Results and Takeaways: Jarrett Degen’s second day at the NCAA Tournament

Iowa State redshirt freshman Jarrett Degen flexes to the crowd after winning his weight class against Kyle Rae during the Iowa State vs West Virginia wrestling meet on Jan. 21. The Cyclones defeated West Virginia 25-16. 

Trevor Holbrook

Iowa State wrestling scored one team point in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Entering Friday, redshirt freshman 149-pounder Jarrett Degen singlehandedly matched that total for the 2018 tournament with a first-round win over Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal.

Degen tacked on two more team points in the backside of the bracket with wins over Minnesota’s Steve Bleise and Virginia’s Sam Krivus, but Degen missed the cut for All-American honors after a loss to Arizona State’s Jason Tsirtsis.

Late Period Takedowns

The redshirt freshman’s first NCAA Tournament looked like it might be cut short in his opening match on the backside of the bracket.

Bleise snagged a takedown against Degen, but as Degen attempted to escape, Bleise was called for stalling.

After they reset, Degen escaped cutting the deficit to 2-1. Next, Degen added a takedown towards the end of the first period to take a 3-2 lead after one period.

In the second period, Degen escaped to take a 4-2 lead, but this time Bleise picked up the late-period takedown to knot the score at four. Bleise also piled up over a minute of riding time.

Bleise carried the momentum into the third period, picking up an early takedown. Degen escaped, making the score 6-5 in Bleise’s favor; Bleise still had riding time on his side, too.

With less than 15 seconds, Degen attacked.

Degen closed the period with a takedown. As the buzzer sounded Degen had a 7-6 lead, but Bleise’s riding time tied the score at seven.

In sudden victory, Bleise appeared exhausted. Bleise went for a big shot, but Degen fended it off. Near the edge of the mat, Degen maneuvered his way behind Bleise, picking up the winning takedown.

Match Takeaway: Degen’s Endurance

Degen’s ability to score clutch takedowns in sudden victory and at the end of the third period landed him the win. Before the late heroics, though, Degen’s pace set him up to succeed.

Bleise and Degen were neck-and-neck most of the match, but Bleise ran out of steam. Bleise failed to avoid a takedown in short time, and when sudden victory rolled around the gas tank was empty.

Crushing Krivus

After narrowly defeating Bleise, Degen put his foot on the gas pedal against Virginia’s Sam Krivus.

Unlike his match with Bleise, Degen drew first blood with a first-period takedown. Degen entered the second period with a 2-0 lead, and the Montana native added an escape and a takedown to push it to 5-0.

Between the second and third period, Krivus had to use some injury time, netting Degen another point.

In the third period, Krivus was called for stalling, extending Degens lead to 7-0. Degen’s 3:08 of riding time pushed his win to an 8-0 major decision for the redshirt freshman.

Match Takeaway: Degen’s Length

Degen didn’t have too much trouble handing Krivus a loss, but Degen’s lengthiness was a big part of the lopsided match.

Even though Degen didn’t give up any points, he did almost give up a takedown. Krivus connected on a single leg shot and held one of Degen’s legs, while Degen hopped around on the other.

Krivus tried to trip Degen’s planted leg, but Degen was too tall for Krivus to cut him. Ultimately, Krivus couldn’t do anything with it, so he released Degen. Krivus squandered his best opportunity at offense because of how tall Degen is.

Edged Out

In the bloodround, Degen matched up with Arizona State’s Jason Tsirtsis. Tsirtsis — a former National Champion — got on the board early, scoring a takedown in the first period.

After the first period, Tsirtsis held a 2-1 lead with over a minute of riding time. In the second period, the only scoring belonged to Tsirtsis, after the redshirt senior escaped early in the period.

In the third period, Degen escaped quickly, but Tsirtsis still had over a minute of riding time. Leading 3-2, Tsirtsis was called twice for stalling, moving the score to 3-3.

At the end of the third period, Degen was scrambling for a last-second takedown, and he nearly earned one. After the match, the near-takedown was reviewed, but it was ruled no takedown again.

With riding time in his favor, Tsirtsis tacked on another point. Degen’s tournament ended on Friday night after the 4-3 loss.

Match Takeaway: Riding Time Buries Degen’s Postseason

Facing a former NCAA Champion, Degen had little margin for error. Degen utilized his pace again and also used his length as he did in the first two matches, but the redshirt freshman still fell short.

The deciding factor — the extra riding time point — was nearly erased by Degen. Degen did a nice job of escaping at the beginning of the third period, getting out in nine seconds.

Degen needed to capitalize at the start of the second period, though. With Degen starting on top, he was able to whittle Tsirtsis’ riding time down to 1:01, but he couldn’t manage to lower it under the one minute threshold.