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Wrestling: Riot Bowl Preview

Cyclones Host #17 Mountaineers For Senior Night

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

WHAT: #4 Iowa State vs. #17 West Virginia

WHERE and WHEN: 7 PM Friday, February 2nd @ Hilton Coliseum

HOW TO WATCH: ESPN+

HOW TO LISTEN: Varsity App or Cyclones.com

LIVE CHAT: WRNL Wrestling Discord — Whether a diehard wrestling fan or just a Cyclone interested in learning more about the sport, join us on Discord!

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Iowa State wrestling has hit the home stretch of their season. With just three duals remaining, the Cyclones won’t have to leave Hilton until the Big 12 Tournament in Tulsa. After a disappointing loss in Stillwater last weekend, Iowa State will look to bounce back against a building West Virginia team. The Mountaineers have climbed to #17 in the NWCA dual rankings. It is their first time higher than #20 since 2016 and their highest ranking since 2005. WVU coach Tim Flynn started the slow burn in Morgantown in 2018. Before that he spent 21 years at Edinboro which amazingly peaked with a 3rd place finish at the 2015 D1 NCAAs. Recruiting has picked up in recent years, and that shows with some of their young talent already producing. Their biggest recruits from each of the last two classes are both podium contenders already. WVU is led by All-American junior Peyton Hall at 165. The Mountaineers currently have five ranked wrestlers. Two of their unranked wrestlers are past NCAA qualifiers and another was the JuCo wrestler of the year last season.

Projected Matchups

Individual rankings from FloWrestling. Iowa State listed first.

125: #23 Kysen Terukina vs. Jett Strickenberger or Jace Schafer

  • Strickenberger was the JuCo national champ last season and pound for pound best wrestler in that division. He started off his season with wins over All-American Brandon Kaylor and Big 12 Champion Stevo Poulin. Then he went off the rails with an 0-2 performance at Midlands. A few weeks ago he was said to be moving up to 133, but those plans seem to have changed as he wrestled last weekend at 125.

133: #8 Evan Frost vs. Davin Rhoads

  • Rhoads shocked Zach Redding last year for one of his two wins on the season. Lightning won’t strike twice. Frost will score bonus.

141: #9 Anthony Echemendia vs. #11 Jordan Titus

  • This is where the West Virginia lineup hits its stride. Titus was an NCAA qualifier last season as a true freshman. He also majored Casey Swiderski. Titus has been lights out this season, winning Midlands. The only blemish on his record is a two point loss to OSU’s Jamison. Both these guys are unreal on their feet. Titus has a nasty duck under to compete with Echemendia’s singles and trips. I expect this one to be decided by a takedown.

149: #8 Casey Swiderski vs. #9 Ty Watters

  • Watters is a true freshman and has wasted no time climbing the rankings. He made the Midlands finals. But one of his few losses this season is to Willie McDougald, who Swiderski just handled in his return from injury. While only a true sophomore, Swiderski is wrestling with the maturity of a veteran. I like him to wrestle a solid match and send the Mountaineer back to the drawing board.

157: #10 Cody Chittum or Jason Kraisser vs. Caleb Dowling or Alex Hornfeck

  • Dresser said in his weekly presser that Chittum is progressing towards being able to wrestle. That’s good news, as recovery from concussions can be finicky. It looks like Caleb Dowling has won this spot from four year starter Hornfeck. I think he makes the NCAA tournament this year, but Chittum (and probably Kraisser) are a step or two ahead.

165: #2 David Carr vs. #9 Peyton Hall *KEY MATCHUP*

  • Hall was an All-American in 2022, but injuries stopped him from repeating last season. Both these guys are wrestling fantastic right now. Carr left no doubt against #3 Izzak Olejnik. After taking a pair of uncharacteristic losses in November, Hall looks as good as ever. Two weeks ago he also beat Olejnik and last week he had a 6-1 lead on #1 Keegan O’Toole before eventually falling a point short of the upset. Carr has won both their meetings, but the 3-1 match at Big 12s last season somehow felt even closer than that. Carr will need to be on his A-game to get the win on Senior Night.

174: #28 MJ Gaitan vs. #21 Brody Conley or Jack Blumer

  • After some fantastic results on last weekend’s road trip, MJ Gaitan could add to his resume Friday. Like Gaitan, Conley is a redshirt freshman who almost got his redshirt pulled last season. But he hasn’t wrestled since Midlands. Blumer is a 165 that has bumped up in relief.

184: #8 Will Feldkamp or Tate Naaktgeboren vs. #28 Dennis Robin

  • Feldkamp needs a get-right win in a big way after his loss to #2 Dustin Plott last Saturday. Robin was an NCAA qualifier in 2022, but didn’t win the spot last year. This year he’s got some quality wins, and in 2022 he took the air out of Hilton by pinning Joel Devine in a cradle. I think 7th year-er Feldkamp puts on a show for the Cyclone faithful on Senior Night.

197: #29 Julien Broderson vs. Austin Cooley

  • Last season Cooley got Yonger Bastida’s attention with an early takedown. He’d go on to get majored, but did qualify for the NCAA tournament. He hasn’t really had a bad season this year, but much like Broderson he doesn’t have a signature win. Both wrestlers will want this match for NCAA bid implications.

285: #3 Yonger Bastida vs. Michael Wolfgram

  • Wolfgram isn’t in the top 6 in the country and that’s all you need to know about whether he will be competitive with Yonger Bastida. That’s not to say he’s a slouch. Wolfgram has spent tons of time in the rankings in his career and is a two time NCAA qualifier for the Mountaineers.

Prediction

Iowa State 31, West Virginia 3

Its great that West Virginia is at a point where there will be some really, really fun matches in this one. Three are truly of national relevance. Last season West Virginia set a program attendance record when Iowa State came to town. They gave those fans a show, winning some swing matches and pulling some upsets. Their path to stealing this dual is slim, but does exist. It would require Iowa State to lose a bunch of matches they are at least slightly favored in. More often than not this season the Cyclones have found a way to win those matches. Give me the Clones. Big.