Cyclone wrestling looks to extend conference winning streak


Lee Chinyama

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

The No. 3 ranked Cyclones are on the road again for their third straight dual away from Hilton Coliseum before returning to Ames Sunday.

This will be the first time since 2017 that there has been a Beauty and the Beast event at Hilton. Iowa State wrestling and gymnastics will be competing at the same time, both starting at noon Sunday. Cyclone wrestling will face Illinois while gymnastics will bring in the Central Michigan Chippewas.

Cyclone wrestling is coming off a dramatic win on the road at No.17 Pitt. No. 10 Sam Schuyler clinched the dual with a takedown in the final 15 seconds to upset No. 5 Dayton Pitzer. In a rare occurrence, the dual was decided by criteria. The Cyclones had the advantage on match points 51-44 and sealed the dual. It was the fourth dual in program history to be decided by criteria.

The Cyclones have won 17 straight Big 12 duals and their streak will be put on the line again as they travel to Cedar Falls to take on No. 14 Northern Iowa. Junior Kyle Biscoglia for the Panthers is ranked No. 10 and will present a problem for the Cyclones at 133. No. 21 Zach Redding for Iowa State will have his hands full with Biscoglia.

The Cyclones will have to face another top-10 wrestler at 141, No. 9 Cael Happel. Freshman Casey Swiderski will have a chance to rebound after his narrow 5-4 defeat on Sunday against Cole Matthews of Pitt.

The first top-15 match of the evening will be at 149 and features No. 10 Paniro Johnson and No. 14 Colin Realbuto of Northern Iowa. Johnson has gotten the Cyclones on the board in their last two duals. Johnson may once again wrestle a top-25 opponent at a turning point in the dual, something the freshman has been comfortable with so far in his career.

The 157-pound class will feature No. 21 Derek Holschlag of Northern Iowa and No. 27 Jason Kraisser for the Cyclones. Kraisser is coming off an 8-5 decision against Jared Keslar of Pitt. This match will continue the ongoing trend of the night; highly ranked wrestlers from highly ranked teams battling against each other in a highly ranked conference.

Another top-15 match will be at 165 when No. 2 David Carr faces No. 13 Austin Yant. Carr has been on a tear this season, winning 23 straight matches. His 23rd straight victory came against No. 24 Holden Heller of Pitt.

Perhaps the closest ranked meeting of the evening will be at 174 and features No. 24 Lance Runyon for Northern Iowa against No. 25 Julien Broderson for the Cyclones.

For those who disagree with Broderson and Runyon being the closest ranked wrestlers of the night, No. 2 Parker Keckeisen and No. 4 Marcus Coleman are. The match at 184 is the marquee matchup for Friday night. Two top-four opponents at a momentous point in the dual.

The winner of this could put their team in the driver’s seat of the dual or help their team climb out of a deficit. Either way, No. 2 Parker Keckeisen for Northern Iowa and No. 4 Marcus Coleman will be in a war Friday night. After 184, the Cyclones will not face another ranked opponent for the rest of the dual.

This weekend features two top-20 dual opponents for the Cyclones, multiple top-15 individual matches, and an event at Hilton Coliseum making its first appearance since 2017.

As Iowa State’s impressive 2023 regular season campaign starts to wind down, every dual becomes more and more important. The Cyclones have a chance to win three straight duals on the road and come home to face a top-20 team in front of a packed Hilton Coliseum as a part of one of the premier athletic events in Ames.

The No. 3 Cyclones will face No. 14 Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. Friday in Cedar Falls and will be available to watch on FloWrestling. Then, Iowa State will return to Ames and face No. 20 Illinois in the Beauty and the Beast event at noon Sunday. The dual can also be streamed on ESPN+.