Cyclone wrestling hits the road against West Virginia and Pitt


Lee Chinyama

Yonger Bastida at the ISU vs. OSU wrestling meet on Jan. 29.

The Cyclones are back in the top three of the NWCA poll and will hit the road for four of their five final dual meets of the season before the Big 12 tournament in Tulsa beginning March 4.

After an impressive weekend against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Iowa State will be in Morgantown, West Virginia, for a meet against the West Virginia Mountaineers and will then travel to Pittsburgh for a non-conference meet against No. 18 Pitt.

West Virginia is 1-3 in the Big 12 and 7-3 on the season. No. 18 Pitt is 2-0 in the ACC and 8-2 overall. Pitt’s two losses came to Maryland and West Virginia.

The Mountaineers are a familiar opponent for the Cyclones as this is the 22nd meeting between the two programs. The Cyclones have had West Virginia’s number in the series, posting a 20-2 record against the Mountaineers all time. Iowa State has won four meets in a row against West Virginia.

The match at 125 will be a test for Iowa State against West Virginia. The highest-ranked Mountaineer wrestler is No. 4 c. He will wrestle against either Caleb Fuessley or Conor Knopick.

Knopick is coming off a 2-0 defeat against at-the-time No. 21 Joey Prata of Oklahoma. Fuessley could see his first match of the season against a ranked opponent if Cyclone head coach Kevin Dresser gives him the green light.

The match of the evening will be in the 165lb class as No. 2 David Carr will take on No. 10 Peyton Hall for West Virginia.

Carr has been nothing short of dominant, winning 21 straight matches. Of his 15 victories this season, Carr has earned bonus points in eight of them, including four of the last five. He has 54 takedowns this season and has allowed one. The three-time All-American is on a hot streak but will have his work cut out for him against Hall.

Pitt is a slightly different story; they are an uncommon opponent for the Cyclones. The two teams have not met since 2017, which was a 22-15 defeat for Iowa State on the road.

This is only the ninth time the Cyclones and Panthers have met on the mat and Iowa State has not defeated Pitt since 2004. Iowa State has a 5-3 advantage in the series, but all three losses have come on the road in Pittsburgh.

Iowa State will have to deal with at least five Pitt wrestlers ranked in the top 25, six if No. 5 Dayton Pitzer wrestles at 285 instead of unranked Jake Slinger.

The highlight of the day will be a top-5 match at 197 between No. 5 Yonger Bastida of Iowa State and No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt. Bastida is 12-1 on the season and Bonaccorsi is 10-0. Bastida has a team-leading 55 takedowns this season.

Freshman Casey Swiderski will have a major opportunity to rebound after losing two straight matches. He will face No. 3 Cole Matthews of Pitt who is 13-1 this season. One of the spearheads of the highly-touted Cyclone freshman class will have a huge test on Saturday.

One of the other leaders in the freshman class, No. 10 Paniro Johnson, will face two top 30 wrestlers. Johnson will be up against No. 25 Sam Hillegas of West Virginia and No. 29 Tyler Badgett of Pitt.

The Cyclones will face West Virginia at 6 p.m. Friday and Pitt at 6 p.m. Saturday in Pittsburgh. Both meets will be available to stream on ESPN+.