The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Bonus points come easy in Iowa State’s early season success

Joseph Dicklin
Iowa State head wrestling coach Kevin Dresser talking with the press for wrestling media day in Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Oct. 31, 2023.

AMES — Iowa State has started its 2023-24 season in dominant fashion, blanking its last two opponents. The Cyclones’ most recent win was a 42-0 win over a top-20 team in Wisconsin.

Overall, the Cyclones have been explosive up and down the lineup, as bonus-point wins are flowing in across the board. The win over Wisconsin was the fewest points they have put up all season and they still put up over 40.

With the new wrestling season introducing new rules, bonus points are more important now than ever to success in the dual season. That becomes even more true with it being easier to acquire bonus-point wins. Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser said it himself when talking about the win against Wisconsin.

“I think it’s easier to get bonus points, a lot easier than it was last year,” Dresser said. “I think you saw Kysen Terukina go out there, and he got a little bit of momentum, and he could smell the bonus points. You can smell them a lot easier if you’re out there competing than you could before.”

Smelling out the bonus points and hunting down big wins will be crucial for the Cyclones going forward. Many duals are decided off bonus points. If the Cyclones split a match evenly, the result comes down to which team was more dominant on the mat.

That was true in last season’s Cy-Hawk matchup. The Cyclones split the dual evenly with Iowa, with both teams securing wins in five spots, yet Iowa State dropped the match 18-15. When it came down to it, three major decision wins for Iowa helped the Hawkeyes come out on top.

With the Cy-Hawk dual coming up, it will be crucial that Iowa State’s roster is locked in and ready for a gritty matchup. Success may come down to the Cyclones who can pull out bonus-point wins or get pins.

It was evident against Wisconsin that two weights were the stars of the show. MJ Gaitan at 174 and Will Feldkamp at 184.

Gaitan got a pin in 2:25, while Feldkamp secured his shortly after in 1:39. Although the two wrestlers are not necessarily hunting for pins, they are capable of getting them when they can.

“I’m not looking for a pin, but if it’s there, I’m gonna take it,” Gaitan said. “I’m gonna take risks in the match. I’m not scared.”

That mentality is the same across the lineup. Feldkamp said with it being easier to get bonus points this season, the team will be seeing more technical falls and major decisions.

The entire starting lineup has the capability of getting “techs and majors,” according to Feldkamp, and through three duals, that has been on display. Every wrestler has the ability to get bonus points when it comes down to it.

That will be crucial for many of the guys who are wrestling in their first Cy-Hawk dual, but also for the guys looking for revenge from last season. One of those revenge seekers will be Gaitan, who took the mat against Iowa as a true freshman.

Although Gaitan dropped his last Cy-Hawk match by major decision, he is ready to show how far he has come.

“Don’t ever count out MJ Gaitan,” Dresser said.

Gaitan has taken strides since last season, which was evident against Wisconsin. His pin was a statement win on Iowa State’s dominant performance.

The pin also lit a fire under the remaining wrestlers for Iowa State, as they wanted to finish the dual strong.

“I couldn’t let MJ [Gaitan] get the only pin of the dual,” Feldkamp said.

Although Feldkamp wanted to one-up Gaitan, he did not even know Gaitan got a pin before him. He heard the cheers from the crowd, but was not sure how big the win was until he was on the mat.

At that point, Feldkamp was more worried about putting on a show in his Cyclone debut. The 2023 All-American is a known pin machine, as his dominance on the mat last season was a big factor in him making it far in the NCAA Tournament.

Even though Feldkamp has a knack for getting pins, and even got one in his first match as a Cyclone, he is more focused on getting wins for his team.

“If I don’t get a pin, I don’t get a pin. A win is still a win,” Feldkamp said. “Not all my matches are going to be pins. I know that.”

That mindset may serve him well going forward, as the Cyclones will navigate a gauntlet of a schedule, starting with Iowa. Going up against teams like Iowa, it is tough to just get wins, let alone pins.

Feldkamp knows that he, along with the rest of the team, have to slow things down and focus on what is in front of them.

“I still have matches where I’ll be impatient, I’ll be looking for a pin, and I don’t get it. I’ll hear my dad in the back of my head yelling, ‘patience, it’ll be there, take your time…,’” Feldkamp said. “All these little things that if you don’t do it right, it can screw you in the back end.”

With the slew of big wins already in just three duals, the future is bright for the Cyclones. The win against Wisconsin was just a peek at how good the team can be.

Going into the Cy-Hawk matchup, the Cyclones are looking to continue building on momentum and keep rolling forward. If they can focus on one match at a time, they have a shot to upset one of the top teams in the nation.

“It’s always fun when you have individual success – like this is an individual sport a lot of times, it’s you versus someone else – but it’s always a lot more fun when the whole team does well,” Feldkamp said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Joseph Dicklin, Author
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *