Hall makes wrestling debut for the Cyclones, Meeks to redshirt

Ryan Young

Last weekend marked the debut for a newcomer to the ISU wrestling team, redshirt freshman Earl Hall.

Hall made his debut for the Cyclones in Friday’s dual against West Virginia, taking an 11-8 victory at 125 pounds.

“It was pretty exciting on Friday,” Hall said. “I probably got a little over excited. I wish I would have composed myself a little bit more, but it was exciting. I had a good time.”

Hall then competed Saturday at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. He won three straight matches, making it to the semifinals.

In the semifinal match, Hall lost in overtime to Isaac Andrade of South Dakota State 7-5, which pushed him to the consolation bracket.

“I think he’s pretty disappointed with the tournament,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. “He left three matches hanging in the balance. Two went his way, but the third swung the other way. But that’s not going to happen to him anymore.

“Yesterday was his first collegiate match in a couple years. I think he’s really starting to make the connection to collegiate style wrestling.”

Hall ended up winning his way back in the consolation match, taking third at the 125-pound weight class.

Even though he didn’t come away from the tournament with a title, Hall is still content with his debut weekend.

“I always want to go out there and win, but I didn’t,” Hall said. “I thought about it a lot afterwards on Saturday and Sunday, but I know what I have to do. I just need to get out there and wrestle.”

Also making his season debut last weekend for Iowa State was sophomore John Meeks.

Meeks, who finished his freshman season at Iowa State with an overall record of 13-13, was the only true freshman in the lineup last season. He also took third at the Big 12 Championships.

However, Meeks won’t be competing for the Cyclones this season, as he was recently granted a redshirt from the coaches.

“He deserves a redshirt year. He deserves to have the opportunity to build up to a full fledged 141-pounder.” Jackson said. “I think realistically when you look at our program, I think our team should be in a power position to make a run, and we want him to be able to make an impact. I think he deserved one last year, but we were unable to give it to him, so this will be good for him.”

Meeks was able to compete in the Cyclone Open last weekend, however; and competed unattached, and made a deep run into the 141-pounder bracket.

Meeks fell to No. 5 Chris Dardanes, an All-American from Minnesota, in the semifinals 9-3. Dardanes went on to win the weight class, beating Iowa State’s Gabe Moreno in the finals.

“I’m never happy with a loss,” Meeks said. “It’s a little disappointing, but I know I can do better. I came back and got third, so I feel okay after the tournament.”

And while Meek’s won’t see action in Iowa State’s lineup this season, he is just looking for improvement.

“I think it’s a good decision for me,” Meeks said about redshirting. “I think we all rushed it last season and got excited, and we weren’t happy with the result. The most important thing now is just to improve and get more comfortable with wrestling.”