ISU wrestling draws Kent State in first round of dual tournament


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt junior Michael Moreno, 165 pounds, prepares to grapple with his opponent Jan. 12 at Hilton Coliseum. Moreno won by major decision. Iowa State lost the dual to Oklahoma, 27-11.

Beau Berkley

In just about a month, the Big 12 wrestling championships will have concluded and ISU wrestling coach Kevin Jackson and select members of his squad will have their eyes on a different prize: an NCAA championship.

Back in the present, however, a dual tournament stocked with 10 ranked teams, 62 ranked individuals and 24 All-Americans are on the schedule for this weekend.

Iowa State will take a business trip to Columbus, Ohio on Sunday and Monday to compete in the 2014 NWCA National Duals for the first time since 2012. Joining in on the mat-mayhem is Big 12 foe No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 1 ranked Minnesota, who will travel to Ames on Feb. 23 to round out the regular season.

The 14 teams at the tournament square off in traditional duals with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser going to the consolation rounds. In the first round, Iowa State will take on Kent State with the winner advancing to take on the victor between No. 13 Ohio State and Hofstra.

Kent State is 10-9 overall on the season with a marquee win against No. 10 Michigan on Nov. 16 at the Eastern Michigan Duals.

The Golden Flashes are fresh off of a 19-18 loss against Northern Iowa, something they share with Iowa State, who dropped a 24-13 dual to the Panthers for the first time in 10 years.

Coming off of the loss to Northern Iowa, All-American Mike Moreno is ready to get off to a good start against Kent State.

“They had a good match with UNI, so we just need to go out and have a solid first round and solid dual and just re-emphasize what we have been talking about for the last couple of weeks,” Moreno said. “We just need to go out there and stay tough.”

With the field of talent that is littered across the bracket, coming out strong against Kent State might be key in the tournament setting. In order to get to the finals, Iowa State may potentially go up against No. 13 Ohio State and No. 1 Minnesota.

“Every dual meet it is really important [to start strong] and I think you’ve seen that through the season, but especially in this type of setting, I think they’re starting at 125 lbs,” Jackson said. “Obviously your lighter weight guys are the ones who are losing abunch of weight, so by this time of year, they have to have the control to come out quick.”

Iowa State will take on Kent State at 12 p.m. Sunday in the first round of the NWCA Nationals Duals.