Iowa State wrestling takes on Iowa in in-state rivalry

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.

Zane Douglas

One of the most prominent rivalries in college wrestling takes place this weekend.

On Saturday, Iowa State wrestling heads to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

“We always tell [them], the biggest match of the year is the next match,” said coach Kevin Dresser. “It’s definitely true this week.”

What makes the rivalry in wrestling between these two schools so historic is because of the years of success the Cyclones and Hawkeyes have enjoyed.

The Cyclones have not beaten the Hawkeyes in this series since the 2004-05 season. In that year, their matchup took place in Iowa City.

This matchup will also be in Iowa City at Carver Hawkeye Arena, which is known for a strong wrestling turnout due to Iowa’s prominence over the years.

“Wrestling in Carver [is] fun,” said redshirt senior Willie Miklus. “Even if you’re [on] the wrong side.”

Iowa is still one of the best teams in the country, but the Cyclones have picked up numerous transfers and recruits with Kevin Dresser in his second year as head coach.

At 125 pounds, Iowa sophomore Spencer Lee is ranked at the top of his class by InterMat, which means Iowa State redshirt sophomore Alex Mackall will have his hands full.

The most anticipated matchup will come at the 133-pound weight class. Redshirt freshman Austin Gomez for Iowa State has burst onto the scene and his hot start has earned him the No. 14 ranking by InterMat. His opponent will be sophomore NCAA qualifier Austin DeSanto.

The Pennsylvania product impressed in his true freshman season at Drexel, and now his sophomore undefeated record is being put to the test against Gomez.

“If I just go out there and wrestle my style, he won’t beat me,” Gomez said.

At 141 pounds, Iowa State redshirt sophomore Ian Parker will be sent out to face redshirt freshman Max Murin. Dresser cites this as a close matchup despite Murin being ranked No. 16 by InterMat.

The matchup between 149-pound No. 11 junior Pat Lugo for Iowa and No. 12 redshirt sophomore Jarrett Degen for Iowa State will be an important matchup. Lugo has lost two of his three matches to start the season, so Degen will have to keep Lugo from finding his stride Saturday.

“[Lugo’s] beaten some really good guys in his career,” Dresser said. “He’s a guy that, you know at the end of the year I think will be right in the hunt.”

The Hawkeyes face options with 197-pound No. 11 redshirt freshman Jacob Warner. They have wrestled redshirt freshman Connor Corbin in his place this year.

Gomez is looking forward to the hostility at Carver Hawkeye.

“If you do something spectacular that they don’t like, it’s [going to] get silent,” Gomez said.