Iowa State wrestling focuses on sending out seniors right

Gabe Moreno, redshirt junior, wrestled in the 149-pound class during the match against University of Wyoming on Dec. 12.

Ben Visser

Gabe Moreno has been an Iowa State wrestling fan his whole life. His dad and brother wrestled at Iowa State.

Iowa State wrestling is in the 149 pounder’s blood.

On Sunday, Moreno will take the mat in Hilton Coliseum one last time.

“I’m not going to lie, I’m super emotional — I wear my heart on my sleeve,” Moreno said. “That one last time being in Hilton I’m predicting I’ll be pretty emotional about it.”

When coach Kevin Jackson met with the media after his resignation he said his focus is sending the seniors off on a high note.

The Cyclones have the potential to have seven seniors in their starting lineup as they take on Minnesota.

Senior Kyle Larson has a tough matchup against No. 7 Ethan Lizak.

“It’s the last time I get to step out there in Hilton and represent Iowa State and myself and my family,” the 125-pound Larson said. “I’m just really excited for the opportunity and also the matchup I have.”

Lizak is a tough wrestler on top, so Larson has committed this week to making sure his mat wrestling is locked in and he can get out from underneath.

No. 13 Minnesota brings a strong top-to-bottom team to Ames. Iowa State believes the dual will prepare them for the postseason tournaments.

“It’s a good tune up, good practice because those guys are going to make it to the tournament,” Moreno said. “They’re the level of the guys you want to beat if you want to reach those goals.”

Larson wants the team to put aside the distractions surrounding the 1-11 team.

“This next month is really the only thing that matters,” Larson said. “Stop letting the outside things affect your wrestling and really make it about yourself and what you want to accomplish. Our motivation is it’s our last home dual, give the fans what they want.

“Try to end the dual season right.”

Earl Hall also recognizes that the last month is the only thing that really matters in collegiate wrestling.

This is also the second time he’s going through senior night. Iowa State thought last year was his final season, but over the summer he was granted another year of eligibility.

“All the emotions I felt last year I don’t feel this year,” Hall said. “But rather than finish at the bottom of the podium, I’d rather finish at the top. I know at this time of the year it’s just putting together for one good tournament.”

Moreno is confident the team will end the season strong.

“Dual wise, people are going to look at our season as a failure, regardless of whether or not we beat Minnesota,” Moreno said. “We want to beat them, but we’re going to win when it counts.”