Gadson, Cyclones seek success at upcoming Big 12s


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson grapples with University of Iowa’s Nathan Borak during their 197-pound match at the meet Saturday, Dec. 1, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Jake Calhoun

From here on out, Kyven Gadson is not feeling any pressure.

The redshirt sophomore 197-pounder may be the wrestler to beat heading into this weekend’s Big 12 Championships, but the bull’s-eye on his head might as well be no bigger than his headgear.

“I really don’t feel any pressure now — it’s fun again,” Gadson said. “I’m really not worried about any of it; there’s bigger things.”

In the grit of a 20-2 season with a 7-2 mark against ranked foes, Gadson will likely be the No. 1 seed at 197 pounds at this year’s Big 12 tournament in Stillwater, Okla.

Gadson will be making his first appearance at a Big 12 meet after sitting out for two seasons due to injuries.

“I was definitely not the most confident person when I was [shaken] up and whatnot with the injuries,” Gadson said. “I guess you kind of mature a little bit and you kind of just grow.”

Even though the Cyclones (9-4, 1-2 Big 12) experienced success in the second half of their season — garnering a 9-2 dual meet record since their 32-3 loss to Iowa on Dec. 1, 2012 — ISU coach Kevin Jackson said it’s more about the individuals now with the NCAA Championships just around the corner.

“It really shows the direct correlation between real life and wrestling — how it’s intertwined,” Jackson said. “Right now, these guys are going to win or lose based on what they do in their matches and it’s more so than any other sport.

“This is an individual sport, so they’re going to be determining their success right now on the mat and it’s going to be about how they embrace that situation.”

Heavyweight Matt Gibson will embrace this weekend as the returning Big 12 champion, with the determination to keep that title. The key to Gibson’s Big 12 title last season was the absence of Oklahoma State’s Alan Gelogaev, who was injured before Big 12s.

Gelogaev, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, is 3-0 all time against Gibson by a combined score of 28-9 dating back to last season.

“I wrestled him enough times to where I think I deserve this win,” Gibson said. “I think I worked hard enough and I think I deserve to be a repeat Big 12 champion.”

If Gibson takes first place at heavyweight, he will earn the one-and-only Big 12 bid for the NCAA Championships. If Gibson takes second, he would need to receive an at-large bid, which would require him to meet the NCAA’s criteria to do so.

The new Big 12 Duals, which will be held March 8, will likely crystallize the seedings for the March 9 Big 12 tournament.

Even though most of the seeds can be easily projected, one weight class that is not as clear is 184 pounds. 

Iowa State’s Boaz Beard defeated Oklahoma State’s Chris Chionuma during the regular season, but is ranked below Chionuma by four spots in the latest InterMat poll.

“I think it is [tough to beat someone twice], especially if it’s a good kid,” Beard said. “It’s harder to beat a good kid multiple times in a row. 

“It’s definitely doable and it’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

Other ISU wrestlers projected to earn automatic bids to the NCAAs include Michael Moreno (165 pounds) and Tanner Weatherman (174).

Iowa State will have three duals on March 8 before the Big 12 tournament begins on March 9.