exit.

197: Marcus Coleman

Coleman’s spot in the bracket isn’t too bad if he wrestles like he did at Big 12s. As the #21 seed he’ll open up against #12 Lucas Davison of Northwestern in a match that he’ll be the underdog in, but not overwhelmingly so. Win that and he’d have a much tougher matchup against #5 Jake Warner in round 2, but lose it and he’d be favored in his consolation matchup on Thursday night against #28 Nick Reenan of NC State. Either way, he should be able to survive in to Friday. And 197 is a bracket that is ripe for chaos so he’ll just have to keep his fingers crossed that some upsets can work out in his favor and clear him a Redding-like path to the podium.

HWT: Gannon Gremmel

The third Cyclone who’s seed means he’ll be the favorite in both his matches on Thursday, Gremmel just needs to wrestle like his normal self and try not to spend to much time in overtime to push himself in to the quarters.


I think that Iowa State should still have 6-7 wrestlers still alive after the last whistle blows at the end of Session II with 3-4 guys still on the championship side of the bracket.

Next Up

The wrestling will continue with the Quarterfinals and Semifinals on Friday as well as the consolations running through the Blood Round. We’ll have a preview up for Friday’s action before the first whistle of Session III.


How many ISU Wrestlers will make it to Day 2?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    5 or fewer
    (7 votes)
  • 42%
    (11 votes)
  • 26%
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    9 (Judge outa nowhere)
    (0 votes)
26 votes total Vote Now