Notebook: Mental toughness key to Carr’s success, Judge navigating 165


Iowa State’s Isaac Judge, right, finished third at the Harold Nichols Open on Nov. 28, 2021. 

Adarsh Tamma

The thick of the Big 12 wrestling season has arrived for No. 10 Iowa State, which will return to Hilton Coliseum on Sunday for a dual match against North Dakota State.

The Cyclones, who stand at an overall record of 8-1, cruised through their most recent road trip in Wyoming and Montana, winning all three of their matches by double digits. This included a pair of shutouts against Montana State-Northern and Providence in Belgrade, Mont., both by a score of 49-0.

Redshirt junior Isaac Judge was one of the wrestlers that claimed victory in the Cyclones’ 32-6 win over Wyoming. The Tama, Iowa native produced an upset in the 165-pound weight class when he pinned No. 15 Cole Moody in 1:25 to record his fifth fall of the season.

“I assumed that they were going to put the best guy out there,” Judge said of the matchup. “I was ready in my mind, and I’ve been training hard. I just sucked it back, and it was there.”

Judge, who is currently competing with redshirt senior Austin Kraisser for the spot at 165, responded with a definite “yes” when asked if he was going start in the Cyclones’ dual with North Dakota State.

That match against the Bison looks to be a bit more competitive than the last couple, as NDSU currently has seven of its wrestlers ranked in Intermat’s national polls. Judge could wrestle against Bison senior Luke Weber, the defending Big 12 champion in that weight class and NCAA championships qualifier.

For Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser, the key for Judge to improve is to register points.

“He’s just got to progress and get more offense more than anything,” Dresser said. “That’s kind of where we’ve struggled at 165. I tell him all the time that the fans like points, so go put points on the board, and good things will happen.”

The gauntlet of conference matches will continue for the Cyclones next week, as they will travel to Oklahoma to face off against the Sooners and Cowboys back-to-back. With both of those programs nationally ranked, it may be easy to look ahead in the schedule, but the Cyclones look to take things step-by-step.

“They’re tough, they’ve been on a roll,” Dresser said on North Dakota State. “I can tell you, they’re going to come into this [match] with the thought of winning the dual meet, and so we have to be able to handle that. We’ve kind of elevated ourselves through the years into a top-10 team, and when you get to that level, people are trying to take your head off.”

One weight class that is sure to be one to watch is at 157 pounds, as David Carr looks to continue his undefeated season over the next couple of weeks. The defending national champion has pinned his last four opponents and sits at 11-0 on the season so far.

When asked about growth since arriving at Iowa State, Carr attributed his string of success to his mindset.

“I read this book on mental toughness, and mental toughness really is about the days you don’t want to be disciplined or go through those hard workouts, you do it with everything you’ve got,” Carr said.

“As I’m getting a little bit older, I’m learning that even the days where it’s getting hard, I’m able to push through. Not only push through, but push that wall back and get better.”

The Cyclones kick off their match with North Dakota State at 2 p.m. Sunday, with the match also streaming live on ESPN+.