All nine Iowa State NCAA tournament qualifiers have been eliminated from title contention prior to the quarterfinals. Four have advanced to Friday’s action and will fight for All-American status. Iowa State looked flat in almost every match on Thursday. They lost six first round matches. In two of those losses the Cyclone led in the third period. Another they entered the third period tied. Yet another loss they were favored in. In the three championship side second round matches, Iowa State failed to score a single takedown.
In his first match, 125-pounder Kysen Terukina had a rematch against OSU’s #7 Trevor Mastrogiovanni. The Cowboy avenged his early season loss with a 4-2 victory where a third period takedown was the difference. On Thursday night Terukina got the opening takedown on #23 Dylan Shawver of Rutgers. After that it was all Shawver, who won the match 6-4. Terukina showed flashes of greatness this year, but gets the same result in March.
Ramazan Attasauov’s tournament was unfortunately ended before it could really get going. Just over a minute into his first match, the Cyclone 133-pounder was injured and had to default out of the tournament. No word yet on the exact injury, but it look like a right elbow/shoulder issue. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for Attasauov.
Ian Parker started the day against #20 Parker Filius of Purdue. The first period looked very similar to Parker’s first period at the Big 12 tournament. Filius scored a pair of first period takedowns, but the Cyclone cut his lead to 4-3 entering the final period. Filius opened up the match by taking Parker down to his back, leading to a 13-5 final score. Parker bounced back on Thursday night. Two takedowns led him to a 6-1 victory. Parker needs to win three straight matches Friday to reach the podium for the first time in his career. His first opponent is Nebraska’s Chad Red, a 4x All-American. The two have been fixtures in the rankings at 141 over the last few years. Red leads that series 2-1, with both those wins coming at the NCAA tournament. If he’s wrestling well enough to win that one tomorrow, there’s a good chance he’s wrestling good enough to win the next two as well.
At 149 Jarrett Degen lost a pair of heartbreakers. OU’s Willie McDougald proved to be his kryptonite, using late match heroics to foil Degen’s victory for the third time this season. Degen led 4-2 to start the third period, but was reversed to his back and lost 10-7. On the backside he drew returning All-American Zach Sherman of North Carolina. Sherman’s first period takedowns gave him a 5-2 victory. Degen followed Coach Dresser to Iowa State from Virginia Tech. He ends his Iowa State career as the first 5x national qualifier in school history and a 2x All-American.
In the most shocking upset of the tournament on Thursday, David Carr dropped a 2-1 match to #17 Hunter Willits of Oregon State. The Beaver came in with a gameplan to not engage with Carr. He stayed at a distance, backing to the edge and then circling in a bit as Carr chased him. The official refused to call stalling and encourage action, and the match went to overtime tied 1-1. With Carr nearly all the way around for a takedown in sudden victory, the official stopped action for a stalemate. Carr failed to escape in the first tiebreaker and Willits got an escape as time expired in the second to take the match 2-1. The match was especially surprising after Carr opened up in his first round match against UNI’s Derek Holschlag. He won that one 21-6, more than doubling his margin of victory from the dual meet. I still think Carr is the best wrestler at 157 pounds, but it will take a lot of grit to battle back for All-American status on Friday. He sees returning All-American Wyatt Sheets of OSU first. His next likely matchup is 3x All-American Kaleb Young of Iowa. Those would both be in the morning session. Then on Friday night he would face to loser of tomorrow morning’s quarterfinal between Arizona State’s All-American Jacori Teemer and NDSU’s 6-seed Jared Franek.
In the 174 bracket Joel Devine was defeated by Nebraska’s 9-seed Mikey Labriola and Drexel’s 8-seed Michael O’Malley. The matches were almost copycats of each other. Both matches had a scoreless first period. Devine got his escape when he got his chances, but couldn’t hold the favorites on the mat and gave up takedowns later in the match. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
At 184 Marcus Coleman started the day with a dominating 10-2 win over Virginia’s Michael Battista. Coleman scored four takedowns to send the Cavalier to the backside. On Thursday night he faced off against #9 Zach Braunagel of Illinois. After some good flurries and trading escapes, the two went to sudden victory. After stuffing a few Coleman leg attacks, Braunagel countered a Coleman throw attempt by putting him to his back and getting the fall. Coleman will see #23 Travis Stefanik of Princeton on Friday morning. Win that and he will have another very winnable match against either #16 Geer (OSU) or #18 Assad (Iowa) to make the blood round. Then to become an All-American he would need to beat the quarterfinal loser of Trent Hidlay (NCST) and Trey Munoz (Oregon State) on Friday night.
Yonger Bastida won a tight match Thursday afternoon against Wisconsin’s Braxton Amos. Amos is a freestyle/Greco phenom, so that was a tough matchup for Bastida stylistically. Bastida’s highlight-worthy single leg defense to inside trip takedown gave him a 3-2 victory. Thursday night he saw Mizzou’s #7 Zach Elam for the third time this season. Elam got an escape and shut down Bastida’s offense to win 1-0. Unlike their previous matches, Bastida did not push the pace in neutral. He will likely be favored in every match on his path to the 197-pound podium. First up is Maryland’s #25 Jaron Smith. Then he would get the winner of #16 Kordell Norfleet of Arizona State and #18 Luke Stout of Princeton. His likely blood round opponent on Friday night is Ohio State’s #21 Gavin Hoffman.
At heavyweight Sam Schuyler was sent to the consolations by Northwestern’s #9 Lucas Davison. Davison won the first round meeting 4-0. On the backside Schuyler saw MAC runner-up Isaac Reid. In a back and forth match, both wrestlers had takedowns, but the final score ended 8-5 in favor of the Lock Haven Bald Eagle. Schuyler has one year of eligibility remaining. Coming to Iowa State as a transfer this season, he was a big question mark. He won big matches for the Cyclones this season with an exciting style for a heavyweight.
Thursday went about as bad as it could have for the Cyclone wrestlers. For the four remaining wrestlers, it will take three straight wins to reach the podium and six straight to place third. That will take a lot of grit. The first two of those matches will be in the morning session, which starts at 10 AM. The blood round starts at 7 PM. Let’s see what Friday has in store. I’m packing my nut cup.