Big 12 Championships: 5 rematches to watch for

Iowa State then-redshirt sophomore Jarrett Degen takes on South Dakota State junior Henry Pohlmeyer as a part of the 149-pound weight class during the third period of their match at Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 1. Degen won the match up. The Iowa State wrestling team won 47-0 against South Dakota State.

Trevor Holbrook

Editor’s note: Rankings attached to athletes are the Big 12 Championship preseeds. 

It’s been a fun season for the Iowa State wrestling squad. The Cyclones trotted out a young lineup with some top talent at specific weights.

During Iowa State’s regular season campaign, the Cyclones tallied a 10-4 record (6-2 in Big 12 duals). In most of the 10 wins, the final team scores ended lopsided, including a few shutouts.

The losses showcase a quartet of fun, competitive wrestling, though. Against No. 3 Iowa, No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Northern Iowa and No. 5 Missouri, Iowa State battled but fell short. In those duals, a few individual rematches could reemerge with Northern Iowa and Oklahoma State at the Big 12 Championship.

Now that Iowa State has shown its individuals can compete against quality opponents, here’s five rematches that could light up the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

No. 2 Austin Gomez versus No. 1 Daton Fix

Redshirt freshman 133-pounder Austin Gomez burst onto the scene for Iowa State in his first year off his redshirt.

He showcased a high pace early this season and picked up signature wins over Austin DeSanto of Iowa and Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State.

Oklahoma State counts on Daton Fix — another redshirt freshman — almost as an automatic win with a 27-1 record (the lone loss came from Pittsburgh’s Micky Phillippi).

Fix holds a 2-0 record on Gomez this season, but both matches came down to the wire. At the Southern Scuffle, Fix earned a 6-3 decision. Inside a packed Gallagher-Iba Arena, Fix edged out Gomez, 5-4.

Both are basically locks to head to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the NCAA Championships, but this match could help each wrestler in terms of seeding.

No. 5 Alex Mackall versus No. 3 Jay Schwarm

You could plug in almost any solid 125-pounder and Iowa State’s Mackall for this spot. Mackall needs a solid performance at the Big 12s to secure either an automatic qualifying bid or an improved at-large standing.

With that said, he has to win some toss-ups.

Northern Iowa’s Jay Schwarm and Mackall went toe-to-toe on Feb. 21. Mackall pushed Schwarm, but the Panther snagged a 6-3 win. Simply put, this will be a tight match and Mackall is no guarantee to make it to the NCAAs, so this is an important potential rematch for the Cyclone.

The two are matched up on opposite sides of the bracket, but they could meet later in the bracket or in the consolation bracket.

No. 3 Jarrett Degen versus No. 6 Davion Jeffries/No. 2 Max Thomsen

It’s obvious redshirt sophomore and NCAA qualifier Jarrett Degen presents a challenge to most opponents based on his length and skill set.

Degen displayed that against Missouri’s 149-pounder Brock Mauller, whose only two losses are from Degen, in Degen’s 11-4 win.

On the flip side, Degen slumped in specific matchups in his two seasons in the Big 12. Degen sports a 0-3 record against Northern Iowa’s Max Thomsen, but each loss came via a decision.

Against Oklahoma’s Davion Jeffries, Degen won the first matchup, but he’s lost the last two via decision. Degen will find himself in Pittsburgh, but it’d be comforting for Cyclone fans if he could avenge one or both of those matchups on the way there.

Degen will likely face Jeffries for his first match, and with a win, he would likely meet Thomsen next.

No. 2 Willie Miklus versus No. 3 Josh Hokit

Iowa State’s most experienced wrestler — 197-pound redshirt senior Willie Miklus heads to Tulsa also looking to avenge a loss. Fresno State’s Josh Hokit upset Miklus in sudden victory, 4-2, earlier this year.

Miklus probably presents Iowa State’s best chance at securing an individual champion at the Big 12 Championship, but he’ll have to avoid another upset like Hokit.

No. 2 Ian Parker versus the field

Redshirt sophomore 141-pounder Ian Parker faced a gauntlet to end his dual season. Coach Kevin Dresser coined the name “Dragon Slayer” for him before his late-season flurry of ranked matches.

Parker solidified himself as a top Big 12 contender this season, and the redshirt sophomore has a handful of strong opponents in his bracket.