Wrestlers lose home opener to Lehigh

Zac Reicks

The 11th-ranked ISU wrestling squad fell 20-12 in their home opener this Saturday against the seventh-ranked Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

The Cyclones jumped to an early 12-3 lead highlighted by decisions from undefeated wrestlers Zach Roberson and Aaron Holker.

Roberson validated his national ranking by defeating 12th-ranked Cory Cooperman 6-4.

The fifth-ranked junior used an escape with 48 seconds left to secure the win over Cooperman and improve to 4-0 on the season.

Holker, the 141-pound NCAA champion last year, jumped to an early 5-0 lead on his way to an 8-4 decision over Tristan Boyd.

Holker is gradually embracing a larger leadership role and is helping the younger Cyclones to eliminate mistakes that were pivotal in the outcome of the match.

“I’m not too worried about it, and I hope [ISU head coach Bobby] Douglas isn’t too worried, because I think those are little, small mistakes we can change,” Holker said.

“We were beaten by a good team,” Douglas said. “There were a lot of positives that came from this dual, but there is still work to be done.”

Iowa State suffered close losses at 165 and 184 pounds, with both Nick Passolano and Austen Palmer losing in sudden-death overtime.

An NCAA qualifier last year, Passolano was ridden out in overtime by Troy Letters, which let a valuable three team points go by the wayside.

Holker said Passolano can learn how to finish the move he was trying to score with on Troy Letters, and work on other things as well.

The Cyclone lineup was bolstered, though, by the return of Ken Cook, who is back with the team after a brief attempt at Greco-Roman wrestling. Cook suffered a 11-7 loss on Saturday but just having him in the lineup may be a plus for Iowa State.

A second-year freshman at 174 pounds, Cook was not on the Cyclones’ original roster because he and freshman teammate Harry Lester were concentrating on Greco-Roman wrestling with an eye toward the 2004 Olympics.

Douglas said Cook rejoined the team prior to its trip to Pennsylvania for the double-dual and the Keystone Open in Philadelphia last weekend.

Cook lost a one-point match in the Lock Haven meet.

“Right now we’ve got to train him and get him in shape,” Douglas said. “He’s going to have to wrestle his way back into shape.”

The entire Cyclone squad will need to be at their best as their next match is on the road against rival Iowa on Dec. 2.

Ranked third in the country by Intermat, the Hawkeyes have already defeated top-ranked Minnesota and will serve as a good measuring stick for Iowa State.