Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones produce late surge to down Panthers 16-15


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State heavyweight Sam Schuyler competes against North Dakota State’s Brandon Metz on Jan. 23. 

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State wrestling team kept its undefeated streak in the Big 12 Conference alive on Friday night against Northern Iowa, but not without a fight from the Panthers.

In a hotly-contested duel at the McCleod Center in Cedar Falls, the No. 5 Cyclones escaped with a 16-15 win over No. 18 UNI after a late surge in the final two bouts to improve to a 7-0 mark in conference action, as well as 14-1 overall.

After dropping the first two matches at 125 and 133 pounds, the Cyclones responded in the next two by getting wins from Ian Parker (141) and Jarrett Degen (149) to tie things up at 6-6.

After trading the 157 and 165 pound matchups, the Panthers opened things up in at 174 and 184 pounds, as the Cyclones again fell to a six-point deficit. Lance Runyon escaped with a 1-0 win over Iowa State junior Joel Devine, while fourth-ranked Parker Keckeisen got the better of seventh-ranked Marcus Coleman in their rematch, 7-2.

Yonger Bastida and Sam Schuyler brought the Cyclones home in the last two matches of the night as they took the lead for good. Trailing 15-9, Bastida scored the only bonus points win of the duel in a 21-8 major decision victory over UNI freshman John Gunderson. Schuyler closed it with a late 3-1 win to give the Cyclones victory.

It was a matchup that lived up to the hype, as the 80th edition of this inter-state rivalry saw three lead changes over the course of the last six matches contested.

Parker’s comeback registers Cyclones’ first points

Senior Ian Parker was staring down a 4-2 lead heading into the final period in his match at 141 pounds against Cael Happel, who looked to add another three points to UNI’s tally. With Kysen Terukina and Ramazan Attasauov both falling to fellow ranked opponents in the opening pair of matches, the Cyclones were looking to respond down 6-0 but it was Happel who was providing all of the answers.

Happel controlled the pace of the match right out of the gate, registering a takedown in each of the first two periods to establish a quick 4-0 lead. The lead was as much as 5-2 in the third, as Happel looked to put Parker away.

Late in the final period, Parker responded in a big way by getting himself four points off of a near-fall to take the lead. The Saint Johns, Mich., native got another point in his favor late in the match on a stall warning against Happel, and produced a 9-5 come-from-behind win to get the Cyclones back on the board.

Had it gone the other way, the Panthers would have had a 9-0 lead after the first three matches, a position that would’ve certainly been tough for the Cyclones to come back from.

Bastida and Schuyler close the deal

Down 15-9 with two matches left, the Cyclones were again looking for answers as UNI’s Parker Keckeisen had just gotten the better of Marcus Coleman in a 7-2 win at 184 pounds in a rematch from the November’s Daktronics Open final.

That answer came in the form of sophomore Yonger Bastida, who posted another 10-takedown performance in a convincing 21-8 victory over John Gunderson. 

Bastida, who leads the Cyclones in takedowns with 73, earned his third consecutive bonus-points win with a scoring barrage of eight takedowns in the second period alone. The Trinidad, Cuba native put the Cyclones within two points of the lead with one weight class remaining.

Iowa State’s momentum was picked up by Sam Schuyler, who finished the victory off in style with a nailbiting 3-1 win at 285 pounds against Carter Isley. With both wrestlers only getting points off of escapes, the match seemed to be heading for extra time when Schuyler struck late by getting a takedown with just 11 seconds left. It seemed to be a fitting end to the Cyclones’ comeback, as Schuyler raised his hands in victory as time expired to a roaring McCleod Center crowd.

Road Warriors

With their win over the Panthers, Iowa State improved to a 4-0 record on the road. The Cyclones’ previous three away victories were also against Big 12 opponents, as they first beat Wyoming 32-6 on Jan. 14 in Laramie before finishing off the month with back-to-back victories against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. With their 20-12 win against the Cowboys, the Cyclones also handed OSU their first pair of consecutive home defeats since 2009.

The Cyclones have also thrived in neutral locations, posting a 3-0 mark in that category. Iowa State produced another comeback down 11-0 against Purdue in Humboldt, Iowa in December to win 23-13, and added to that a pair of shutouts against Montana State Northern and Providence in Montana.

At 7-0, this season’s number of victories outside of Hilton Coliseum is the most Iowa State has had in the Kevin Dresser era, snapping the previous mark of 5-2 from the 2019-20 season.

The question of whether or not the Cyclones can finish their road schedule on a perfect mark will be answered on Wednesday, as they will compete in their last dual of the regular season against No. 24 Missouri. The match is set to kick off from Columbia, Missouri, at 7 p.m.