Three earn All-America honors at NCAAs


Redshirt sophomore Michael Moreno is declared the winner after pinning Ohio State’s Mark Martin in the 165-pound wrestlebacks at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Moreno pinned Martin in 4:27.

Jake Calhoun

DES MOINES — Even when all momentum was supposedly lost, three Cyclones managed to find their respective ways to the podium.

Michael Moreno (165 pounds), Kyven Gadson (197) and Matt Gibson (Hwt) all earned All-America honors on the evening of the second day of the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines. It is the first time Iowa State has had an All-American in wrestling after failing to place at last year’s national tournament.

“This time last year I was sitting in the stands [with] four wins on the entire year,” Moreno said while still catching his breath after defeating Michigan’s Taylor Massa by 17-2 technical fall. “It’s just nice to turn it around. If I didn’t get on the stand, then the turnaround: What was it for? I may as well have won four matches again.”

Moreno caught fire on Friday, March 22, 2013, pinning his first two opponents before defeating the No. 12-seeded Massa to attain All-America status. His victory against No. 8-seeded Nick Sulzer (Virginia) assured him at least sixth place or better in Saturday’s competition.

“You’ve got to stay tough,” Moreno said. “Losing in that early round, you’ve got to come back — that’s what they call the ‘blood round.’ It comes down to who wants it more, who’s tougher.”

At the beginning of the day, redshirt freshman Tanner Weatherman was in the 174-pound quarterfinals as the only ISU wrestler alive in the championship bracket.

A 13-5 major decision loss to No. 2 Matt Brown of Penn State, who will wrestle in the title match Saturday night, dropped Weatherman to the wrestlebacks, where he was then eliminated.

Gadson continued his stand at 197 pounds with a heavy heart, winning four matches in the wrestlebacks while slapping the mat before each match as a tribute to his recently deceased father.

There was some concern about whether Gadson would even reach that point after Session III, the latter half of which he held on to win a 4-3 decision against Bloomsburg’s Richard Perry.

“I don’t even know how he’s doing what he’s doing personally … I’ve never had to deal with a situation like he’s dealing with,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson after Session III. “I do think he went to a mentality of ‘just winning’ and when you just wrestle to win, you end up having tough, tough matches and that’s what happened.”

In Session IV, Gadson defeated Penn’s Micah Burak, the No. 8 seed, with a last-second takedown to reach All-America status before turning it around to upset No. 4-seed Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) by 12-4 major decision.

Gadson will wrestle No. 3 Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh in the semifinals of the wrestlebacks on Saturday and cannot place worse than sixth at 197 pounds.

Gadson and Moreno are also the first ISU All-Americans to have fathers who were also All-Americans for Iowa State. Mike Moreno placed seventh at 134 pounds in 1992 and Willie Gadson placed third in 1975 and sixth in 1976, both at 177 pounds.

Gibson reached a personal milestone of his own en route to achieving All-America status, pinning No. 8-seeded Mike McClure (Michigan State) in the first period in the wrestlebacks to advance. McClure beat Gibson by 9-1 major decision in a dual meet earlier this season.

“I think I put too much pressure on myself sometimes,” Gibson said. “This whole weekend I just wanted to go out there and just wrestle and … I was really happy with the results.”

A 5-point move to counter a high-crotch shot by J.T. Felix (Boise State) in the fifth round of the wrestlebacks gave Gibson enough momentum to earn bonus points along with All-America status.

No. 10-seeded Jarod Trice (Central Michigan) defeated Gibson in the quarterfinals, sinking him to the seventh-place match for Saturday.

After falling as far as 19th place in the team standings during Session III, Iowa State finished in eighth place after four sessions with three wrestlers still able to score team points.

Oregon State, which is tied with Iowa State with 41 team points, also has three wrestlers alive in the consolations.

“We’re happy, but we’re not content,” Gibson said. “We know that we still have another level that we could get to. We know that we have a lot of competent guys on the team and we know that we’ll get there one day, we’ll get there soon. But this is good progress.”