Colbray’s upset and Gremmel’s win spur Iowa State to comeback victory

Redshirt junior Sam Colbray faces off against Bryce Steiert during Iowa State’s 18-16 victory over No. 16 Northern Iowa on Feb. 15 at Hilton Coliseum.

Zach Martin

Sam Colbray has been feeling under the weather lately. Head Coach Kevin Dresser told him before weigh-ins he was 50-50 Sunday.

After Northern Iowa jumped out to a 12-6 lead halfway through the dual, another conversation took place between wrestler and coach.

“At the break, I said ‘Colbray, come here’, I said ‘What do you think’ and he said ‘I wanna fight,'” Dresser said. “I go off body language, I can tell by the way he was carrying himself at that moment that he was a guy that needed to wrestle.”

Colbray felt what it was like to be on top of the world Sunday afternoon.

The Oregon native — trailing 6-5 — picked up fifth-ranked Bryce Steiert and put him down for the go-ahead takedown and rode him out for the final 30 seconds for the 7-6 upset at 174 pounds. Hilton Coliseum and the No. 19 Cyclones went into a frenzy as Iowa State came from behind in a 18-16 triumph over the Panthers.

“Once you trust the process, there’s a payout to be made and tonight it happened,” Colbray said. “Got a little bit of candy, there’s a big pot of candy at the end of the rainbow. That’s just pure heart at the end of the match.”

It’s the first time Iowa State has defeated Northern Iowa since the 2015-16 season. The score of that dual?


It also increases the Cyclones win streak to four and snaps the Panthers’ six-match streak.

“We’ve seen a lot of great dual meets this year, that was one of them,” Dresser said. “Our guys did a great job in the turnaround. It was a good test for us and I think we passed that test.”

If there was evidence of sickness from the redshirt junior, it wasn’t noticeable.

Four seconds into the bout, Colbray executed a single leg for two quick points, but Steiert responded with a takedown of his own. After the opening three minutes, it was tied at three.

An escape and another two points from Steiert opened it up to a 6-3 cushion, but Colbray answered it yet again with an escape and after choosing down in the third, Colbray got out 11 seconds into the period.

Once the buzzer sounded, Colbray was on all fours, collecting his thoughts as Iowa State (9-4, 6-1 Big 12) crawled even with Northern Iowa at 12-all with three matches remaining.

“It was humbling, kind of,” Colbray said. “I’ve felt worse in the room, felt worse in a million different situations. That was, like, easy money.”

In the eyes of Dresser, it was the loudest moment he’s been apart of during his three-year tenure leading the Cyclones program.

All 5,129 were standing on their feet in what Dresser deemed as “Hilton Magic.”

“We got that place loud,” Dresser said. “That rang the bell today. I’m going to try and beat it next year and the next year.”

Panthers Head Coach Doug Schwab said afterwards there are going to be adjustments made the next time Steiert and Colbray meet on the mat.

He added that it felt like the moment got too big for a lot of his guys.

“Things start to get tight, and then you start looking and you’re looking at the clock, you’re second guessing yourself. Start to hold on, instead of continue to attack,” Schwab said. “There’s gotta be a little bit of a death blow. There was blood in the water and we did not go after it.”

Taylor Lujan quieted the crowd momentarily with a 13-5 major decision win over Marcus Coleman, racking up five takedowns to give Northern Iowa a 16-12 lead.

Needing to win out to complete the comeback, Joel Shapiro put Isaiah Patton in a headlock for a takedown eight seconds into his match. After two escapes later, Shapiro held a 3-1 cushion and started the third period on top.

The redshirt freshman rode Patton for 1 minute, 34 seconds and registered a late takedown for the 6-2 victory and cut the Northern Iowa lead to 16-15.

It came down to the final match of the day between the Cyclones’ Gannon Gremmel and the Panthers’ Carter Isley.

Scoreless after the opening three minutes, Gremmel escaped and 58 seconds later got the takedown to put him up 3-0. The redshirt junior rode Isley for 2:47 and raised both arms in victory.

Comeback complete.

“Everybody that came today got their $10 worth, and more,” Dresser said. “We fought hard in all positions, we fought hard at all weights. It’s a good win for our program and at the right time of year.”

Just over two minutes into the opening match, Northern Iowa (7-4, 6-2) was in the drivers seat.

Jay Schwarm pinned Alex Mackall in 2:17, locking him up in a cradle after the two traded reversals. It’s a rebound win after Mackall put together a 19-4 tech fall win back in November.

“He came out and attacked a whole bunch,” Schwab said. “I remember that match [at the Cyclone Open] and Schwarm certainly did.”

Todd Small (133) and Ian Parker (141) remained perfect through the weekend with decision wins to tie it up at six.

Max Thomsen made it 5-0 all-time against Jarrett Degen with a 3-1 sudden victory triumph at 149, which followed with Paden Moore’s 5-3 victory over Grant Stotts at 157.

Chase Straw was in a similar position as Degen, tied at one following seven minutes at 165. With 15 seconds left in the overtime period, Straw connected on a takedown for the 3-1 win over Austin Yant.

“Score the next point, that’s been the motto of my whole career,” Straw said.

Small, Parker, Straw, Colbray and Gremmel all registered takedowns in the second or third period when the score was tied or a one-to-two point difference.

When asked if that is a microcosm of this team, Colbray and Straw agreed.

“All those matches that were close, all those transitions that were close, those are national caliber matches,” Colbray said. “The more matches you can put together like that, more will go in your favor.”

Northern Iowa will regroup before traveling to face Wisconsin on Thursday night. Iowa State gets one final road dual on Saturday against Missouri before hosting North Dakota State in the regular season finale next Sunday.

“Gotta give ourself more opportunities,” Schwab said. “One thing about being a great competitor, great team, you gotta get back on the horse. We got some big matches and big things in front of us.”