Wrestlers prepare to take on No. 7 Oklahoma


Photo: Zhenru Zhang/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s Kyle Simonson takes on Old Dominion opponent Grant Chapman during the Nov. 21 meet at Hilton Coliseum.

Jake Calhoun

Iowa State will try to snap a three-dual losing streak Friday when it hosts No. 7 Oklahoma at Hilton Coliseum.

The 15th-ranked Cyclones (6-5, 0-1 Big 12) are taking part in the “Beauty and the Beast” event, where a wrestling meet will be taking place simultaneously with an ISU gymnastics meet against Missouri.

“We want to be at full strength,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “We have no room for error.”

Every two years, Iowa State hosts the “Beauty and the Beast” event to showcase both wrestling and gymnastics at Hilton Coliseum. In 2009, the last time the event took place, the then-third-ranked Cyclones beat Minnesota, 29-6.

“It’s the same as if you have a large crowd or a heckler, you don’t pay attention to anything outside the match,” said junior Jerome Ward. “Being a veteran on the team I’ve been through it and I’m used to it. Last time I barely knew there was gymnastics going on, and I’m sure the gymnastics girls aren’t thinking about us.”

The Sooners (9-1, 0-1) have only had one loss, at the hands of No. 6 Oklahoma State, 22-12, on Dec. 12 in Stillwater, Okla.

Junior Kyle Simonson will have another tough task ahead of him after his loss last Sunday to Minnesota’s Tony Nelson, having to square off against No. 11 Nathan Fernandez at the match at heavyweight.

Fernandez weighs in at 250 pounds, outweighing Simonson by about 30 pounds. However, for Simonson it’s just business as usual.

“Look at the names and that might mean something to some people, but to us it’s just another opponent,” Simonson said. “We all have to go out and compete. We wrestle, we win.”

Jackson said that he is trying to find ways to add some weight to Simonson, who has temporarily won the starting spot over Matt Gibson.

“I wish there was some magical formula where we could put 20 pounds on him,” Jackson said. “But there’s not one out there.”

Jackson said the only question in terms of the starting lineup is senior Chris Drouin.

Drouin, who transferred to Iowa State at the beginning of this year, suffered a concussion at the National Duals in Cedar Falls and sat out last Sunday against Minnesota.

“I mean these head injuries seem to be more prevalent now than they ever have been in all sports, and wrestling included,” Jackson said. “We have two, three guys who have had concussions this year and a couple last year as well.”

The action is slated to start at 7 p.m.