ISU wrestling eyes sixth win before break

Beau Berkley

The final days of the first semester are coming to a close and the ISU wrestling team can finally take a breath and relax. Well, almost.

After an eighth-place finish at the Cliff Keen Invitational, a tournament touting 12 teams ranked in the top 25, Iowa State (5-1, 1-0 Big 12) will trek to Fargo, N.D. on Saturday to take on North Dakota State, a program that began competing at the Division 1 level in 2007. The former Division 2 power will not be intimidated, however, as they have already faced stiff competition this season.

The Bison (2-2) began the season on the outskirts of the top 25 and have taken on two ranked teams so far this season. They dropped a 23-9 dual against then-No. 13 Missouri and a 29-12 dual to then-No. 17 Northern Iowa.

“Coach mentioned that if we don’t stay concentrated, these guys can get us,” 165-pounder Michael Moreno said of North Dakota State. “They’re not a bad team, and we need to stay focused. He’s absolutely right, and a win here is going to be huge for us moving forward.”

The dual against North Dakota State is the last one before winter break, when the Cyclones will have a few days to rest before the Southern Scuffle, a tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The first semester has been encouraging for Iowa State. A win against the Bison would put the Cyclones at 6-1, which is two wins better than last year’s record of 4-3 through the first seven duals.

“Going 6-1 after the first semester and going into break is pretty good,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. “You want to use this to springboard into the [Southern] Scuffle and the second half of the season.”

Redshirt junior Luke Goettl said that as long as everyone in the lineup takes care of their business, the Cyclones will be fine.

“Ten matches, 10 percent; you take care of your 10 percent, we will win,” Goettl said. “Score bonus points when we can, fight hard. They’re going to come and scrap against us, everyone does. It’s college wrestling and it’s always a grind.”

The dual against North Dakota State will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo, N.D.