Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State wrestling falls short on day one

Iowa State redshirt junior Joel Devine wrestles West Virginia’s Dennis Robin at the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championships on March 6. Devine finished 7th at the Big 12 Championships. (Photo by Brett Rojo/Big 12 Conference)

Christian Royston

Iowa State entered the NCAA Championships with high hopes, as the nine qualifying wrestlers had wins on the mind. The strong tournament field proved to be too much to handle for the Cyclones, as the team had a rocky first day.

There were not many highlights for the Cyclones, as none of the nine wrestlers moved onto the quarterfinals of the tournament. Five wrestlers saw their tournament cut short on the first day as well.

Penn State leads the field going into day two, as Iowa State came out battered and bruised in the 30th position with just five points.

Day one dropouts

It was clear out of the gates that Iowa State was not starting out on the right foot.

After taking the Big 12 dual season title and placing third at the Big 12 Championships, expectations were high for this Iowa State wrestling team. It would be tough to live up to those expectations that were formed in the dominant regular season. 

The struggles started early as Kysen Terukina kicked the tournament for the Cyclones in the 125-pound weight class against Oklahoma State’s Trevor Mastrogiovanni. After battling hard to keep the match close, the wrestlers entered the third and final period tied with two points. 

Mastrogiovanni scored a final takedown in the last minute of the match to take the match by 4-2 decision and send Terukina down to the consolation bracket early. Terukina would take on Rutger’s Dylan Shawver Thursday night to kick of the consolation rounds for the Cyclones.

Terukina and Shawver each scored takedowns to enter the second period with Shawver leading 3-2. Terukina scored an escape midway through the second period and again to start the third. The match played out similarly to Terukina’s first match, as Shawver scored a late takedown to take the match by 6-4 decision. Terukina would leave his second NCAA tournament with a 15-8 record on the season.

After taking third-place at the Big 12 Championships, Ramazan Attasauov entered the NCAA Championships seeded at No. 24. Unfortunately for Attasauov, his tournament hopes were dashed early as he was forced to forfeit his first match against Penn’s Michael Colaiocco. Attasauov would have to medically forfeit out of the tournament and finish the year with a record of 16-8. 

No. 17 Jarrett Degen kicked off his fifth NCAA tournament in the 149 weight class facing off against Oklahoma’s Willie McDougald. The match would play out with explosive and exciting wrestling from both sides. 

A takedown in the first period and an escape in the second would put Degen up 4-2 after two periods. McDougald fired shots of his own to score a reversal to start the third period and put Degen on his back for four swipes. The Nearfall would prove to be too much for Degen to come back from as he fell by 10-7 decision.

In the 149-pound consolation bracket, No. 32 Zachary Sherman from North Carolina came out hot against Degen. Two takedowns in the first period for Sherman put him up 4-1 early. The deficit would be too much for Degen to come back from as he fell by 5-2 decision. Degen finished his Cyclone career with an impressive 92-35 record, highlighted by being the only Cyclone wrestler ever to qualify for five NCAA Championships.

No. 24 Joel Devine kicked off his tournament against No. 9 Mikey Labriola from Nebraska in the 174-pound weight class. Labriola proved to be too much to handle, as he took down Devine by a score of 5-2.

Devine had a shot to keep his tournament dreams alive against No. 8 Michael O’Malley from Drexel in the first consolation round. Devine fought hard again, but O’Malley had more in the tank and pulled out the 4-1 decision victory to end Devine’s tournament. Devine finished the season with an 11-11 record.

Sam Schuyler was the final Cyclone to see his season cut short. Schuyler was taken down early in the heavyweight division by Northwestern’s Lucas Davison by a 4-0 decision. Schuyler fought hard in the first consolation round against Lock Haven’s Isaac Reid. Reid got the better of Schuyler to finish Schuyler off by 8-5 decision. Schuyler ended the season with a 17-8 record.

Necessary bonus points

With the early losses, the Cyclones would need to rack up bonus points when they could if they want to stay competitive in the tournament. After the first two rounds, Iowa State sat near the bottom of the standings with just 5.5 team points. 

No. 1 David Carr scored Iowa State’s first team points in the 157-pound first-round match. Carr took on Northern Iowa’s Derek Holschlag and came out firing on all cylinders. Shots were fired back an forth, as Carr entered the second period with a 9-5 lead.

However, it was all Carr from there on out. Carr started his productive second period with an escape, takedown and two nearfalls to take a 16-5 lead. Another nearfall and a takedown late in the final period put the technical fall in sight. With over three minutes of riding time, Carr picked up his 55th straight win with a 21-6 technical fall.

No. 8 Marcus Coleman kept the Cyclones rolling in the 184-pound weight class. Coleman started off hot against Virginia’s Michael Battista to lead 4-1 going into the second period.

Another takedown for Coleman gave him a 6-2 lead in the final period. Coleman was able to close out the match strong and secure bonus points for the Cyclones with a 10-2 major decision.

The bonus points will come in handy when if the Cyclones want battle through the consolation bracket and climb up the team standings. The Cyclones enter day two of the tournament with five points, sitting at No. 30 in the team standings.

Upsets across the board

The first upset came in the 141-pound weight class, as No. 13 Ian Parker faced off against Purdue’s Parker Filius. Filius had his way in the match as he handed Parker a defeat by 13-5 major decision, to send Parker to the consolation bracket earlier than expected.

Coleman entered the second round of the 184-pound weight class with a tough match against Illinois’ Zach Braunagel, who entered just one seed lower than Coleman.

An escape by Braunagel in the second saw Coleman fall behind by just one point going into the third. Coleman escaped to tie up the match and send it into overtime. Coleman got a shot in on the edge, but couldn’t secure the takedown. Braunagel proved to have more in the tank at the end and finished off Coleman with a takedown late in the sudden victory overtime period to win by 3-1 decision.

Bastida had a tough match of his own against Missouri’s Rocky Elam. Elam escaped to start the second to enter the final period with a 1-0 lead. Bastida chose to start the third period neutral, as it might have been tough to escape Elam’s control from the bottom position. Elam fended Bastida off for the two-minute period to send Bastida down to the consolation bracket and dash Iowa State’s last hope of a national champion.

These upsets pale in comparison to the 157-pound second round.

Carr entered the tournament as the tournament favorite in the 157-pound weight class, ranked first in the nation. His opponent in the second round was Oregon State’s Hunter Willits, seeded 17th in the tournament.

The match was even through the first seven minutes. Both wrestlers fought hard and gave up no ground as they entered the first sudden victory overtime period tied 1-1. Carr started the first period of ride outs on the bottom. Despite his best efforts, Carr couldn’t escape Willits strong grip as they entered the second 30-second period with 30 seconds of riding on the board for Willits.

Carr would need to ride out or score a takedown to keep his hopes alive. With time running out, Willits gave his all into a final push and slipped out of Carr’s grip, stunning the nation as he took down the top ranked Carr by a 2-1 decision victory.

Carr will be back on the mat Friday morning as he looks to leave the tournament with a third-place finish. 

The NCAA tournament will continue with the consolation matches at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Little Caeser’s Arena in Detroit. The first session will be streamed live on ESPNU, while the second session will be streamed live on ESPN.