Cyclone Open serves as learning experience for young wrestlers


Michael Moreno claims the 165-pound title at the 2012 Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Hilton Coliseum.

Maddy Arnold

Thirty-two Cyclone wrestlers, 11 top-five finishes and three champions.

The ISU wrestling team started its season with a successful day at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Saturday.

More than 250 wrestlers competed from more than 10 different schools around the country in Iowa State’s only home tournament of the season.

“I feel pretty good,” said ISU head coach Kevin Jackson. “I mean I think there were some good things that we’ve seen out of a lot of our kids. There are some things that we definitely need to improve on out of a few of them.

“But all in all, it’s a good way to start the season.”

Junior Cole Shafer (197 pounds) and sophomores Mikey England (174) and Michael Moreno (165) were Iowa State’s three champs in their respective weight classes.

“I knew this was a tournament where I wanted to come out and really work on the stuff I know I’m good at,” Moreno said. “I had a rough year last year; I had a big chip on my shoulder.”

The Cyclone Open was the first time Iowa State competed since its disappointing season last year. The Cyclones won four of their 17 dual meets in the 2011-12 season while also finishing 35th at the NCAA Championships, a program-worst.

ISU freshmen Gabe Moreno and John Meeks made their collegiate debut wrestling unattached. Moreno finished fourth at 149 pounds while Meeks came in second at 133.

Whether or not Meeks, who lost to fourth-ranked Joe Colon of Northern Iowa in the 133-pound finals, will redshirt this season has yet to be determined.

“I think [Meeks] showed he could compete at the national level; the kid he lost to was ranked fourth in the country,” Jackson said. “He’s capable.”

Iowa State hopes to use its momentum from the Cyclone Open for the rest of the regular season.

“It lets us know what we need to work on,” England said. “It gives some guys a confidence boost going into the season. Maybe motivate them a little bit; maybe just let them know where they’re at.”

Jackson said he wants to use the Cyclone Open as a learning experience before the rest of the season, with the team’s next match approaching in the dual meet against Virginia’s Old Dominion University on Nov. 25.

“It gives us more information to go back in on Monday and prepare for Old Dominion,” Jackson said. “It told us where are condition level is at; what we need to improve technically and tactically.”