Wrestling tunes up for Big 12 meet

Zac Reicks

The ISU wrestling team concludes its regular season schedule with a trip to Cedar Falls for an intrastate dual with Northern Iowa on Sunday.

The seventh-ranked Cyclones come into the meet with a 16-5 dual mark and are anxious for one final tuneup before heading into postseason competition.

“We definitely need the match,” ISU head coach Bobby Douglas said. “In my opinion, we haven’t been putting enough points on the board, and that’s something we need to work on.”

Iowa State is coming off an emotional 24-16 senior night win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in which Cael Sanderson broke Mike Land’s school record for victories with 151 career wins. He is 151-0 for his career.

Trying to build on the momentum from that win heading into the Big 12 Championships is an important feature of this upcoming dual meet.

“It’s a positive anytime you come off a win,” senior heavyweight Mark Knauer said. “It’s a upbeat mood in practice, and everyone is willing to work hard to get better for what counts.”

Iowa State faced Northern Iowa earlier this year and won a hard fought 20-18 match in which the Cyclones got a much need fall from Cael Sanderson to clinch the win. With a chance to show just how much his Cyclones have improved since that time, look for Douglas to have his squad in peak form.

“It was a very tight match the last time we wrestled,” he said. “It’s a good chance to see how much we have improved and how well we can score points.”

“The score will not be as close as last time,” Knauer added.

Northern Iowa’s sixth-ranked, 141-pounder Dylan Long defeated Iowa State’s second-ranked Aaron Holker last time these two teams met, and this should be the feature match of this meet.

Holker comes into the affair sporting a 25-6 record to go along with his lofty ranking and definitely has something to prove after getting upset by Long the first time.

“Long is a very good wrestler, and it will be a good battle,” Douglas said. “It was a battle the first time and will be another good one this time around.”

After the UNI match, Iowa State gets a two-week break before heading down to Norman, Okla., for the Big 12 Championships.

Which will be their final stop on the road to the national championship March 20-23 in Albany, N.Y.