Iowa State wrestling to host Wyoming in home Big 12 opener

Redshirt Freshman Kanen Storr defeats Tyson Dippery Nov. 26 in Stephens Auditorium during the Iowa State vs Rider wrestling meet. The Cyclones were defeated 15-22. 

Jack Shover

Sitting with a 0-2 record, Iowa State will hope to win its first dual win this weekend on Saturday in a home meet against Wyoming, which marks the last wrestling competition of 2017. Iowa State’s next dual is not until Jan. 5.

Wyoming, who is Iowa State’s first Big 12 opponent, has only wrestled in one dual so far this season, which they lost 25-10 against Nebraska.

Wyoming is a solid squad though, as it finished ninth at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas last weekend. Iowa State did not finish in the top 10.

Wyoming also features three ranked wrestlers in FloWrestling’s top 20 for their respective weight classes. They are No. 4 Bryce Meredith at 141-pounds, No. 13 Archie Colgan at 157-pounds. and No. 15 Branson Ashworth at 165-pounds.

Iowa State’s Kanen Storr, who is currently ranked No. 13 per Flo, wrestled Meredith at the Cliff Keen, but Storr was pinned in 2:04.

Storr will have to improve his performance if his team has any hopes of winning the dual. Storr said he needs to be offensive against Meredith and an upset win would not only shift the point total favorably for the Cyclones, but would also give the Cyclones momentum during the dual.

“I’ve got to get tough. I think I kind of let my emotions get to me and [Meredith] beat me before I got out there,” Storr said.

Becoming tougher is not just something Storr needs to improve on, but the rest of the squad needs to improve in that area too, according to coach Kevin Dresser.

“We are not doing a great job of fighting and that’s across the board and they know that,” Dresser said. “We have told them that when things get tough you have to match that intensity of that really good guy and if you don’t, it’s going to go south pretty quick.”

Despite the tough loss to Meredith and to unranked Nick Zanetta from Pittsburgh, Storr is glad those tough losses occurred at the beginning of the season rather than later.

Storr believes being so far out from the NCAA Tournament in March will allow him time to gain experience and grow as a wrestler. One skill Storr noted he needs to improve is wrestling on bottom during this season.

“[The Cliff Keen] was a big stepping stone and a really good learning process,” Storr said. “Obviously, there’s only eight places at the NCAA Tournament and I took eighth at a lesser tournament.”

Wrestling against Colgan at 157-pounds, will be Chase Straw. Over the weekend at Cliff Keen, Straw was able to upset then No. 20 Justin Staudenmayer from Brown which proved Straw can pull off gutsy performances against solid wrestlers.

Straw still needs to prove he can consistently compete well against top athletes, and this weekend would be a perfect time to prove it against Colgan.

At 165-pounds, Iowa State is unsure if Logan Breitenbach will be healthy enough to compete after undergoing a knee scope the day before the Rider dual on Nov. 26. If Breitenbach is unable to compete, Colston DiBlasi, who wrestles at 157-pounds, will slide up to 165 against Ashworth.

Jarrett Degen at 149-pounds will need to earn the Cyclones extra points during his match. Degen was in Flo’s top 20 at No. 20 prior to the Cliff Keen.

“I’ve got to take more shots [and] work on basics… I’ve got a lot to work on,” Degen said.

As with Storr, Degen has time to improve as a wrestler especially fundamentally.

A lot of the time Degen puts himself into unfavorable positions because of his unique wrestling style. Though the style allowed him to win matches against lesser opponents, his poor technique at times allows skilled and experienced wrestlers to score easy reversals.

Degen clearly understands his “funky” style has kept him from winning several matches.

The biggest obstacle in Degen’s development is overcoming years of muscle memory to learn the proper techniques and crunch time has been a time when Degen’s old style and bad technique have failed him.

“I was riding on top and I heard the coaches say ‘No leg in, no leg in on top.’ Like [with] 20 seconds left I put the leg in and he grabbed it…. In those tough situations you can’t use your head,” Degen said.

Despite those critical and common mistakes, the coaching staff is excited about the development of Degen for the future.

“Jarrett Degen shows us a lot of hustle, a lot of heart. [He’s] a guy that competes really hard and a guy that makes a zillion mistakes a match,” Dresser said. 

In the final match of 2017, the Cyclone squad can only hope to knock off Wyoming in the first Big 12 dual of the season. The momentum could help propel the Cyclones through a long break in competition until Jan. 5 and help further the development and confidence of the young squad.