No. 13 Iowa State set for three home duals against top competition

Ian Parker defeats his competition at 141 pounds in the matchup against Oklahoma State on Jan. 26, 2020, at Hilton Coliseum.

Sam Stuve

The Iowa State wrestling team (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) returns to Hilton Coliseum on Saturday with three duals.

Iowa State begins the day with a 1 p.m. dual against the Iowa Central Tritons (NJCAA). Following is a 3 p.m with the Lindenwood Lions (NCAA D2) and the Cyclones will end the evening at 7 p.m. with a dual against the fifth-ranked (NWCA Coaches Poll) Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

The Cyclones are ranked No. 13 in the NWCA Coaches Poll and are coming off an 18-16 win over No. 18 Oklahoma. 

“These guys are continuing to progress, they probably aren’t exactly where we want them to be, but the competition and the competing in the room has heated up all year and we to continue to get tougher as we face Oklahoma State, and going into the end of the season, it’s not going to get easier,” Iowa State Head Coach Kevin Dresser said. 

Oklahoma State has coasted to five wins and zero losses so far this season, scoring at least 29 points and outscoring its opponents by 21 points in all five duals. 

Iowa State redshirt sophomore Isaac Judge says he is excited about the opportunity to wrestle the fourth-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds this weekend, Oklahoma State sophomore Travis Wittlake.

“I’m just really excited to get that level of competition and pit myself with a guy that is potentially the number one guy in the Big 12,” Judge said. “I just want to feel that, I haven’t gotten that yet and I’m just excited.”

The Cyclones have five wrestlers who have wrestled ranked in the top 20 (redshirt seniors Sam Colbray and Jarrett Degen are both ranked but haven’t wrestled this season), led by redshirt sophomore David Carr, who is ranked third at 157. 

In last season’s dual, Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 23-9 and won seven out of the 10 matches. 

The three to win in last year’s dual for Iowa State were Ian Parker at 141, Carr at 157 and Gannon Gremmel at heavyweight. 

All three are back this season and are off to hot starts.

Parker, a redshirt senior, is 4-1 this season with a win over Dom Demas of Oklahoma, who was ranked fifth at the time. Parker’s lone loss came against Allan Hart of Missouri, who was ranked 13th at the time. 

“That’s just what he does, he draws the studs every weekend and goes out and usually takes them down,” Dresser said. “Obviously, he slipped up against Missouri, but he came back and beat a super talented guy from Oklahoma, who’s kind of had his number up until the Big 12 Championships last year. [Parker] backed up the Big 12 Championship match in fine fashion and came from behind to win on Sunday.” 

Oklahoma State’s starter at 141 is senior Kaid Brock, who ranked third in the country by InterMat but won’t be traveling with the team this weekend, according to Oklahoma State Head Coach John Smith. 

In the dual against Air Force on Jan. 22, Oklahoma State redshirt senior Dusty Hone stepped in for Brock at 141 and lost to Lenny Petersen 5-4. 

Iowa State’s Gremmel, also a redshirt senior, is 5-0 this season with a win over a top-10 opponent, Rocky Elam of Missouri. 

In his last match, Gremmel defeated Josh Heindselman 5-3 in tiebreaker period one, which sealed an 18-16 win for Iowa State in the Oklahoma dual. 

In the last two weekends, Carr has wrestled well against top-15 opponents. 

Carr, who is ranked 13th, defeated Jarrett Jacques of Missouri (14-1) and Justin Thomas of Oklahoma (4-0), both of whom are top-13 wrestlers at 157.

At 157, Oklahoma State’s junior Wyatt Sheets is ranked 12th but has only wrestled in one match this season, defeating Air Force’s Noah Blake by major decision, 12-2.

Heading into Saturday’s dual, Iowa State has question marks as to who is going to start at certain weight classes, specifically at 149 and 184. 

Degen, a 2020 NCAA Tournament qualifier at 149, has been out with injury the entire year so far and may not wrestle Saturday.

At 184, Iowa State has been without Colbray, who finished second at the 2019 Big Championships, fourth at the 2020 Big 12 Championships and was a 2019 NCAA tournament qualifier. 

“The good news is that they’re getting closer, I think we’re going to weigh in all of them and make some game-time decisions,” Dresser said in regards to whether Colbray, Degen or redshirt junior Marcus Coleman will wrestle Saturday. “They’ve been progressing in the practice room, wrestling a little bit; I’m super sensitive about putting them out there in an environment like this too early.”

Dresser said he doesn’t know if they’ve had enough “mat time.”

“Either this weekend or next weekend if they keep progressing, we’ll have all of them back in there,” Dresser said.  

Filling in for Degen has been freshman Cam Robinson, who is 3-1 this season with his lone loss coming against Brock Maueller of Missouri (dec 7-3), who is ranked third in the nation.

Dresser said Robinson is also someone they will “weigh-in and wait and see on.”

In the Oklahoma dual, freshman Ben Monroe was the starter at 149 and lost by pinfall (1:00) to Oklahoma’s Mitch Moore, who was ranked 18th at the time. 

Dresser said 184-pound wrestler Joel Shapiro should be back in action this weekend, whether that be in the varsity dual or an extra match.

Before facing the Cyclones at 7 p.m. on Saturday, the Cowboys wrestle in Cedar Falls, Iowa, against the Northern Iowa Panthers at 1 p.m.

Iowa State’s second opponent on Saturday, Lindenwood is ranked fourth in the Division II ranks and is led by Gavin Londoff at 149 and Abner Romero at 174, both of whom are the top-ranked wrestlers in their weight classes. 

The Lions are 4-0 so far this season.

Iowa Central is ranked sixth in the junior college ranks and will be wrestling its first dual of the season Saturday.  

“Back when we started scheduling for this year, I was in a take-all-comers mentality trying to reach out because I was worried that we weren’t going to get matches, and that’s probably part of the reason we have Lindenwood and [Iowa] Central coming in,” Dresser said. “They’re both high-quality programs.”