Despite losses, Cyclone wrestling finds positives

Alex Halsted

ISU wrestling coach Kevin Jackson isn’t worried after his team lost its first two duels of the season Sunday to Army and Boston.

“It’s a long season. It’s a 15-round fight and that was just the first round,” Jackson said. “We want to finish stronger than we start. We started pretty strong last year and didn’t finish strong as I thought we could have.”

The No. 21 Cyclones (0-2) lost to Army (2-0) 23-22 to start the day and then fell to Boston (1-1) 21-16 later in the evening.

Iowa State endured three injuries as Ben Cash, Max Mayfield and Michael Moreno all suffered concussions. Jackson said all three failed their initial concussion tests and isn’t sure when they’ll be able to get back on the mat.

“They’re on the shelf for a period of time as they go through the process of the treatment for concussions,” Jackson said. “There is no telling when they’re going to be back, and it affected our results for sure.”

While the Cyclones lost as a team, three wrestlers — Ryak Finch, Andrew Sorenson and Boaz Beard — started their seasons 2-0. Jackson said he was especially impressed with Beard’s performance.

“What’s impressive is that [Beard] has missed a year of wrestling competition,” Jackson said. “For him to go out there and really set the tone for us individually was something to see.”

Sunday also marked the start of wrestling careers for three redshirt freshmen as Finch, Moreno and Mikey England all took the mat for the first time in the cardinal-and-gold singlet.

After England lost his first match against Army, he took the mat against Boston’s 174-pounder, fifth-ranked Hunter Meys.

“I went into it like any other match. I feel like every match is important, and that first one I went out there and I didn’t wrestle up to my ability and made mistakes,” England said. “My match against Meys, I made sure I wrestled a smarter match and wrestled mistake-free.”

Trailing 3-1 entering the final period, England came out on top with a 4-3 victory. Jackson said England’s win against a nationally ranked opponent will help his confidence.

“It shows him that he’s capable of wrestling with the best guys in the country and capable of beating the best guys in the country,” Jackson said. “I think that’s going to go a long way to helping him in his growth to being the best he can possibly be.”

Jackson said Sunday’s matches were a starting point for the team and expects the lineup to continue to strengthen. Nonetheless, he said he felt the first two duals helped give his young team necessary experience.

“I think you’ll see a different team as far as our personnel is concerned as we move further into the season,” Jackson said. “At the same time it gave those guys that had an opportunity to compete great experience.”