Jackson upset over lack of competitiveness


Photo: Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan

Iowa’s 174-pounder Ethen Lofthouse holds on to Jon Reader of Iowa State on Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Lofthouse lost 6-1.

Jake Calhoun

IOWA CITY — Staying competitive has been a theme for ISU coach Kevin Jackson and his young wrestling team this season.

However, in the team’s dual meet against intrastate rival Iowa, Jackson was frustrated with the lack of competitiveness from some of his athletes.

“I think this is a missed opportunity., I’m disappointed with the competitiveness of a couple of our guys,” Jackson said. “I’m not talking about winning or losing, I’m talking about just straight competing; just straight fighting, fighting, fighting, trying to win. There are a couple guys on my team I’m really disappointed in from that standpoint.”

No. 14 Iowa State (4-1) lost its seventh consecutive dual meet against No. 6 Iowa (5-0) by a score of 22-13 Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

The night began with the 197-pound match between Iowa State’s Jerome Ward and Iowa’s Luke Lofthouse. Ward, who was a key contributor in last year’s 18-16 dual meet loss at Hilton Coliseum, capitalized on Lofthouse’s miscues to take a 3-1 lead heading down the third period. After being awarded two points for two different stalling calls on Ward, Lofthouse was given a chance to come back in a sudden victory period with the score knotted up at 3-3.

“When you get opportunities to put yourself back in the match, say like Luke Lofthouse, you’ve got to capitalize on that,” said Iowa coach Tom Brands. “Especially when you’re doing things to get back in the match and it’s going your way.”

Lofthouse’s comeback campaign fell short as Ward notched a takedown with 14 seconds remaining in the sudden-victory period to secure Iowa State’s first victory of the night.

Iowa answered Ward’s victory by reeling off four straight wins — two of which included upsets of Iowa State’s Kyle Simonson at heavyweight and Chris Drouin at 141 pounds — to take a 14-3 lead at intermission.

“[In] those two bouts we were confident we would win, therefore winning the dual meet,” Jackson said of the heavyweight and 141-pound matches. “We truly feel we had a missed opportunity.”

In the heavyweight match, Simonson struggled against Iowa’s Blake Rasing. Rasing, whose 280-pound build outweighed Simonson’s 220 pounds, rode the Algona native for the entire duration of the second period to put him in a hole to begin the third.

An escape by Rasing inside a minute kept his riding time above one minute, awarding him the extra point in the 2-0 victory over Simonson.

“We thought we could win that match,” Jackson said. “We were in on the leg with the opportunity to win on the edge of the mat and didn’t pull him back, didn’t get it. That was our opportunity to win that match.”

For Drouin, failing to connect on a barrage of attacks allowed Iowa’s Mark Ballweg to scramble to avoid allowing the senior to secure positioning for a takedown on multiple instances.

With the score knotted at 1-1 in the third period, Ballweg managed to secure the match-winning takedown with 12 seconds left to pull off the 3-1 upset over the All-American.

“On the counter, it would have been real easy to hold for stalemate, but he didn’t,” Brands said of Ballweg. “He got his head up, back into the guy and took the points. That’s huge.”

The outcome of the 141-pound match was especially tough for the Cyclones to stomach.

“At the end of that match, we thought that Chris didn’t continue to compete for that final point, and that was for the match,” Jackson said. “Overconfidence? I’m not sure. I know he believed and we believed that he could win, he believed he was the better wrestler, and obviously that wasn’t the case tonight.”

The Cyclones’ comeback chances became more of a possibility after senior Nate Carr Jr. notched a bonus point for his major decision over Jeret Chiri in the 149-pound match.

The very next match, however, featured what many believed to be the marquee matchup of the night, pitting Iowa State’s Trent Weatherman against Derek St. John.

After an early aggressive attack by Weatherman went for naught, St. John retaliated with some quick strikes the Maxwell native couldn’t provide an answer for.

“He’s got to get tougher, and I’d hate to publicly say that about one of my athletes, but we expect more out of Trent Weatherman,” Jackson said. “We expect more out of him, and he expects more out of himself.”

St. John took advantage of a discouraged Weatherman, notching five takedowns en route to a 12-3 major decision over the redshirt freshman.

Despite his disappointment, Jackson thinks the crowd may have rattled his 157-pounder.

“I do think, from a standpoint of competing, maybe the crowd did get to Trent a little bit,” Jackson said. “I thought he started off pretty well, but then I thought he kind of fell off hard.”

The Cyclones will have time to focus on providing an answer for their woes before their next event, when they travel to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships in late December.

“We’ve got to get tougher, and that’s just period,” said senior Jon Reader, who defeated Ethen Lofthouse in a 6-1 decision in the 174-pound match. “It’s not about the volume of work we’re doing, it’s about guys just being bull-nosed and being sharks and getting after it, you know. It’s about living the lifestyle.”