Cyclones open home season against Boston

Jake Calhoun

After nearly nine months of waiting, the ISU wrestling team will be returning to its home, Hilton Coliseum, on Thursday night.

Iowa State (2-0) hasn’t wrestled in Hilton since Feb. 21, but will make its return to the 14,000-seat venue to take on Boston University (2-2) in its home-opening dual meet of the 2010-2011 season.

Hilton was inundated with more than 10 feet of standing water during the flood in August, but was restored in time for the winter sports season.

Last weekend, the Cyclones traveled to Salem, Va., where they earned their first two dual wins of the season and boasted two individual champions in the Hokie Open tournament.

Senior Jon Reader was the only perfect wrestler for Iowa State last weekend, notching two major decisions in Saturday’s dual meets, and registered two major decisions and two pins en route to winning the title for the 174-pound weight class the next day at the Hokie Open.

Reader’s opponent for the upcoming dual meet will be former NCAA qualifier Hunter Meys, who notched a pin in 1:12 in the Terriers’ season-opening dual loss to Buffalo.

Redshirt sophomore Matt Gibson was the other title-winning Cyclone wrestler at the Hokie Open, avenging a loss in the dual meet to Virginia Tech’s David Marone by beating him in the championship match to win the title at heavyweight.

Gibson’s performance helped him crack InterMat’s top 20 polls, as the junior college transfer debuted on the list at No. 16.

Kyle Simonson, the Cyclones’ other heavyweight in contention for the starting spot, went 7-1 this past weekend. The Algona native recorded three pins, including one over No. 13 Brendan Barlow of Kent State in the dual meet.

Gibson will be facing BU’s big man Kevin Innis, a true freshman who posted a decision and major decision in the team’s two victories.

Fresh off a 2-2 showing at a string of dual meets it hosted last weekend, Boston University features only one ranked wrestler — No. 20 Freddy Santaite at 133 pounds.

Santaite qualified for the NCAA tournament last season at 125 pounds, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing to Purdue’s Cashe Quiroga by a 10-2 major decision. In the wrestlebacks, he was immediately knocked out by Minnesota’s Zach Sanders in a 9-4 decision to fall short of earning All-America status.

Iowa State’s only 133-pounder, redshirt freshman Ben Cash, lost his only match of the season: a 23-8 technical fall at the hands of Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter. Cash did not compete in the Hokie Open the next day.

Another notable ISU wrestler is 197-pounder Jerome Ward, whose 6-4 decision over Chris Penny gave the Cyclones a 17-16 comeback victory over Virginia Tech.

Ward, a junior, is 4-1 on the season with his only loss coming in the championship match of the Hokie Open to Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore, who is ranked third in the nation at 197 pounds.

The dual meet is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.