Cyclones head to Big 12 Championships

Then-redshirt sophomore Alex Mackall wrestles Austin Macias during the Iowa State vs SIU-Edwardsville match Nov. 11, 2018, in Stephens Auditorium. The Cyclones won nine of the 10 matches over the Cougars.

Zane Douglas

The Big 12 Championships begin Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Iowa State wrestling team has had a couple of weeks to prepare.

Coming off two dual losses, coach Kevin Dresser’s team is in the middle of its worst skid of the season.

With that being said, the allocations are out, and Iowa State has a lot of wrestlers in prime positions to secure an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships.

125 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Alex Mackall

Big 12 allocations: 5

Seed: 5

With the fifth seed at 125 pounds, it would seem like redshirt sophomore Alex Mackall is in a good position to nab one of the final spots to the NCAA tournament, but that isn’t so cut and dry.

Against the top four seeds at his weight class, Mackall has gone 0-4, including a recent loss to No. 3 Jay Schwarm of Northern Iowa.

No. 6 Cole Verner of Wyoming has yet to match up against Mackall this season. Verner is ranked higher nationally which could prove challenging for Mackall.

Mackall does get the benefit of a first-round bye, however, and that could help him get an automatic bid to the national stage.

Nonetheless, Mackall will undoubtedly have a tough path in a very top-heavy weight class.

133 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Austin Gomez

Big 12 allocations: 5

Seed: 2

Redshirt freshman Austin Gomez is in a much safer position than Mackall in that he has some wiggle room.

All Gomez has to do is keep from collapsing and he will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, although this is no easy task as the field is exceptional.

He is also starting in the second round of the bracket thanks to a first-round bye.

Gomez has a legitimate shot at grabbing first on the podium, but he’ll likely have to go through the top seed. In his two matches against No. 1 Daton Fix from Oklahoma State this season, Gomez lost two close battles by 6-3 decision and by 5-4 decision.

Gomez hasn’t lost to anyone else in the tournament, and besides a win by 8-6 decision over No. 5 Cameron Sykora of North Dakota State, none of his matches have been close.

141 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Ian Parker

Big 12 allocations: 6

Seed: 2

Redshirt sophomore Ian Parker stumbled a bit in February to some strong competition.

Despite the recent struggles, Parker has still had a strong season and thanks to that, he comes in as the second seed at 141 pounds.

Along with Mackall and Gomez, Parker will receive a bye in the first round of the tournament.

Like Gomez, his skill will likely allow him to continue his season past the Big 12 Championships, but the field at 141 pounds is very strong.

Parker just lost to No. 1 Josh Alber of Northern Iowa by 3-1 decision thanks to a last-second takedown, but Parker defeated the No. 3 Dom Demas of Oklahoma and No. 5 Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State earlier in the year.

No. 4 Matt Findlay of Utah Valley sat out a highly anticipated match against Parker due to injury.

Parker might be one of the safest bets on the team to advance past the conference tournament because of the tough opponents he’s matched up against along with the number of allocations given to this weight class.

149 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Jarrett Degen

Big 12 allocations: 7

Seed: 3

The only NCAA qualifier on last season’s Cyclone roster was redshirt sophomore Jarrett Degen, and with seven allocations, he’ll likely be back.

The two wrestlers that are seeded ahead of Degen are No. 1 Kaden Gfeller out of Oklahoma State who he hasn’t seen yet this season, and No. 2 Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa who he just lost a close match to by 7-5 decision.

A notable loss among the class for Degen is No. 6 Davion Jeffries of Oklahoma who defeated Degen by 12-5 decision back on Jan. 25.

Degen, who has a 12-2 dual record on the season, will also receive a first-round bye.

157 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Chase Straw

Big 12 allocations: 1

Seed: 3

Redshirt junior Chase Straw has had an up and down season.

Fortunately for him, the Big 12 has been weak this year at this weight class, which gives him an outside shot at making the NCAA Championships.

There’s only one problem: he has to finish first in the conference.

The top-seeded competitor is Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas who is also the only nationally ranked wrestler in the conference at 157 pounds.

Straw and Thomas met once this year, and Thomas came out on top by 9-7 decision.

No. 2 Jacob Wright of Fresno State also beat Straw earlier in the season with this decision being even closer at 5-4.

Since Straw has a legitimate shot to win the tournament with the field presented, expect a lot of eyes to be on this bracket.

165 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Logan Schumacher

Big 12 allocations: 6

Seed: Unseeded

Freshman Logan Schumacher was called upon in the middle of the season to take over for the injured Brady Jennings and fared well for someone that was supposed to redshirt at the start of the season.

His 3-6 dual record isn’t all that impressive, but with six allocations, Schumacher has a chance to nab a qualifying spot. He’ll need to pull off some upsets, though.

Oklahoma State switched a few of its guys around, and Joe Smith has moved down a weight class from 174 pounds.

The Big 12 will reseed and redraw the bracket for 165 pounds on Friday evening. Schumacher was originally given a favorable matchup, but now it’s uncertain where he will fall.

Nick Kiussis of West Virginia, who was originally seeded fifth, won a tight match over Schumacher earlier this year by 3-2 decision. That spot might be the easiest for Schumacher to steal.

There are a couple of other winnable spots for the freshman, but with Smith’s move down to 165-pounds, it might not be very easy.

174 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Marcus Coleman

Big 12 allocations: 5

Seed: 4

Coleman has skidded to the finish line, but the Ames product is still in a good position to edge his way into the NCAA Tournament at 174 pounds.

He lost his last three dual meets with his last two both coming via pin.

One of the pins came against No. 3 Taylor Lujan of Northern Iowa.

Coleman needs to get in the top five, but the sixth seed is North Dakota State’s Lorenzo De La Riva who Coleman beat by 8-7 decision earlier in the season.

No. 5 Hayden Hastings out of Wyoming has not faced Coleman yet this season.

Hastings has a key win against No. 2 Kimball Bastian, as well as two wins over De La Riva. He has also wrestled close with No. 1 Jacobe Smith of Oklahoma State.

Coleman was given the fourth seed, but it isn’t out of the question that he could fall and miss the NCAA Championships.

184 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Samuel Colbray

Big 12 allocations: 5

Seed: 1

Redshirt sophomore Samuel Colbray moved down to 184 pounds this year and the move has sparked a coming out party for him.

Colbray finished up the season with a 13-1 dual record, with his loss coming to Oklahoma State’s Jacobe Smith who moved down a weight to 174 pounds.

Because of this, Colbray earned the first seed in the tournament and has a shot to give himself a great position in the NCAA Tournament.

His toughest competition will be No. 2 Drew Foster of Northern Iowa, who he beat recently by 8-5 decision.

Some other notable competition is No. 3 Dakota Geer who wrestled at 197-pounds against redshirt senior Willie Miklus for the Cyclones earlier this season and lost by 9-6 decision.

No. 5 Jackson Hemauer of Fresno State is someone that Colbray was barely able to squeak by with a win by 8-7 decision.

197 pounds

Iowa State wrestler: Willie Miklus

Big 12 allocations: 7

Seed: 2

Tragedy struck Miklus and his family earlier this week as his father Garry Miklus died on Monday.

Miklus has had an outstanding season after transferring from Missouri to be closer to his father.

From a wrestling standpoint, Miklus has never been better and is coming into the Big 12 tournament at 197 pounds with some big late-season wins.

No. 1 Preston Weigel of Oklahoma State comes into the tournament as the top seed despite wrestling in four dual matches.

These four were quite impressive though, as he took down Iowa’s star freshman Jacob Warner as well as Missouri’s Wyatt Koelling.

No. 3 Josh Hokit of Fresno State is the only one in the bracket to have beaten Miklus earlier in the season.


Iowa State wrestler: Gannon Gremmel

Big 12 allocations: 6

Seed: 3

Redshirt sophomore Gannon Gremmel has had a solid season that landed him the third seed in the Big 12 Tournament at heavyweight.

No. 1 Derek White out of Oklahoma State is the heavy favorite to take home first in the tournament, but after that, it’s pretty up in the air.

Gremmel defeated No. 2 AJ Neville earlier in the season by 6-5 decision and dominated No. 4 Tate Orndorff of Utah Valley with a pin.

No. 6 Carter Isley however, came away with a win over Gremmel in overtime by 2-0 decision.

No one else in the tournament has beaten Gremmel, so his chances of making the NCAA tournament is a pretty safe bet.

He’ll be hoping to improve his seed as he likely advances to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.