Personal rivalries highlight showdown with Cowboys


Alex McDaris

Redshirt junior Michael Moreno flips his Oklahoma State opponent Tyler Caldwell during the wrestling meet Feb. 3, 2013, at Hilton Coliseum.

Beau Berkley

A push to the head and a few “choice words” is all it took.

No. 18 Iowa State’s showdown with No. 9 Oklahoma State Jan. 24 will be headlined by several top-10 faceoffs with a personal history.

All-American and tenth-ranked Mike Moreno is set to take on No. 5 Tyler Caldwell, a three-time All-American, at 165 pounds. The two All-Americans have squared off twice in their careers, with Caldwell downing Moreno by an 8-2 decision in a 2013 dual and Moreno beating Caldwell at the Big 12 Duals by a 5-2 decision.

After Caldwell’s dual victory against Moreno, Caldwell sent a physical message that didn’t sit well with Moreno.

“Towards the end of the match, he kind of put his hand on the back of my head, kind of put his weight on me to get up and pushed off me a little bit,” Moreno said. “I’m usually a pretty soft-spoken person, I’m pretty opinionated, but usually don’t let it out very much, but that kind of got to me, and I got in his face a little bit. We exchanged some words, but that just kind of started it for me.”

A few weights up at 197 pounds, No. 2 Kyven Gadson faces a familiar foe in No. 10 Blake Rosholt. The two have wrestled four times in their careers, with Gadson besting Rosholt three times, but Rosholt notched his first victory against Gadson in the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament.

For Gadson, it was the end of last year’s Big 12 tournament that stuck with him.

“Last year, we wrestled four times, and the second and third time we wrestled was down in Stillwater, and there were some choice words and stuff said by the crowd at the end of the Big 12 Championship, so from that point on, there wasn’t a big bond between us,” Gadson said.

An NCAA qualifier in 2013, Tanner Weatherman will also be joining in on the top-10 tussles, taking on defending NCAA Champion, No. 2 Chris Perry. Weatherman – who is ranked No. 10 – said he is excited to get the opportunity to join in on the trend of upsets that have taken place this season.

At the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2, Penn State’s Ed Ruth, ranked No. 1 at 184, was defeated by freshman Gabe Dean of Cornell, ending the two-time national champion’s 84-match win streak. On Dec. 15, 2013, Ohio State’s two-time defending national champion Logan Stieber was defeated by freshmen Zain Retherford of Penn State.

Oklahoma State also suffered a setback Jan. 19 when it lost to No. 13 Pittsburgh by a score of 19-18.

“It’s good for the program, and it’s good for wrestling,” Weatherman said of the top-10 matches. “Especially if people can knock top guys off. I’m the underdog, Mike’s the underdog, and if you can knock one of these tops guys off like we’ve been seeing week in and week out. Ed Ruth goes down, Logan Stieber goes down, Tony Nelson goes down.

“There’s a ton of good guys going down and I see no reason why we can’t be the ones to upset these guys.”