Wrestling team bounces back with blowout

Zac Reicks

The ISU wrestling team broke a three-match losing streak Thursday night, defeating Tennessee-Chattanooga 34-7 before 1,077 fans at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones, paced by falls at 149 and 197 pounds, lost only two of the 10 bouts and scored bonus points in five of those matches.

Iowa State fell behind early 3-0, before a technical fall by Zach Roberson (22-7), a major decision by national champion Aaron Holker (9-1) and Nate Gallick’s first pin of the season put them in control at 15-3.

After a scoreless first period, Gallick went to work on Jake Harris and did something he usually isn’t accustomed to. “I’m not normally a pinner,” Gallick said. “It was surprising to me when I got him to turn, but once I fell into it, it felt good.”

The young Cyclone squad came into the match with confidence levels low after getting thrashed 34-7 by intrastate rival Iowa last Sunday. ISU head coach Bobby Douglas took most of the week to focus on mental problems in practice, and not physical.

“This certainly helps the spirits of the kids,” Douglas said. “When you’re young, you tend to take things harder, so this meet will help.”

It certainly helped Gallick’s morale. “It was a big confidence booster for me; it felt really good to win,” Gallick said. “Just going out and wrestling, getting into the shape we need to be in helps. Everyone knows what they need to do to get the job done.”

That job is getting better every match, so one day Iowa State can lay claim to a national title. For inspiration, the Cyclones need look no further than last year’s champion, Holker.

Holker, wrestling an old high school foe, took what was given to him in his 9-1 major decision over Jared Sullivan. Not wanting to mix it up with Holker, Sullivan tried to slow down the match and wrestle his style.

“I wrestled him in high school nationals my senior year and I beat him then,” Holker said. “I controlled him better this time but I still need to work at being better on my feet.”

After the senior captain’s clinic on Sullivan, Gallick got his big pin.

“Gallick is doing a good job,” Douglas said. “Any time when you can wrestle a weight-class above and win, it’s good. [Gallick] is not a big 141-pounder anyways, but he is doing a great job.”

Nick Passolano claimed a 7-1 win after a loss by 157-pounder Nels Matson, and then Ken Cook got his first win as a Cyclone at 174 pounds.

Austen Palmer, a senior captain at 184 pounds, earned a 13-5 major decision to increase the team lead to 25-7, setting the stage for the second fall of the evening.

Sophomore Woodley Milord threw Moccasin Drew Roberts 1:58 into the first period, bringing the crowd to his feet and a smile to his face. Milord has been inconsistent at times this season, but took Douglas’s mental teachings to heart and it paid off on Thursday.

“Coach took it easy and focused more on mental things.” Holker said. “We believed in it and it showed in what we did tonight.”

The Cyclones now get to enjoy their Christmas break before returning to action Dec. 29—30 at the perennially tough Midlands Open.