Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones finish third at Big 12 Championships

Iowa State’s Marcus Coleman takes down North Dakota State’s DJ Parker in the consolation semifinals at the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championships on March 6. Coleman won 18-2 technical fall. (Photo by Brett Rojo/Big 12 Conference)

Christian Royston

The Big 12 Wrestling Championship weekend had ups and downs for the Iowa State wrestling, but it still ended in a third-place finish with a single Big 12 champion in David Carr at 157 pounds.

The weekend was dominated by Missouri wrestlers, with its first year back in the Big 12 Conference yielding a first-place team finish with a score of 131.5. Before the finals matches took place, Missouri had already secured the win with a comfortable lead.

It was a battle for the top three, as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Northern Iowa looked to knock Iowa State down to fifth. The Cyclones did not budge and, at the end of the day, trailed just Missouri and Oklahoma, finishing with a score of 110.

Close matches

The theme of the day seemed to be who could hold out longer in each match.

Day two of the tournament for the Cyclones began with Ramazan Attasauov going head-to-head against Oklahoma’s Anthony Madrigal in the 133-pound weight class. Neither wrestler budged an inch throughout the whole bout, and the final score showed how gritty it was.

Attasauov got the better of Madrigal, as Attasauov’s 1:21 of riding time was enough to give him the 2–1 decision victory and push him to the consolation finals. Attasauov was able to hang onto the early lead he obtained in the third-place match against Air Force’s Sydney Flores.

An 8–5 decision gave Attasauov the win and a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships.

The grind-it-out nature of the matches wouldn’t end there, as Kysen Terukina faced off against Missouri’s Noah Surtin in the seventh-place match.

Terukina fought hard to push the match to overtime, but Surtin had more in the tank, and an early takedown gave Surtin the 5–3 victory and saw Terukina walk away from the tournament with an eighth-place finish.

Following a couple of tough losses by the Cyclones, Jarrett Degen put on a show in what ended up being one of the most entertaining matches of the day. At 149 pounds, Degen took on Missouri’s Josh Edmond, who he had beaten in the season’s final dual meet by a 9–7 decision.

Edmond jumped out to an early lead by scoring four takedowns to Degen’s one, as they entered the second period close with Edmond leading 8–6.

Both wrestlers took shots throughout the match, but Degen appeared to have more.

A hard-fought final period saw Degen close the gap to 11–13 as time was running out. Degen scored a final takedown to tie up the score with just seconds left, and overtime appeared to be around the corner. 

Degen wanted to end the match right then and there, and with a final effort, he rolled Edmond onto his back. As the clock hit zero, the referee swiped his hand for a second time, signaling the nearfall. With those final two points, Degen took the win by 15–13 decision.

The fight in Degen helped him punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time as he placed fourth in the Big 12 Championships. Degen also became the first five-time NCAA qualifier in Iowa State history.

One wrestler that raised questions from his matches was the No. 1 seed at 141 pounds, Ian Parker.

Parker dropped his first match of the tournament to Oklahoma’s Jacob Butler and fell to the consolation bracket much earlier than expected. 

Parker battled through the consolation bracket to start day two in the consolation semifinals. He started to look more like himself later on day one, but the start of the tournament was surprising for the top-seeded wrestler.

According to head coach Kevin Dresser, Parker had been dealing with a stomach bug Saturday, which could have affected his overall performance. This might have carried over into day two, as Parker dropped another match, this time to North Dakota State’s Dylan Droegemueller by 5–3 decision.

Parker would be fighting for fifth place, but even though he had punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships, it was clear that he wanted to finish strong at the Big 12 Championships.

Parker took the mat in the fifth-place match against Oklahoma’s Jacob Butler. Butler got the upper hand early in the match as he took a 6–1 lead going into the second. However, Parker was not going to go down without a fight.

Parker battled back to take full control of the match as he narrowed the gap to 5–7 early in the third period. He got one last takedown with just over a minute left to secure the win by an 8–7 decision thanks to his 2:22 of riding time.

Coleman battles back

One major story that developed after the first day of the tournament was how Marcus Coleman would battle back in the consolation bracket at 184 pounds.

Coleman met his kryptonite yet again in the semifinal match Saturday as he took the mat against Missouri’s Jeremiah Kent.

Kent got the better of Coleman in the final dual meet of the season after securing an early takedown to a nearfall, which resulted in a 6–0 lead for Kent. 

Coleman fought hard but couldn’t come back from the early deficit and lost for only the third time of the season. It was thought that Coleman would be able to come into the tournament fresh and get the better of Kent this time around, but something seemed off.

Coleman didn’t look like himself as the match progressed and could not make up ground against Kent. Coleman would face another loss to Kent, this time by an 8–4 decision, and would move onto the consolation semifinals.

Everything would become clear after the curtain closed on the first day of matches. Just before Coleman took the mat in the semifinal match Saturday, he received the news that his grandfather had passed away.

On day two of the tournament, Coleman had a newfound fire in his eyes. He wanted to win, and he was going to run through anyone who stood in his way.

The day started with the consolation semifinals, where Coleman took on North Dakota State’s DJ Parker. Coleman started hot as a late takedown led to a four-point nearfall as time ran out in the first period. 

Coleman kept laying on the pressure throughout the rest of the match, as more nearfalls in the final period helped him secure bonus points for the team with an 18–2 technical fall.

A third-place finish was in sight for Coleman as he faced off against Oklahoma’s Keegan Moore in the consolation finals. Coleman came out firing on all cylinders again as he took an early 4–2 lead after the first period.

Another takedown and a nearfall in the second period pushed him to a commanding lead into the final period of the match.

Coleman’s commanding lead grew early in the final period, and a technical fall turned into a likely possibility. Coleman fought hard and pulled out a major decision win by a score of 19–6 to add more bonus points to the Cyclone team total.

The emotion and relief showed on his face as the referee raised his hand into the air. At that moment, he secured the third-place finish and his fourth trip to the NCAA Championships, and the tears started to flow. 

Tickets punched

Coleman was not the only Cyclone to qualify for the NCAA Championships, as eight wrestlers in total are heading for Detroit.

Although Carr was the sole tournament winner in his weight class, the season is not over for a majority of the team. Each weight class held between 4–8 tickets to Detroit, varying for each weight class.

The first Cyclone who qualified for the 2022 NCAA Tournament was Attasauov, as he fought hard for a third-place finish in the 133-pound weight class in the Big 12 Championships. 

Carr cruised to another Big 12 Championship win at 157 pounds after his 8–2 decision victory over North Dakota State’s Jared Franek. This was his third-straight Big 12 Championship win and a third-straight trip to the NCAA Championships. He will look to defend his national title in Detroit.

The Cyclones also saw Yonger Bastida place fifth in the 197-pound weight class to send him to the NCAA Championships. Parker fell to fifth place after being seeded as No. 1 but will head to the NCAA Championships for his fourth time.

Sam Schuyler placed fourth in the heavyweight division, while Jarrett Degen placed fourth in the 149-pound weight class. Joel Devine battle hard through the 174-pound consolation bracket to place seventh and punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships.

The Cyclones saw success across the board and have a chance to make waves in the national tournament with their eight qualified wrestlers. The team was not able to come out on top of the Big 12 tournament after Missouri wrestlers dominated on all fronts.

The Cyclones will be back on the mat at the NCAA Championships, set to take place March 17-19 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.