Elementary errors cost Cyclones

Darrin Cline

Few sports match the one-on-one intensity of wrestling. No equipment, ball, or net, the world of wrestling pits foes against each other in an effort to determine who is the most dominant.

Dominance in wrestling takes a complete performance. It is beyond being stronger and faster. To become elite, each grappler must be well conditioned, mentally in check and technically sound. 

“I think it’s an understanding of making a connection to the technical skills it takes to get out and the energy level in which to explode out of those positions,” said ISU wrestling coach Kevin Jackson.

Imperfections in these areas became the pitfalls for the ISU wrestling team as they were dismantled at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. 

Watching Jon Reader work in the first match of the dual was a display of brilliance by a man who is becoming the total package. After Reader’s win, many of his peers struggled with technical ineptitude and flat matches.

Cole Shafer exuded all his energy in an exhilirating first period before being humiliated in the final period. Kyle Simonson was exhausted and unable to finish takedowns at heavyweight. Ben Cash and Max Mayfield were unable to fight out from underneath and create any offense.

One issue Shafer ran into was the use of the “gut wrench” move by Minnesota’s Kevin Steinhaus. With the “gut wrench tilt,” Steinhaus was able to control Shafer’s wrist and earn nearfall points. The gut wrench and tilt became a tool of destruction for many of the Gopher grapplers. Fifth-ranked Zach Sanders turned Cyclone Brandon Jones multiple times on his way to a technical fall victory.

“It’s unacceptable to be turned in the way we’re being turned and the wrist tilt stuff is the basic, simple tilt we should be able to defend,” Jackson said.

Jackson was displeased not with the conditioning or mental strength shortcomings of the team, but rather their inability to fight in elementary positions. Wrist control, which was key to Minnesota’s ability to gain nearfall points, is one of the simplest, yet most crucial elements in wrestling. 

“All in all we’ve got some young guys who have not figured out how to get guys off their wrists when they’re on bottom,” said Jackson, who claims the wrestlers will work for “100 hours” until they are able to work in that position. 

While many of the technical errors were committed by some of the younger, inexperienced wrestlers, Jackson does not use that as an excuse for under-performing. The Cyclone head man said they are training one team, not two different teams, and if some of the guys are capable of putting together all the pieces of the puzzle, the whole team has that same potential.