Cyclones place 11 wrestlers in home tournament


Iowa State wrestler Kyle Simonson pins Wartburg College’s John Helgerson in the final round for the 285-pound wrestling championship of the Harold Nichols Open on Saturday at the Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility. Simonson made it to the final round and defeated Helgerson 8-2.

Jake Calhoun

Max Mayfield has proven he is one of the toughest guys on the ISU wrestling team.

The Davenport native reeled off six straight wins after a second-round loss to finish in third place of the 149-pound championship bracket at the Harold Nichols Open on Saturday.

“You’ve just got to put [the loss] out of your head quick and just wrestle each match as it comes, that’s all I did,” said Mayfield, who went 7-1 on the day. “I didn’t concentrate on how I’ve got to get six or seven [wins] to get back, I’ve just got this match here and I’ve got to win it.”

Iowa State competed 21 of its wrestlers at its annual Harold Nichols Open on Saturday while giving some others a rest — notably Patrick Hunter at 125, Chris Drouin at 141, Nate Carr Jr. at 149, Andrew Sorenson at 165, and Matt Gibson, Iowa State’s heavyweight.

The all-day tournament was held in the Bergstrom Indoor Facility this year because the tournament’s regular home, Lied Recreation Athletic Center, was undergoing some renovation on the turfed area due to the flooding in August.

The Cyclones saw success from 11 of its wrestlers — five of whom were wrestling unattached — at the event.

One week after placing fifth at the Hokie Open in Salem, Va., Kyle Simonson made a solid argument for the starting spot at heavyweight by notching two pins and a technical fall en route to placing first in the tournament.

The lanky Algona native said going into the tournament with an offensive mindset helped his stamina as he pushed through the championship bracket.

“I just [focused on] staying on my offense all the time and working to get points and putting kids on their back and pinning them,” Simonson said. “That saves a guy a lot of energy if you can pin somebody. I think I had a couple today, so I was able to conserve enough energy to continue to wrestle hard the whole tournament.”

Jon Reader captured the fourth Harold Nichols title of his career and his first at 174 pounds. The fifth-ranked senior demolished his competition, recording three technical falls and a 19-second pin on his way to the crown.

Two true freshmen placed first at their respective weight classes for the Cyclones while wrestling unattached. Ryak Finch and Kyven Gadson both donned USA Olympic singlets in their first-ever collegiate action.

Finch, who was attributed as “the future” of the 125-pound weight class for ISU wrestling by coach Kevin Jackson at the beginning of the season, notched a pin in 2:35 and a major decision on his way to a 13-2 major decision for the 125-pound title.

Gadson, a two-time state champion in high school, pinned his way to the final bout where he won in a 3-2 decision to win the 184-pound title.

In the 184-pound quarterfinals, Gadson wrestled neck-and-neck with Nebraska’s Josh Ihnen, who is ranked seventh in the country, in an electrifying match before managing to pin him 48 seconds into the third period to advance.

However, some ISU wrestlers fell short of their ultimate goal of the weekend. Trent Weatherman and Jerome Ward both managed to muscle their way to the championship bouts of the 157- and 197-pound weight classes before both getting beaten in decisions to take second place.

Weatherman, a redshirt freshman starter at 157 pounds, says he has to continue learning from each match, despite its outcome.

“Every match I’ve got to learn something from and just keep learning from last weekend to this weekend, just keep making steps every weekend, and that’s how you win the national title,” Weatherman said. “You’ve just got to keep improving every weekend and find something, whether you’ve smashed the guy or you lose the match, you’ve got to take things away from every match that you wrestle.”

True freshman Michael Moreno was unstoppable until his semifinal match against Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs, the No. 2 wrestler in the nation at 165 pounds. Burroughs fired off an arsenal of relentless attacks to overpower the true freshman from Urbandale. However, Moreno’s defense held strong as he managed to stay off his back to prevent himself from getting pinned.

Burroughs won the match one point shy of a technical fall, 22-8, to advance to the title bout. Moreno went on to place third at 165 pounds while wrestling unattached.

Other placewinners for the Cyclones include Cole Shafer, 184; Joey Cozart, 149; and Trevor Voelker, 197.

The Cyclones continue the push through their schedule next Saturday at the Omaha Open, followed by a return to Hilton Coliseum for a dual meet against Old Dominion. The Omaha Open will last all day, while the dual against Old Dominion will start at 7 p.m.