ISU wrestling set to begin postseason action at Big 12 Championships


Michael Moreno tries to gain the upper hand over his opponent during his match in the 165 weight class. Moreno won by decision with a score of 7-3. Iowa State was unsuccessful in pulling ahead of Minnesota and fell with a final of 27-12. 

Beau Berkley

The fact that there are only four teams at the Big 12 wrestling tournament doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

The 2014 Big 12 Championships take place March 8 in Norman, Okla., and will feature the four Big 12 universities that have wrestling teams.

Three No. 1 ranked wrestlers will be competing at their respective weight classes, including Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson at 197 pounds. Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State is ranked No. 1 at 157 pounds, and undefeated 174-pounder Andrew Howe from Oklahoma joins the two with a No. 1 ranking.

In 2013, Oklahoma State cruised to a team victory in dominating fashion with a final team score of 118.5 points with Iowa State’s 74 team points coming the closest. The defending champions have won 45 conference titles leading up to the 2014 tournament.

No. 15 Iowa State will take a roster with a few wrestlers that have seen postseason action and a few that haven’t.

“I feel like it’s just another tournament, and you just got to go out there and wrestle,” said 125-pounder Earl Hall. “Except this time, it’s kind of like do or die.”

Earlier in the season, Hall defeated West Virginia’s Cory Stainbrook by an 11-8 decision to notch his first victory as a Cyclone. Hall has also lost to Oklahoma State’s Eddie Klimara twice, with one loss coming in sudden victory.

“I just got to take time with my takedowns,” Hall said of what he can do differently. “Looking back on it, I got in on him twice in overtime and just didn’t finish my takedown.”

Both teams out of the state of Oklahoma are ranked in the top ten.

Mike Moreno, one of two All-Americans for Iowa State, said the team atmosphere in the wrestling room has become stronger in the past weeks even though only 10 members of the squad will be seeing action from here on out.

“We have a lot of guys that are probably pretty broken up that they don’t have a starting position and we’ve had some battles for spots, but they’re still here day-in and day-out helping us get better and train,” Moreno said. “Last week was a meat grinder of a week and we broke our bodies down to build them back up, and no one was complaining.

“People want to get better, and people want to do well.”

The doors at the McCasland Field House will open at 1:30 p.m. March 8 with semifinal matches beginning at 3 p.m. Consolation matches begin at 5 p.m. and the championship round will start at 7 p.m.