Weatherspoon, Gadson claim Big 12 championship titles


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt freshman Lelund Weatherspoon attempts to make Drexel’s Alex DeCiantis fall to the floor in their 174-pound matchup on Nov. 7 at Hilton Coliseum. Weatherspoon won the battle 17-6 with a riding time of 3:09. Cyclones went on to victory in the duel, winning 24-16.

Ryan Young

When Lelund Weatherspoon walked into McCasland Fieldhouse in Norman, Okla., on March 8, he had just one goal: win a conference championship.

And by the time it was over, he was one of two Cyclones to walk away with a title, accomplishing what he set out to do.

“It all worked out today, and I was happy to get the two wins,” Weatherspoon said in news release. “This is what I wanted today. I told the guys today on the bus that I was going to go out there, wrestle hard and get this title today. Iowa State has rich history, and it’s amazing to have my name stamped in the record books.”

After dropping three early points to Oklahoma State’s Nolan Boyd, Weatherspoon had to find a way to take control. After slowly fighting his way back, Weatherspoon found himself down 3-2 with just 20 seconds left. That’s when he made his move.

Weatherspoon was able to come up with a takedown, sealing his first career Big 12 title, and earning himself a bid to the NCAA tournament.

“I thought we ended the tournament well,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson in the release. “Obviously getting two champs is a positive. It’s not easy to win a Big 12 title.”

No. 1 Kyven Gadson came into the tournament looking to win his second consecutive Big 12 title, and he did just that. However, Gadson’s victory didn’t come without a scare.

Gadson took on Oklahoma’s Travis Rutt in the finals at 197 pounds. By the end of regulation, the score remained tied, forcing the wrestlers into overtime.

By the end of the second tiebreak period, a winner finally emerged. Gadson came out on top, defeating Rutt 4-3.

“It’s nice to get that second Big 12 title,” Gadson said in the release. “It doesn’t really mean that much though unless I cap the season off with an NCAA title. Potentially having the No. 1 seed in my bracket at [the NCAA tournament] will be nice, but I need to wrestle like it.”

Along with Gadson and Weatherspoon, at least three other Cyclones will be joining them at the NCAA tournament. Tanner Weatherman, Gabe Moreno and Mike Moreno all earned automatic bids with their performances last weekend.

Gabe, who had an outside shot of qualifying for the NCAA tournament before last weekend, may have surprised quite a few people. The redshirt freshman upset the No. 1-seeded Colin Johnston, earning his spot in the finals and the NCAA tournament.

Gabe then went on to fall to Oklahoma State’s Anthony Collica 4-2 in the finals. Despite the loss, Jackson was still impressed.

“Gabe knew it was do or die today,” Jackson said. “He knew that he needed to win at least one match today to qualify. We spent a lot of time the past few weeks on our baseline positions and defending the leg attacks. It’s a huge credit he stayed locked in and was willing to listen. I’m really happy for him.”

Those Cyclones who qualified will compete at the NCAA Championships beginning Mar. 20 in Oklahoma City.