Three Big Takeaways: Carr, Johnson earn Big 12 titles


Lee Chinyama

David Carr at the ISU vs. OSU wrestling meet on Jan. 29.

No. 5 Iowa State wrestling finished third at the Big 12 Championships Sunday. The Cyclones earned two conference championships, with Marcus Coleman, Sam Schuyler and Zach Redding placing second individually.

Iowa State senior David Carr recorded his fourth individual Big 12 Conference Championship, this time at 165-pounds. Carr topped highly ranked 165-pounder Keegan O’Toole for the second time this season in the final match of the final session Sunday night.

Carr became the eleventh Big 12 wrestler in history to win four conference championships.

Iowa State freshman Paniro Johnson completed his rematched Brock Mauller with a win in the finals. Johnson became the Big 12 Champion at 149-pounds with a late takedown to make the score 8-4 and seal the win. Johnson was pinned by Mauller in the first matchup of the wrestlers earlier this season.

O’Toole’s Missouri Tigers took home the team title, scoring 148 team points. Missouri secured the Big 12 Conference team title for the fifth consecutive season. The Cyclones finished with 131 team points.

Carr-O’Toole rematch

Top-ranked 165-pounders David Carr and Keegan O’Toole capped off the night with their highly anticipated rematch. This time, three periods were not enough to decide a Big 12 champion in the match between No. 1 and No. 2.

David Carr scored the only takedown during regulation. He held a 3-2 lead in the third period when O’Toole forced a stall call against Carr to force the match to sudden victory. Carr remained the aggressor in the extra period. He earned a takedown and then pinned O’Toole to finish a forth Big 12 Championship season.

O’Toole and Carr have been on a crash course all season since David Carr made the move up to 165-pounds.

The senior for Iowa State and sophomore for Missouri crossed paths for the second time in less than a month. This time, Carr was ranked No. 1, and O’Toole was ranked No. 2 in the 165-weight class.

The Cyclones traveled to Missouri for the final dual of the regular season Feb. 25. Entering that matchup between the top athletes at 165, O’Toole held bragging rights over Carr. O’Toole was No. 1 and Carr was No. 2. Still, Carr topped O’Toole by a 7-2 decision, capping off an undefeated regular season and stealing the No. 1 spot in the process.

Carr now has two wins over O’Toole. The Missouri wrestler has lost just three times in his career.

The two top wrestlers will most likely face one another yet again in the NCAA Championships on March 16-18. Both will be searching for a second national championship. O’Toole is the defending NCAA Champion at 165-pounds.

Five finalists

Iowa State sent five wrestlers to the finals, the most since it sent six in the 2015 Big 12 Championships.

Along with Big 12 Champions Johnson and Carr, Schuyler, Coleman and Redding finished second in the conference. All the Iowa State runners-up faced the No. 1 seed in their bracket in the finals.

At 285-pounds, Schuyler faced the defending champion, Wyatt Hendrickson. He fell 8-2 to the No. 1 seed from Air Force.

Coleman became the runner-up at 184-pounds after losing to No. 1 seeded Parker Keckeisen. Coleman fell short of a Big 12 Championship once again. In his five-year career, Coleman has placed second, third, fourth and fifth place twice.

The No. 3 seed Redding fell to No. 1 Daton Fix from Oklahoma State. Redding defeated No. 2 Kyle Biscoglia on Saturday to earn his way to the finals.

Five wrestle-back to podium

In session three, five Cyclones worked their ways through the consolation brackets to earn spots on the podium. Unseeded Casey Swiderski placed fourth to cap off an impressive overall weekend in Tulsa.

Swiderski lost six of his last seven matches to finish the regular season after gaining impressive wins early in the year. The highly touted freshman fell from the national rankings while battling tough competition. Seven of Swiderski’s eight losses came to nationally-ranked wrestlers, including to No. 9 Cael Happel of Northern Iowa.

Saturday, Swiderski defeated No. 3 seeded Happel for an upset win. Sunday, the Iowa State freshman advanced due to an injury forfeit then faced No. 5 Clay Carlson from South Dakota State for third place. Swiderski’s wrestle-back narrowly fell short, however.

Swiderski tied the match 3-3 but allowed Carlson enough riding time to take the victory.

Jason Kraisser earned his way to the third-place match in the 157-pound bracket. He faced Jacob Wright of Wyoming and lost 7-6 on account of a riding time point.

Iowa State’s Yonger Bastida placed sixth in the 197-pound bracket while Corey Cabanban and Julien Broderson placed eighth in the bracket.