Iowa State faces Fresno State after going 2-0 last season against the Bulldogs


Mikinna Kerns/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Austin Gomez wrestles Jacob Blaha during the Iowa State vs SIU-Edwardsville match in Stephens Auditorium Nov. 11. The Cyclones won nine of the 10 matches over the Cougars.

Trevor Holbrook

The momentum keeps stacking up for Iowa State wrestling.

The Cyclones tacked on a 29-7 win over Big 12 opponent North Dakota State to push their dual record to 3-1 and 1-0 in conference.

With the front half of this week’s two duals won, Iowa State looks to secure a second conference win over Fresno State in Hilton Coliseum at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“It helps to have a better team,” said Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser on the improved start this season. “We’ve got a better team, and I think a better attitude — a little bit more battle-tested right now, so it’s progress. And good progress right now, so we’ve got to keep doing what we have been doing.”

Fresno State lends itself as a chance to measure the progress Dresser alluded to. Iowa State knocked off the Bulldogs, 25-16 last year at the Virginia Duals and 26-22 in a regular dual later in the season. 

Although the Cyclones won by almost double-digits the first dual, 18 of those points were produced by athletes no longer on the roster. The only two athletes that will likely be penciled into the lineup that wrestled against Fresno State at the Virginia Duals are Sam Colbray (then 197-pounds, now 184-pounds) and heavyweight Gannon Gremmel

In the second meeting it was similar story. The only Iowa State wrestler still on the team and healthy that secured points in the dual was 157-pounder Chase Straw, who won by technical fall over Greg Gaxiola.

Another current Cyclone who wrestled against the Bulldogs but took a loss instead is 149-pounder Jarrett Degen.

Degen squared off with Khristian Olivas. In a barnburner of a match, Olivas edged Degen out, 14-13.

This year, Degen looks for revenge and a signature win to add to his resume. The matchup is the only ranked match of the day (Degen No. 11 and Olivas No. 16, according to InterMat).

Along with adding a win and team points on Sunday, Degen hopes to spark the Cyclone fans.

“I’ve always wrestled for fun,” Degen said. “I don’t want to be a boring wrestler. I don’t want to be standing there [with] just tie-ups. I want to create scrambles, go score. I want people out of their seat. I want bonus points, so I really try to get people out of there seats, [and] make it fun for me too.”

One of the other athletes in the lineup with the knack for firing up Iowa State fans is 133-pounder Austin Gomez.

Gomez saw his name soar through the brackets at the Southern Scuffle, finishing in second place. Gomez put fans on their feet in him match to advance to the finals at the Scuffle.

Down 8-1, Gomez trimmed the score to 8-3 in the second period against Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young. Gomez took down Bravo-Young and eventually turned it into a pin.

While the excitement was second to none, Gomez needs to shore up his first period wrestling.

“Get to my offense right away,” Gomez said on improving early in matches. “Don’t wait and relax just go, go, go. Just make the guy feel me right away.”

To keep Iowa State’s momentum going, it may need some fireworks from lineup pillars like Gomez and Degen.