Iowa State has chance to ‘make a statement’


Daniel Jacobi II

Iowa State’s Casey Swiderski holds on to Arizona State’s Jesse Vasquez in Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 8, 2023.

AMES — Marcus Coleman and Yonger Bastida were rivals once.

The teammates were both competing for the starting spot in the 197-weight class after Bastida joined the Iowa State program in 2020. Coleman was an NCAA qualifier at 184 pounds, but with Bastida around, the competition took a step up.

In Bastida, Iowa State added a killer to the wrestling room, Coleman said. He knew he would have to bring his best to practice every day.

After Coleman moved to the 184-weight class, the pair’s rivalry developed into a bond where the two could build off each other and both improve as wrestlers.

“We were rivals at first and now we’re really good friends and training partners,” Coleman said. “Having him has been a blessing in my career.”

Now, both Coleman and Bastida are ranked in the top five in their own weight class. And when Iowa State takes on No. 29 Oklahoma and No. 12 Oklahoma State this weekend, both will have a top-20 opponent.

No. 3 Iowa State (10-2) will face Oklahoma (7-3) on Friday night and Oklahoma State (8-1) on Sunday afternoon for duals at Hilton Coliseum.

The matchup pits historical leaders in the Big 12 conference against Iowa State, the conference’s current leader.

“This is a good chance to make a statement,” Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser said.

Dresser acknowledged the history of Oklahoma State and its head coach John Smith. Under the leadership of Smith, the Cowboys have won 21 team conference tournament championships. Smith himself has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year 12 times.

For Dresser and the Cyclones, Friday and Sunday’s dual will be a chance to dethrone a pair conference powerhouse, making a major statement in the process.

The matchup between the Cyclones and Cowboys will have nine matchups between nationally ranked wrestlers. According to InterMat individual rankings, the Cyclones have the favorite for six of those matchups.

But Oklahoma State has won its last five duals and is 8-1 overall with a loss to Minnesota.

“They’re going to come tough,” Dresser said. “Oklahoma State wrestled as good last week as they have all year.”

Most recently, the Cowboys beat West Virginia 28-7. They will face Northern Iowa on Saturday at 7 p.m., just before traveling to Ames to face the Cyclones.

Notable matchups will come at 184 and 197 pounds when the Cyclones face the Cowboys.

Coleman will face No. 11 Travis Wittlake, and Bastida will match up with No. 18 Luke Surber.

Against Iowa State Friday evening, the Cyclones will face the 2021 conference champions. The Sooners are 7-3 and ranked No. 29 nationally.

Oklahoma always finds a way to be more consistent up and down its lineup as the season goes on, Dresser said. The No. 29 ranked Sooners pose a threat to the Cyclones if they fire on all cylinders.

“We can’t overlook them one bit,” Dresser said.

The Sooners will bring top-20 wrestlers to Hilton Coliseum at the 149, 165 and 285-pound weight classes.

No. 2 David Carr will wrestle Oklahoma’s Gerrit Nijenhuis, and No. 19 ranked Mitch Moore will match up with No. 6 Paniro Johnson for Iowa State.

Iowa State’s Sam Schuyler will have two top-20 matchups during the weekend. On Friday, Schuyler will face No. 19 Josh Heindselman. Then on Sunday, Oklahoma State heavyweight No. 24 Konner Doucet will face Schuyler.

“I think we’re just going to take it one match at a time,” Schuyler said. “All of us are going to open up the score. I think we’ll need bonus points in both duals.”

“Should be fun.”

Friday’s match will begin at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s will begin at 2 p.m. They can both be streamed on ESPN+.