Iowa State wrestling punches one ticket to NCAA Championships


Maddie Leopardo/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt sophomore Marcus Harrington wrestles opponent Brad Johnson during the Beauty and the Beast event at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 27 as an Oklahoma gymnast does her floor routine. Harrington would go on to lose to Johnson 19-4.

Ben Visser

Iowa State had eight guys still in play to get an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships to begin Sunday, the second day of the Big 12 Championships.

Only one of them did it.

Iowa State’s 197-pound Marcus Harrington was the lone Cyclone to punch his ticket to St. Louis.

The Big 12 had five automatic qualifying spots up for grabs at 197. Harrington, the No. 8 seed, wrestled South Dakota State’s Nate Rotert, the 2-seed, in the Consolation semifinals.

Rotert beat him by technical fall 20-4.

Harrington needed to win the fifth place match to qualify.

He attacked Cordell Eaton early and often. Harrington won by decision, 14-11.

The other Cyclone wrestlers didn’t fare as well as Harrington.

With four spots up for grabs at 125 pounds, Kyle Larson needed to win his consolation semifinals match. He lost to Wyoming’s Drew Templeman 5-1.

At 133 pounds, Earl Hall wrestled Rico Montoya. Hall beat Montoya twice already this season.

Hall was in control late, but Montoya got a takedown in the last 30 seconds to push him over the edge and beat Hall 7-6. It was Montoya’s only takedown of the match.

In the fifth place match Hall took care of business, winning 8-5.

Hall is almost certainly going to get an at-large bid to the NCAAs.

John Meeks was also in contention to get an automatic qualifying spot. He was wrestling Mike Longo of Oklahoma in the consolation semifinals. The winner would get a spot.

Meeks was ahead with two seconds left after a nice takedown, but Longo got the escape to force sudden victory.

Meeks got in on a shot in extra time but Longo fended it off and got a takedown of his own to claim the spot. Meeks lost 11-9.

Colston Diblasi continued the parade of Cyclones through the consolation semifinals. And like all of his teammates, he needed a win to punch his ticket.

And like most of his teammates, he lost.

DiBlasi gave up a six-point move to begin the match. He tried to claw his way back but the early deficit was too much. He lost 10-8.

In the fifth place match, DiBlasi lost by technical fall.

He’s on the outside looking in for an at-large bid.

At 174 pounds, Lelund Weatherspoon broke the Cyclone losing streak in the consolation semifinals. He beat Kimball Bastian of Utah Valley 7-5.

But the Big 12 only got three automatic qualifying bids at 174, so Weatherspoon needed to beat No. 1 seed Alex Kocer of South Dakota State to claim the bid.

Weatherspoon lost 8-5. Like Hall, Weatherspoon is almost certainly in the NCAA Championships with an at-large bid.

Carson Powell technically had a shot to get a bid to begin the day, but it was unlikely. The Big 12 only qualified two spots into the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds.

Powell lost in the consolation semifinals. He did bounce back to claim fifth place.

Powell was expected to be Pat Downey’s backup for the season, but because of Downey’s issues and eventual dismissal from the team, Powell got the spot and wrestled admirably.

Lastly, Quean Smith followed suit with his Cyclone brethren. He lost in the consolation semifinals to No. 2 seed Ross Larson of Oklahoma. But he bounced back in a big way and got a first period pin in the fifth place match.

Smith has about a 50-50 shot at getting an at-large bid.

Iowa State ended the third session in sixth place with 65 team points.