Inexperience remains issue for Cyclones

Darrin Cline

2011 is a far cry from 2010. 

A year ago, Iowa State pounded the Northern Iowa Panthers 42-0.

The Cyclones were only able to muster a one-point victory over their in-state rivals Friday. It was a tale of two duals for Kevin Jackson’s squad. Members of Cyclone nation witnessed a series of flat matches that allowed the opportunistic Panthers to jump out to an early lead. 

Iowa State dropped four of the first five matches, with the only win coming amid controversy at 149 pounds. Max Mayfield was the benefactor of an unsportsmanlike conduct call that gave the Cyclones their first three points.

While Jackson refuses to justify a lack of intensity, he recognizes the schism within the team. 

“I don’t want to make excuses, but we do have some true freshmen,” Jackson said. “We do have some redshirt freshmen, and I think those are the matches you saw that were kind of flat, and those are the guys who have to keep their heads up and keep fighting.”

In what has become the norm, the upper-weight wrestlers rallied to give Iowa State the win. Veteran leadership has been the calling card for the squad in a series of recent duals. Andrew Sorenson and Jon Reader propelled the squad back into the meet.

With Reader and Sorenson trimming the deficit to two points and Jerome Ward and Kyle Simonson finishing the job, the meet proved to be exciting, yet concerning.

Expertise and mental intensity can often be the dividing line between victory and defeat, and the upperclassmen on the team have continually toed that line.

“It was just a mindset,” Ward said, whose major decision was the catalyst against Northern Iowa. “I was going to go get it, I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.”

Building this mental focus throughout the roster and becoming more tenacious is a growing necessity.

Jackson hopes his young guys can tune in to the attitudes and performances of their peers.

“I think when those guys can see the other guys perform at a high level, it will motivate them to perform at a high level,” Jackson said.