Iowa State wrestling finished 2023 with a bang Monday, defeating #3 Cornell, #15 Pitt, and Little Rock to win their bracket at Collegiate Duals. The Cyclones won 21 of 30 contested matches despite being without two starters — #7 Casey Swiderski and #30 Julien Broderson.
The rematch of last year’s Instant Classic dual between Iowa State and Cornell failed to live up to the hype. In a blatant tactic to protect seeds for the NCAA tournament, the Big Red sent out backups at 125, 133, 157 and 165 — all originally slated to be great matchups. Instead of seeing the nation’s best compete, wrestling fans who shelled out for yet another streaming service were left with an anticlimactic dual. It's an embarrassment to the sport that Cornell can punt on a premier meet like this with virtually no consequences. I don’t have the answers on how to stop ducking like this, but at some point tournament organizers will stop giving prime-time opportunities to teams like Cornell. Nothing unites wrestling media like not getting to see the matches they wanted to.
Was optimistic when we had such a high turnout of highly ranked wrestlers at CKLV. Back to reality.— Earl Smith (@EarlBSmith20) December 19, 2023
In most sports (that are taken seriously), throwing games is frowned upon.— Christian Pyles (@CPyles8) December 19, 2023
Before anyone knew what the rest of the meet would entail, Iowa State got off to a rocky start against the Big Red. Kysen Terukina gave up the first two takedowns, but late with 40 seconds remaining found himself in the lead. Then Greg Diakomihalis hit a Feldkamp-esque elevator and stuck Terukina to steal the match and bonus points. At 133 Evan Frost avoided a letdown match against Ethan Qureshi, picking up a 12-5 win. Anthony Echemendia duplicated his CKLV performance with another major decision win over #12 Vince Cornella. At 149 it was Zach Redding bumping up to fill in for Casey Swiderski. Redding sealed his second win of the day with a late takedown to beat Ethan Fernandez 5-1. Going back to 2021 Redding has always been willing to jump in the lineup wherever needed and let it rip. And people in the wrestling world are noticing.
Redding's a dawg. Gotta love a guy that does anything the coach asks.— MatScouts (@MatScouts1) December 19, 2023
Cody Chittum capped off his 3-0 day at 157 with a 20-6 major over Cole Handlovic which featured 15 third period points for the freshman. At 165 Cornell’s Julian Ramirez did not take the for the rubber match against David Carr. Frankly its irresponsible to send Benny Rogers out there against a pissed off David Carr who was hellbent on revenge. Carr took out his frustrations with a first period pin after a physical three minutes.
MJ Gaitan won a wild 10-7 bout at 174 over Benny Baker. Both wrestlers scored 6 point moves in the first period, but Gaitan’s takedown on the edge of the mat with a minute left gave him the victory. Will Feldkamp fell to returning NCAA 3rd Place Chris Foca at 184. Feldkamp scored 5 points in the third period, but Foca took the match 8-7 with a riding time point. It was a new face for the Cyclones at 197.
True freshman Mcrae Hagarty toed the line against All-American Jacob Cardenas. Hagarty put together a promising first period, stuffing Cardenas’s shots. But Cardenas ended the tied match early in the second period by pinning Hagarty in a crosswrist tilt. At heavyweight Yonger Bastida capped off yet another dual vicotry over Cornell with a win over Lewis Fernandes. He opened scoring with a beautiful fireman’s carry.
He also scored on a single leg in the first period. Fernandes rode out Bastida in the second and a scoreless third made it 6-3. Iowa State won the dual 26-15. While it didn’t have the excitement of their previous meeting, this edition also provided a patented coaching move. 2022 gave us the Dresser Triple Bump. 2023 gave us the Grey Duck.
Iowa State started the day with a 21-14 win over #15 Pitt. Unlike their silver spoon neighbors to the north, the Panthers did not hold anyone out. Kysen Terukina got back in the win column with a 6-4 decision over an improved Colton Camacho. It was a sick over-under throw by that gave him the lead in the third period. Evan Frost won a battle of ranked redshirt freshmen 9-6 in sudden victory over Vince Santaniello. Frost’s last-second escape tied the match and his single-leg finish won it. At 141 Anthony Echemendia started his impressive day by majoring All-American Cole Matthews. Echemendia used a pair of incredible body locks to win 12-3.
— Iowa State Wrestling (@CycloneWR) December 18, 2023
No. 14 Anthony Echemendia takes out No. 15 Cole Matthews by major decision, 12-3!
ISU 10, PITT 0
Up at 149 Zach Redding dropped an 8-4 match to top 20 Finn Solomon. Cody Chittum put 13 points on the board in his major decision win over Jared Keslar. David Carr dismantled #8 Holden Heller in a methodical 9-1 win. He looked determined and focused from start to finish. For the second time in two years Pitt’s Luca Augustine squeaked out a close win over MJ Gaitan. I’m looking forward to round three win Pitt comes to Hilton Coliseum. That was the start of Iowa State’s worst stretch of the day. Reece Heller had all the answers for #3 Will Feldkamp, earning a surprising 14-6 major decision. Iowa City Regina product Rowan Udell got the match for the Cyclones at 197. He fell 10-2 to #14 Mac Stout. Yonger Bastida added another top-ten win to his resume by handing #8 Dayton Pitzer a 6-3 loss.
Iowa State’s dual against upstart Little Rock featured some good scraps as well. Ethan Perryman saw his first dual action of the year and earned a 10-9 win. Bluechip recruit Nasir Bailey handed Cyclone Evan Frost just his second loss of the season in quick fashion. The Trojan used a series of wrist tilts to earn a first-period tech fall. Better to have that vulnerability exposed now than in March. Echemendia and Redding posted back-to-back major decisions. Cody Chittum got a nice ranked win over Matt Bianchi at 157 in a VERY physical match. Connor Euton won a 10-7 match in his dual debut. I’m excited about his future. Gaitan and Bastida posted major decisions, while Feldkamp added a pin. The only hiccup in the back half of the dual came at 197 where Caleb Helgeson bumped up to take on #4 Stephen Little and was dealt a 14-5 loss. No shame in that.
Iowa State is back in action after the new year. January 6th they take on future conference foe #23 Arizona State. January 7th they continue their road trip out west against Big 12 affiliate member Cal Baptist. The conference dual season is just around the corner.