Three Big Takeaways: Three Cyclones earn All-American honors at NCAAs

Ian Parker wrestles against Oklahoma’s Jacob Butler at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship on March 5 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.(Photo by Brett Rojo/Big 12 Conference)

Adarsh Tamma

Coming off a day that saw five of its wrestlers get eliminated, Iowa State bounced back at the NCAA Championships on Friday with a trio of individuals earning All-American honors.

The Cyclones finished the second day of the national championships at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with an overall record of 12-2 across four weight classes and now sit at 19th in the overall team standings with 28.5 points.

While the hopes of a team title are far out of the reach, Iowa State will bring home some hardware with David Carr, Marcus Coleman and Yonger Bastida all winning enough matches on Friday to earn a spot among the top eight in their respective weight classes. All three wrestlers had to put up a solid fight in order to earn their All-American honors, with a few of their wins coming in nail-biter fashion.

Parker knocked out in consolation

Redshirt senior Ian Parker’s collegiate career came to a close in the morning session with a loss in the second round of the consolation bracket. The Saint Johns, Mich., native fell to Nebraska’s Chad Red in a close match, 7-5.

This was the third meeting between Parker and Red, with their last encounter coming in the consolation second round of last season’s national championships. Red won that matchup in St. Louis 12-8, and went on to earn All-American status by finishing in sixth place.

It was Red who controlled the tempo at the start of Friday’s match, as the Indianapolis native scored a couple of quick takedowns in the first period to open the scoring. Parker got on the board with an escape in each of the first two periods to make the score 4-2 heading into the third.

The final period saw a back-and-forth exchange, as Parker was awarded a penalty point and scored a takedown with just over a minute left to cut the lead to one point. Red stopped any hopes of a Parker comeback though, as the Cornhusker scored an escape and locked up the riding time advantage to come out on top. Red went on to fall to Oregon State’s Grant Willits in the round of 12 by a score of 3-2, with Willits now guaranteed a spot on the All-American roster.

Parker leaves Iowa State with a handful of records in four years, as he is one of just 48 wrestlers in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships four times. He was also named an All-American in 2020, taking the Big 12 title that season and finishing runner-up in 2021. Parker finished his career as a Cyclone with an overall record of 93-30.

Carr earns third All-American honor

Reigning national champion David Carr was handed a major upset in the second round, as the defending national champion lost 2-1 to Oregon State’s Hunter Willits on Thursday evening to stall his 55-match winning streak.

Carr bounced back in the consolation brackets on Sunday, earning four straight victories to ensure All-American status for the third consecutive year.

Carr became Iowa State’s 35th wrestler to be named a three-time All-American, and the first since fellow national champion Kyven Gadson achieved the feat from 2013-15 at 197 pounds. 

Carr started off Friday with a pair of close victories over familiar opponents. The Perry, Ohio native first defeated Oklahoma State’s Wyatt Sheets 3-2 in the consolation first round thanks to two points off of a reversal and managing to lock up riding time. Carr got another close win over Kaleb Young of Iowa, whom he defeated 6-2 in the Cy-Hawk dual meet on Dec. 5. Scoring a takedown towards the end of the second period to break the deadlock, Carr was able to take the riding time point again and win by a score of 5-3.

North Dakota State’s Jared Franek awaited Carr in the round of 12, as the pair met for the third time this season. In a rematch of the Big 12 Championship, Carr again came through in a tight encounter 4-3.

With the score level at 2-2 in the third period, Franek was able to take control on riding time twice, and broke the deadlock early on with an escape. Carr struck late though, landing a takedown with 26 seconds left to escape with the victory and earn an All-American spot.

Carr’s final match of the night was to be against Austin O’Connor of North Carolina, but the Tarheel grappler medically forfeited the match due to injury, and will finish in eighth place. Carr will face off against Michigan’s Will Lewan for the right to compete in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Coleman, Bastida sneak into top eight

In the 184-pound weight class, senior Marcus Coleman added to Iowa State’s All-American honors by going 3-1 in his consolation bracket and be named among the nation’s best for the first time.

Coleman’s hopes for a national title were stopped on Thursday when he was pinned by Illinois’ Zach Braunagel in the second round, who went on to suffer defeat against the top overall seed, Myles Amine of Michigan.

The Ames native started off strong in the consolation bracket, recording his first win of the tournament with a 6-1 decision over Princeton’s Travis Stefanik. The match included a third period that saw Coleman go on a 4-0 run by recording an escape, takedown and riding time point.

Coleman’s next match against Dakota Greer of Oklahoma turned out to be a high scoring affair, with both wrestlers registering double digit marks. With the Cyclone starting off the match with a commanding 6-1 lead after the first period, Greer stormed back in the second off a big four-point near-fall towards the end to cap off a 9-5 run. Greer also got points off of an escape, takedown and reversal to make it a one-point match heading into the final two minutes.

The third period saw Coleman re-establish his command over the match, as he was able to land three takedowns in a little over a minute to increase his lead. Greer could only get points off of a trio of escapes as Coleman locked up the riding time point as well to earn an 18-13 victory.

The next round saw Coleman record a 13-2 major decision over Trey Munoz of Oregon State in the round of 12, but his chances to compete for the third place spot were cut short by Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero.

The Buckeye gave Coleman a taste of his own medicine, defeating him on major decision, 13-4 thanks to a four-point near-fall and four takedowns. Coleman will take on Cornell’s Jonathan Loew in the seventh-place match on Saturday.

Friday’s wins also served as a second chance for Coleman, who failed to make the round of 12 – often called the “blood round” by some fans for its intense nature – after he lost out Purdue’s Thomas Penola in the 197-pound division last season.

Sophomore 197-pounder Yonger Bastida kept his hopes of a bronze medal alive with five straight wins in his bracket. The Cuban native, who is competing in his first NCAA tournament, fell out of the main bracket on Thursday after losing in a hard-fought match 1-0.

Bastida, like his teammate Carr, came out firing in his opening consolation match against Maryland’s Jaron Smith, as he scored a three takedowns and a reversal across the second and third periods to earn an 11-4 win on decision.

Next up for Bastida was Kordell Norfleet of Arizona State, who took the lead 1-0 with an escape at the 1:56 mark in the second period. Bastida responded quickly,  scoring a couple of points on a takedown to end the second period before choosing bottom to start the third. That final period saw him score another couple of points, this time on a reversal, as he came away with a 4-2 victory.

The blood round matchup for Bastida was a familiar face in the form of Oklahoma’s Jake Woodley, who had beaten him in each of their three previous encounters. This included a 4-2 defeat on Jan. 28 in the Cyclones’ dual against the Sooners.

In a tight, back-and-forth matchup, Bastida took the lead off a takedown late in the first period for a 2-0 start. The second period really put the “blood” in blood round, as Bastida seemed to lose a tooth while involved in a scramble with Woodley.

The Sooner tacked on an escape in the second, and then tied things up late in the third with another escape and takedown. Bastida had the last word though, as he was able to escape with 47 seconds left and earn his first victory over Woodley 5-4.

With the All-American status secured, Bastida continued his winning streak with a 4-3 victory over Greg Bulsak of Rutgers to close out the evening session for the Cyclones. He will once again face off against the No. 2 seed, Stephen Buchanan of Wyoming, in the consolation semifinals. The pair last met at the Big 12 Championships, where Buchanan pinned Bastida in 6:57.

The final day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships kicks off on Saturday from Detroit at 10 am CST with the wrap-up of the consolation bracket matches. All ten finals will be shown live on ESPN at 8 pm in the final session of the tournament.