On Thursday afternoon Iowa State Wrestling tweeted out its list of planned opponents for the upcoming season. While a few details are missing (exact dates and locations), it’s enough to know the competition will be leveled up compared to last season. Iowa State Wrestling was 4th in the nation in average attendance last season despite a lackluster home schedule. There will without a doubt be better meets in Hilton Coliseum this year, so scoop up those season tickets when they become available. If 1) the home schedule plays out how I think it will and 2) the quality of wrestling continues to improve how I think it will, it would be no surprise to see Iowa State break into the top 3 in the nation in attendance — right where it should be.
Big 12 Duals
-Cal Baptist, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UNI, Utah Valley, West Virginia, Wyoming
The Cyclones will start Big 12 action against brand new Big 12 wrestling member Cal Baptist, who they beat 39-0 in Hilton last November. The next four Big 12 opponents are the four most prestigious and were all away meets last season. That makes me think they will be in Ames. Last year’s dual against Utah Valley was canceled, so it’s hard to say where that will be held. The West Virginia dual will likely be in Morgantown. It appears Wyoming, who will be strong again this season, will be Senior Day.
The big takeaway here — it is likely Iowa State gets to host fantastic, exciting dual meets like the ones in Stillwater, Cedar Falls, and Columbia last season.
-Arizona State, Grand View, Illinois, Iowa, Pitt
Arizona State is back on the schedule after last year’s meet was canceled. They’ve proven to be the premier team west of the Rockies recently, placing 4th at NCAAs the past two seasons. I’m guessing this will be an early-season road trip paired with the Cal Baptist meet. Grand View is an NAIA dynasty who wrestles the toughest competition that will schedule them. My gut says that dual will take place in conjunction with Illinois coming to town. For being so close, it's shocking how little these teams wrestle. They recently added Illini wrestling legend Isaiah Martinez to the coaching staff. Illinois is a solid Big Ten team that will be fun to wrestle. Iowa hosts this year’s CyHawk dual, which is typically the first weekend in December. Later in the season, the Cyclones will see the Pitt Panthers. They are always talented and have risen in prestige along with ACC wrestling over the past few years. This will be a quality break in the conference schedule. I’m guessing it will be on the road.
The big takeaway here — the schedule got tougher and a LOT more fun. 2021’s non-con slate was an artifact of 2020. Now middling JUCO and NAIA teams are replaced with a local NAIA power and very fun power conference matchups.
-Battle in the River City, Harold Nichols Cyclone Open, Collegiate Wrestling Duals, Southern Scuffle
Tournaments are making a welcome return to Iowa State’s schedule. After some disappointing rounds at the Big 12 Tournament and NCAAs, it was easy to wonder if part of the reason was the lack of strong in-season tournaments. Battle in the River City appears to be a new early-season event. There are no details of any kind posted anywhere on the internet besides this graphic. So yeah, that’s what we know about that. The Harold Nichols Cyclone Open is an early-season staple. It wasn’t long ago that numerous national champions would compete in this, but recently Iowa State has held its best out. We’ll see what this year brings. The inaugural Collegiate Wrestling Duals were held just before Christmas last year. It was a loaded holiday tournament in Florida that featured Penn State, Iowa, NC State, Virginia Tech, Cornell, and more. Each squad wrestled three meets. This year’s teams have not been announced. UT-Chattanooga’s Southern Scuffle is one of the premier in-season tournaments every year. Iowa State has competed in the past — this is where Kyven Gadson took his only loss of his senior season. It will test the veteran wrestlers and give newcomers a chance to climb up the rankings.
The big takeaway here — the Cyclones will be battle-tested come March.