Notebook: “Friendly” rivalry between coaches set tone for Cyclones vs. Panthers


Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser celebrates with Kysen Terukina in the Cyclones’ 31-9 win against West Virginia on Feb. 4 in Hilton Coliseum.

Adarsh Tamma

Coach Kevin Dresser began his weekly press conference on Thursday with a  bit of a surprise – by giving a presentation.

Dresser, who is currently in his fifth season as head coach of the Iowa State wrestling team, showed eight different placards to the camera, each one of them with a different emoji on it, as he discussed the Cyclones’ matchup against Northern Iowa on Friday.

“This kind of looks like Schwab a little bit,” Dresser said jokingly as he held up a card with the emoji with a “crazy” face. “… I’m guessing about halfway through 125 [pounds] when he gets a questionable call. This is the guy you’ll see on the mat right here.”

This after Doug Schwab, head coach of the Panthers, responded to Dresser’s initial response that the Cyclones were going “panther hunting” by saying “He’s got to be careful man, I’d break his hip. He’s old. I’d break his hip and then I’d get in trouble.”

Dresser continued the banter on Thursday, holding up some “props” as he referred to them and said, “Breece Hall loaned me his pants, and I got a couple extra hip pads. I figure if he [Schwab] can break Breece Hall’s hips, then he’s pretty tough.”

All jokes aside, Friday’s matchup between No. 5 Iowa State and No. 18 UNI looks to be another test for the Cyclones, who currently boast the nation’s second-longest dual match winning streak at 11 after handling both West Virginia and Air Force last weekend.

Northern Iowa is on a winning streak of their own, having won seven out of their last eight duals stretching back to December after starting off the year at 0-4. The Panthers recorded back-to-back wins on the road, upsetting both No. 24 Oklahoma and No. 12 Oklahoma State on Jan. 29 and 30 respectively.

Friday’s matchup could also have more top-25 showcases, as the Cyclones and Panthers currently have 18 wrestlers ranked nationally by either Intermat or the NCAA. Iowa State enters the dual with all 10 of its starters ranked in Intermat’s weekly rankings for the second consecutive week.

One of the matchups that only adds to the hype ahead of Friday is at 184 pounds between Iowa State’s Marcus Coleman and UNI’s Parker Keckeisen. No. 7 Coleman has lost just one match so far this season, falling 8-4 to Keckeisen in the finals of the Daktronics Open back in November. Since then, both wrestlers have continued their dominant seasons, with Keckeisen entering Friday’s matchup ranked fourth in the country on an 18-1 record.

Coleman spoke of the showmanship between the two head coaches this week by saying, “It’s kinda funny, them going back and forth. [It] adds a little bit of extra to the duel.”

Just like Dresser however, Coleman realized the importance of the rivalry between both teams, and the chance for revenge against a familiar opponent.

“It’s an instate rivalry, and there’s been a little bit of back and forth this week,” Coleman said. “[The] excitement’s really high, and on top of that, I get a chance to write my wrong from my only loss of the season.”

The matchup on Friday will also mark the 80th time that the Cyclones and Panthers have faced off on the mat stretching back to 1924. In that time, Iowa State has had the better of its in-state opponent, holding a 59-20 advantage in the series. This includes a 6-2 record under Dresser, who won his second straight last year in Ames 23-17.

In the end for Dresser, it’s not what happens inside the lines, but also out, as he eluded to the sportsmanship between both teams.

“…And the other thing he mentioned that you will see is two teams that’ll want to beat each other really bad,” Dresser said. “[But] at the end of it all, you’re going to see two teams shake hands.”

Iowa State kicks off its duel against UNI at 7 pm on Friday at the McCleod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The match can be streamed live on FloWrestling.