“Nothing guaranteed” for Cyclones ahead of Big 12 Championships


Collin Maguire/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser celebrates with Kysen Terukina in the Cyclones’ 31-9 win against West Virginia on Feb. 4 in Hilton Coliseum.

Adarsh Tamma

“March Matness” has finally arrived for the Iowa State wrestling team, who will be heading to Tulsa, Okla. on Saturday and Sunday to take part in the annual Big 12 Championships.

The No. 5 Cyclones had a strong regular season, finishing with a record of 15-1 (8-0 Big 12), and were rewarded by the selection committee for their performances by being the only team to have all 10 of their wrestlers seeded.

They are led by a pair of No. 1 seeds in David Carr at 157 pounds and Ian Parker at 141. In the newly released brackets, the Cyclones have seven wrestlers who earned byes into the quarterfinals, with three others wrestling in first round matches.

Carr, the defending national champion in his weight class, is aiming to take a third consecutive Big 12 crown individually and keep his current winning streak alive, as he won his last 50 consecutive matches.

Speaking on the season that the Cyclones have had thus far, Carr spoke of the confidence that he and his teammates have gained.

“At the beginning of the year, who would’ve thought we would’ve had a season like this?,” Carr said. “But we believed, we know our goals. I think if we go out there and just wrestle hard for seven minutes and have a chip on our shoulder and go after it, I think you’re going to see that we’re a good tournament team.”

At the Daktronics Open in November, the Cyclones kicked off their season in South Dakota by taking home first place spots including Carr, who went 4-0 over the weekend and defeated opponents such as No. 11 Peyton Robb of Nebraska en route to the title.

Besides that, it’s been nearly all dual meets on Iowa State’s calendar, as the other tournaments that they have competed in were non-varsity events. This includes the season-ending Cyclone Open, where they took home a solo first place performance in Ethan Andersen at 285 pounds.

Despite their list of accomplishments in the conference this season, the Cyclones will once again be in for a test as multiple teams are in the hunt for the team title, including both Missouri and Oklahoma State.

Ian Parker discussed of the team’s mindset heading into the postseason.

“[Coach] Dresser’s really big on [the idea] that we’re all 0-0 [in the postseason],” Parker said. “That’s how it is when you get to the conference tournament and especially the NCAAs. There’s still gains to be made, and nothing is guaranteed.”

Parker will enter the weekend looking to win his second conference title after going all the way in 2020. Then the No. 2 seed, Parker clinched the title in the championship match against Oklahoma’s Dom Demas on a sudden victory 4-2. He also finished runner-up last year, falling to Demas on tiebreakers 4-3.

Parker has not only had to battle his opponents on the mat but also adversity off of it. Having suffered a minor injury to start the year, he got his season off to a late start, falling to Iowa’s Max Murin in the Cyclones’ 23-11 home loss to the Hawkeyes on Dec. 5.

The road since then has been nothing but positive for Parker, as he enters the postseason with a 9-1 record and the No. 4 ranking in his weight class.

“Typically, I’ve had bigger setbacks at the end of the year. I’m feeling the best that I have all year right now, so it’s a really cool feeling,” Parker said. “I’m really excited go out there to Tulsa.”

For head coach Kevin Dresser, the lack of tournament experience seems to not be as big of a concern heading into the postseason, as he spoke of one factor being important in the team’s success- consistency.

“We’ve might have had different guys step up, but it’s been a pretty consistent team from the time that we took off for Wyoming in January,” Dresser said. “Always just focusing on the one [match] that’s in front of us has been good for us this year.”

The action at the Big 12 Championships kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the first set of quarterfinal matches, with all matches also being streamed live on ESPN+.