Cyclones dominate in final Big 12 tuneup

Zac Reicks

Pure domination.

These two words best describe the Iowa State wrestling team’s 33-15 home victory over North Carolina State on Friday.

The fourth-ranked Cyclones won seven of 10 matches and recorded four falls, improving their record to 13-3 on the season.

Heading into this weekend’s Big 12 openers against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, assistant coach Chris Bono said he saw many encouraging signs from his squad in their victory over North Carolina State.

“Their effort was great as usual,” he said. “They competed with a lot of heart which they will need this weekend.”

Aaron Holker, Billy Maldonado, Cael Sanderson and Nick Britton all recorded falls to help Iowa State overcome a forfeit at 125 and a loss by fall at 133 pounds.

Holker continued his strong season by executing a “turk” to perfection and pinning his man 1:04 into the second period.

Recently named Big 12 wrestler of the week, Holker has provided the Cyclones with stability among the lower weights and is putting together a fine season at 21-5.

“It wasn’t the toughest of all opponents, but I needed that match,” Holker said. “I was kind of nervous right away, but when I got more into the match I settled down and wrestled well.”

Sanderson played a cat and mouse game with his opponent as he used takedown after takedown to build a 19-6 lead before finally turning his man over in 4:32.

The top-ranked senior improved his record to 26-0 on the season while running his career win streak to 145 straight matches.

His efforts were rewarded with a trip to the NWCA All-Star Classic on Monday and a chance to face second-ranked Jon Trenge of Lehigh. Sanderson faced Trenge earlier this season at the Midlands Championships and dispatched him quite easily, winning 16-5.

Iowa State opens Big 12 Conference action by traveling south to take on fifth-ranked Oklahoma State on Friday and seventh-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday. It will provide the Cyclones with their sternest tests of the conference season.

“Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have no weaknesses in their lineups,” Bono said. “Everyone has to wrestle hard and score points if we are going to be successful. If they go out and fight hard, we will be proud of them.”