Unheralded wrestlers carry Iowa State to victory over West Virginia

Iowa State Redshirt Junior Marcus Harrington Wrestles Brandon Ngati during the Iowa State vs West Virginia wrestling meet Jan. 21. The Cyclones Defeated West Virginia 25-16.

Jack Shover

With Iowa State trailing West Virginia 17-7 after six matches, Hilton Coliseum was quiet as both of Iowa State’s ranked wrestlers, 133-pounder Ian Parker and 141-pounder Kanen Storr, lost in sudden victory and 165-pounder Logan Breitenbach was pinned in the last match.

Parker is ranked No. 20 and Storr is No. 16 according to Intermat.

Up for the Cyclones was 174-pounder Danny Bush against Parker VonEgidy.

The 174-pound weight class has, to this point, been one of the weakest weight divisions for the Cyclones aside from 165-pounds.

In the first period of the match, Bush rolled VonEgidy onto his back and secured the pin in 1:07. The move that ended the match was lighting quick and got the Iowa State fans onto their feet just as fast.

“Getting that first [win] in, it’s an expectation now,” Bush said. “I feel like at the start of the year we were just one match away from winning [close duals] and we are just putting it together now.”

The Cyclones were down 17-13 and crept forward in the score column with a decision victory from Dane Pestano in the next match.

The next match, Iowa State trailed 17-16 and West Virginia’s top wrestler, No. 13 Jacob Smith was due up.

For the Cyclones, Sam Colbray took the mat. Colbray had a 9-9 record going into the match, but Colbray’s talent is unquestionable and a week ago coach Kevin Dresser called out the redshirt freshman.

“He’s a super talent… [but] he’s got to change his ways,” Dresser said. “It’s not throw Sam Colbray under the bus day, but we need to throw him under the bus a little bit just because he’s gotta step it up.”

In high school, Colbray was a five-time Fargo Champion.

In the first period, Smith was able to takedown Colbray with 1:51 left in the period and ride him out for the duration of the period. The only points Colbray scored were a locking hands violation on Smith.

Colbray trailed 2-1 and started on the bottom at the beginning of the second period. Smith again was able to ride Colbray for most of the period, but Colbray earned an escape with 32 seconds left in the second.

West Virginia challenged the escape, but it stood as called.

At the end of the second, Smith earned his first stall warning during the match which the Iowa State fans and coaching staff had been asking for most of the period. The score was tied 2-2 after that stalling call.

It was during this period that Smith began to look visibly tired not only during the match from riding on top, but also getting into the referee’s position when the action was stopped.

The third period was back and forth as Smith began the period down before earning an escape 18 seconds into the period. Twenty-four seconds later Colbray took a 4-3 lead with a takedown.

Colbray noted after the match that being on his feet was where he was most comfortable and believes it was where he was able to capitalize offensively with the takedown against Smith.

“[When] they’re tough on top they have to [be] lax somewhere else and it’s just finding chinks in people’s armor,” Colbray said.

When Colbray was on top, Smith was called for stalling and Colbray was awarded a point. Colbray was up 5-3 when Smith escaped with only 17 seconds left and at the end of the period Smith was awarded a point for 1:59 in riding time.

Colbray now had the chance to earn a victory in sudden victory.

During sudden victory, Colbray pushed the pace against the exhausted Smith who was called for stalling once again with 38 seconds left which clinched the win for Colbray and extended Iowa State’s lead to 19-17 over West Virginia.

Hilton exploded when Colbray was announced the victor.

Colbray pointed to technique and situational work in practice that allowed him to secure the win in such a tightly contested match.

“Today it showed that when you trust the process and just keep grinding things will turn out on top,” Colbray said.

In the last match, Iowa State’s Marcus Harrington pinned Brandon Ngati in 1:04 and West Virginia lost a team point for “control of the mat area” which gave the Cyclones a 25-16 dual win.

As the Iowa State team seems to get better and better by the week, so too will their competition for the rest of the season with Big 12 matches against the likes of Oklahoma State, South Dakota State and Northern Iowa. And of course, a Cy-Hawk matchup against Iowa.

Dresser was impressed with the way his team was able to capitalize late in the dual and highlighted that wrestlers on the roster are at different stages in their development.

“In some places we are learning how to win still and some places we are learning how to win decisively,” Dresser said.

Moving forward, Storr and Parker will need to “win decisively” in future duals to help this team secure bonus points and guys like Colbray and Bush will need to win if the Iowa State wrestling program wants to continue its upward trajectory.