Missing two starters didn’t stop Iowa State from getting a decisive 29-11 win over a scrappy West Virginia team. Casey Swiderski continues to look like an All-American. David Carr put on a show. And MJ Gaitan had the move of the night.
At 125 Kysen Terukina took on 2023 JuCo Wrestler of the Year Jett Strickenberger. The two traded takedowns at the end of the first and second periods. Strickenberger took the lead with a takedown in the third period. Trailing by with a minute left in the match Terukina got an escape and then put Strickenberger on his back in a scramble to win the match. Terukina’s offense has been trending in the right direction and it showed in the 10-7 win.
Evan Frost put on a clinic at 133. A pair of takedowns and a boatload of back points gave him a 17-1 tech fall win over Mason Mills. He got to his wing and crosswrist tilt series at will. Cyclone fans saw a new face at 141. Sophomore Sam Hrabovsky stepped in for an injured Anthony Echemendia to take on top ten Jordan Titus. Hrabovsky got to legs a few times but Titus’s stingy defense kept him from scoring. Titus got the Mountaineers on the board with an 11-3 major decision.
149 was a top ten matchup between Casey Swiderski and WVU true freshman Ty Watters. The match started with two scoreless periods on their feet. Watters took a 4-0 lead with an escape and takedown to start the third period. Swiderski was out quick and pushed the pace. With just 15 seconds left he collected Watters’s ankles on the edge of that mat to tie the match. After a rideout they went to sudden victory. Swiderski kept the pressure on the lanky Mountaineer, finishing a single leg for the 7-4 win!
Cody Chittum was back in the lineup, taking on Caleb Dowling in the 157 match. After a slow start the freshman got his offense going. A takedown late in the third gave him a 13-5 major decision.
165 was another featured matchup. David Carr took on WVU’s Peyton Hall in a battle of All-Americans. Carr set the tone with blast double to start the match. He nearly had nearfall, but Hall grabbed the edge of the mat. Carr’s top wrestling stymied Hall’s chance to get back into the match. He earned the decisive 10-5 senior night victory.
In a night that saw Swiderski and Carr get top ten wins, it was MJ Gaitan that stole the show. Taking on a top 20 Brody Conley, Gaitan ended the match with a pin in just 38 seconds. Conley tried to peak through Gaitan’s front headlock and the Cyclone ripped a headlock to send him to his back. Hilton was fired up. The coaching staff was fired up. The team was fired up. And MJ Gaitan was fired up. Gaitan got his third straight win over a ranked opponent and Wesley Winterink got the sickest wrestling photo I’ve seen in a long time.
Will Feldkamp was out with a shoulder injury at 184. Next man up for the Cyclones was true freshman Tate Naaktgeboren. Naaktgeboren got the opening takedown, but it was all Dennis Robin after that. A cradle at the end gave Robin the 15-5 win. Julien Broderson dropped his 197 match against returning NCAA qualifier Austin Cooley by a score of 10-4.
Yonger Bastida closed the night with a 23-8 tech fall win over Michael Wolfgram. It was Wolfgram who scored the opening takedown — only the second one Bastida has given up all season — but Bastida flipped a switch. From that point on it looked like drilling for the Cyclone heavyweight.
Iowa State won the dual 29-11. The Cyclones are on the mats in Hilton next on Super Bowl Sunday against UNI. What a perfect lead into four hours of Brock Purdy coverage.