Ward, Spangler return as Cyclones split duals


Jerome Ward fights to escape his opponent, Taylor Meeks, during Sunday’s National Dual meet at Hilton. Ward defeated Meeks 11-7 by decision.

Jake Calhoun

For his first bout of the season, Jerome Ward fought tooth-and-nail as his third period lead was almost completely clawed away from his grasp.

The redshirt senior, who battled a potential career-ending back injury to return, was taken down twice by No. 18 Taylor Meeks in that final period of Iowa State’s 27-12 dual loss against Oregon State in the second round of the NWCA National Duals Midwest Region.

However, Ward notched a takedown with 13 seconds remaining in the 197-pound match to win in an 11-7 decision despite battling a noticeable amount of pain at numerous points during the match.

“Jerome is legitimately hurt,” ISU coach Kevin Jackson said. “Jerome continued to compete. I mean, he lost some opportunities but he continued to have faith and confidence that he was going to win.

“I think some of our younger guys can learn from him that you’ve just got to lay it out there and we can accept the results.”

For the Cyclones (4-13, 0-6 Big 12), the loss to Oregon State came after a 36-3 victory against Wisconsin in the first round of the national duals, which were held at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday.

The difference in results from the two duals, however, could not be pinpointed exactly.

“I don’t know if our energy level wasn’t there the second dual or not, or if it was just a better quality competition,” said redshirt senior Andrew Sorenson. “But the guys came in and competed, we thought we could win. That’s why if you look around the whole team is kind of holding their head down because they knew they could do better.”

Oregon State advanced to the finals of the tournament, where it lost to top-seeded Iowa with the winner advancing to the National Dual Championships next week.

Jackson said Ward’s effort, emulated by his aversion of a colossal meltdown in the third period, was a prime example of the competitive instinct he had been preaching to the youthful wrestlers on his team all season.

Aside from Ward’s first match of the season, the day marked two other firsts for the Cyclones — the first victory in a dual by a 133-pounder all season and Chris Spangler’s first match since sustaining his fifth-career concussion at the Midlands Championships in late December.

Shayden Terukina said he notched that victory in an 8-5 decision against Wisconsin’s Shane McQuade, also showed the competitiveness against Oregon State’s Garrett Drucker.

Drucker led 8-2 going into the third period, but Terukina fought back with three takedowns and a two-point nearfall in the final period before falling short 12-10.

“Earlier in the year, no offense to him, but he really wouldn’t have come back like that and tried to compete as hard as he did today,” Spangler said of Terukina. “I think he’s starting to turn that corner.”

Spangler won his first match since the Midlands in an 8-0 major decision against Wisconsin’s Frank Cousins. However, he was put on the shelf against Oregon State for precautionary reasons.

“We didn’t feel Chris Spangler was at a point where we could push him through two tough matches,” Jackson said. “We wanted to get him a match to make sure he met that NCAA requirement to make him an automatic qualifier.”

As for Ward, it was nice for his teammates to see him compete after a long season without him.

“For him to go out there and wrestle for seven minutes hard and put points on the board — he hasn’t been training with us, he’s still hurt,” Sorenson said of Ward. “The kid’s banged up and he still went out there and competed.”