Moreno pulls off upset as Cyclones finish second in Big 12 Duals


Redshirt sophomore Michael Moreno scraps with No. 3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State at the Big 12 Duals on March 8, 2013, at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Moreno upset Caldwell 5-2 to score the Cyclones’ first points in their 27-6 loss.

Jake Calhoun

STILLWATER, Okla. — Any doubts Michael Moreno had heading into the Big 12 Duals were thrown out the window on Friday.

The No. 19 redshirt sophomore provided the highlight of the day at the Big 12 Duals when he upset No. 3 Tyler Caldwell in the 165-pound match of Iowa State’s 27-6 dual loss to Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“Last match [against Caldwell], bottom was a big issue for me — I tried sitting out … trying to hip-heist out and I got caught, got put to my back and that sewed up the match for him,” Moreno said. “This time, I didn’t necessarily back-pressure or try to hip-heist out, I just kept pressuring back, pressuring back until we were in that crab-ride position.”

There was a mix of feelings regarding the new Big 12 Duals among the four teams competing considering the competition’s place one day before the conference tournament.

Oklahoma sat four of its ranked wrestlers in preparation for Saturday’s tournament that will determine automatic bids for nationals, whereas Oklahoma State and Iowa State wrestled most of its athletes with hopes of fine-tuning for it.

Moreno said he was glad he bought into the latter.

“In my opinion, I’m the one that benefited from that,” Moreno said. “Now I have a mental edge over Tyler. Bubby Graham, he saw me beat [Caldwell], he saw what I’m capable of — I’ve taken him to overtime before — it’s my time and he knows that.”

Overall, Iowa State (11-5, 3-3 Big 12) won seven matches by forfeit — two against Oklahoma and five against West Virginia — on the day while forfeiting none itself.

The Cyclones tallied two of the only three victories against the first-place Cowboys — Moreno’s upset of Caldwell at 165 pounds and Kyven Gadson’s 6-5 victory against Blake Rosholt at 197.

“Obviously we didn’t get the amount of wins that we thought we would get against Oklahoma State, but we did juggle our lineup a little bit for health reasons,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson.

Along with Moreno, Gadson was the only Cyclone to go 3-0 on the day to keep his spot as the favorite to win the 197-pound title at the tournament. Gadson was also wrestling with a heavy heart because of the situation with his father’s cancer that has taken a grim turn as of late.

“I think everybody realizes what Kyven’s dealing with at home, and that thing is real,” Jackson said. “It’s hard for him to get away from. I was happy that he did find some sanctuary, he did find some peace in his warmup and in that match against West Virginia. But that’s the only time that he’s having peace.”

The match Jackson was referring to is Gadson’s final match of the day, during which he pinned West Virginia’s Mark Colabucci in 0:47 while hardly breaking a sweat in the process.

Gadson was requested for interviews but was not made available to the media for personal reasons.

Moreno’s final match of the day — against West Virginia’s Ross Renzi — did not pan out the way Gadson’s did. Moreno beat Renzi 3-1 in a noticeably frustrating bout.

“I was frustrated because the kid, he typically doesn’t do a whole lot and he didn’t for the first portion and then he sensed me getting a little frustrated,” Moreno said. “There’s practice partners in our room that do the exact same thing, so I should be used to it.”

Overall, the real test will begin Saturday to determine how many Cyclones will be heading to Des Moines for the NCAA Championships in two weeks.

“I think we can be better,” Jackson said. “I think we’ve seen some signs of the way we have to wrestle to give ourselves a chance to perform tomorrow and down the road at the NCAA Championships.”

The tournament will begin at 5 p.m.