Period of waiting means fine-tuning for Cyclones


Ethan Crane / Iowa State Daily

Michael Moreno holds his opposition to the ground Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open at Hilton Coliseum.

Dan Cole

With roughly three weeks until the Big 12 Duals and Championships, the ISU wrestling team is taking time in the wrestling room to perfect some things and build on the success it has had so far this season.

The Cyclones (9-4, 1-2 Big 12) have been red-hot during the past two weeks, winning three dual meets by a combined score of 92-22, including a 39-0 shellacking of Eastern Michigan on Sunday.

Iowa State picked up bonus points in almost 74 percent of the matches it won during the three-meet tear.

“I think we’ve been wrestling pretty well,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. “We’re excited about getting better. We’ve got three weeks to really peak before the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA tournament, so I think it’s an ideal time for us to be at our best.”

After the Cyclones finished last season with only four wins, few thought they would have as much success as they have had this year.

Since starting this season 0-2 and losing 32-3 at Iowa on Dec. 1, 2012, the Cyclones have bounced back from the worst season in program history and gone a long way toward restoring the stature of the program.

“To be where we are now is something pretty special,” said ISU redshirt sophomore Michael Moreno. “It’s important that people know we’re still Iowa State, we’re still going to strap on the head gear, we’re still going to lace up our shoes and we’re still going to scrap with you regardless. I feel like now that we finally have that instituted into our heads it’s starting to click.”

Now that things are clicking, the Cyclones want to keep it going in practice until Big 12s, which can be difficult with such a large gap between competition.

The primary focus is going to be on keeping wrestlers well-rested and healthy, Jackson said. He also wants to add a “razor-sharp” edge to their performance, which he said can be difficult while also trying to keep the wrestlers rested and healthy.

“That’s a fine line, because we do want to put them in some very, very tough situations from a training standpoint, from a conditioning standpoint, from a live-wrestling standpoint,” Jackson said.

As far as what the future holds, coaches and wrestlers are optimistic about the remainder of this season and beyond. The Big 12 Championships are going to be a good indication of how far Iowa State’s young wrestlers have actually come this year.

“I think we’re heading in an awesome direction,” said ISU redshirt senior Max Mayfield. “All the stuff our coaching staff is doing — with coach Jackson and Troy [Nickerson] and Travis [Paulson] — they’re helping us out in all of our individual areas and getting us where we need to go, so I see us going nowhere but up.”