Unattached wrestlers impress at Harold Nichols Open

Alex Halsted

After making the move from Hawaii to Iowa — a transition that ISU coach Kevin Jackson referred to as a “culture shock” — true freshman Shayden Terukina finally took the mat Sunday for his first taste of collegiate competition.

Wrestling unattached at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open at Hilton Coliseum, Terukina won four matches at 133 pounds to take first place in his first collegiate tournament. More than that, Terukina impressed his coach.

“I think he’s one of our best 133-pounders,” Jackson said. “He competes as well as any one of our 133-pounders and he beat UNI’s starter [for] this year.”

Already with three victories on the day, Terukina entered the final match against Northern Iowa’s Ryan Jauch, who was the No. 1 seed in the 133-pound bracket. Trailing toward the end of the second period, Terukina got a 3-point nearfall to move within one point at 7-6.

With an escape and a takedown at the 1:30 mark in the third period, Terukina took a 9-7 lead and held on for the tournament title.

“I started off slow; I should have been ready, going into the final match,” Terukina said. “I really felt like I trusted my conditioning. I went for it and came out with the win.”

The Cyclones received a second first-place finish from another unattached wrestler, heavyweight Matt Gibson. Jackson said he was happy to see Gibson perform well and feels he can help the team as the season advances.

“I’m impressed with the way he’s been competing over the past several weeks,” Jackson said. “He won NIACC last week, and he won this tournament. So he’s getting there, and we’re about to unleash him.”

For Gibson, Sunday’s victory was nice, but he feels there is work left to do.

“I think I performed to my potential,” Gibson said. “I feel like I have a lot of room to grow, and it’s going to be a long season… . I’m looking forward to growing as a teammate with my fellow Cyclones and my coaching staff.”

With five champions, including Ryak Finch (125), Andrew Sorenson (165) and Cole Shafer (197) in addition to Terukina and Gibson, Jackson was happy with his team’s performance at its home tournament.

“I really feel good about seeing some of our guys connect with some of the tactical skills and the attitude in which we want to see them wrestle,” Jackson said. “I think we scored a ton of bonus points, we got a ton of falls and we got a few champs.”