Cyclone wrestling opens season with ‘marquee match’


Owen Aanestad

Iowa State senior David Carr wrestles a teammate at his team’s 2022-23 media day.

Iowa State wrestling will open its 2022 season on Saturday with three duals in Jacksonville, Florida, at the Battle in the River City.

Highlighting the round robin will be the final match of the day at 5:30 p.m. when No. 14 ranked Iowa State takes on No. 12 ranking Wisconsin.

The Cyclones will face Little Rock and Campbell at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Iowa State’s 13-dual win streak will be on the line. The Cyclones have not lost a head-to-head dual since Dec. 5, 2021, against Iowa.

Iowa State holds the second-longest winning streak in collegiate wrestling.

“Hopefully, we have a marquee match,” Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser said. “I think we have a lot of high-power wrestlers. Jacksonville will be pretty entertained Saturday night.”

Wisconsin head coach and former Iowa State wrestler Chris Bono is from Jacksonville and orchestrated the event, which will be the first-ever college wrestling event in the city of Jacksonville.

Bono’s Wisconsin Badgers will bring eight nationally ranked wrestlers to the Battle in the River City. Last season, Wisconsin finished 14th at the NCAA Championships, while the Cyclones finished 22nd.

Wisconsin’s lineup includes podium finishers from last season Austin Gomez (149 pounds), Dean Hamiti (165 pounds) and Eric Barnett (125 pounds). All three Badgers are ranked within the top six nationally.

The Battle in the River City will be the first chance for former national champion David Carr to showcase his abilities in the 165-pound weight class. Carr, who won the 2021 national championship at 157, moved up a class after finishing third at the NCAAs in 2022.

At the U23 World Championships, the Iowa State senior competed at the 74kg (163 pounds) weight class. In the international event, Carr fell short of the podium with a loss in the quarterfinals.

Wisconsin will be the first of Iowa State’s 10 dual opponents ranked in the preseason rankings. Iowa State’s 2022 schedule includes five teams inside the top 10 and three inside the top five.

With Iowa State starting its season off in a weekend tournament setting, the biggest expectation for the head coach is time spent on the mat. Some Cyclones will get the opportunity for two or three matches on Saturday, Dresser said.

“Having three dual meets in a day is a lot, but I know these guys are ready for it,” Dresser said.

Five freshman members of Iowa State’s 2022 recruiting class will make the trip to Jacksonville. Out of 16 Cyclones traveling to the opening event of the season, five will be freshmen.

The recruiting class for Iowa State was the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, according to MatScouts, with prospects such as Casey Swiderski, MJ Gaitan and Evan Frost.

“That shows you the strength of that class right now,” Dresser said. “All those guys are going because they’re capable. All of them can win matches for us.”