Four things to watch for as Iowa State wrestling takes on Arizona State

By Brian Mozey, [email protected], @BrianMozey
Redshirt senior Lelund Weatherspoon lifts the Iowa wrestler off the ground and gets two points for the takedown. Weatherspoon would later lose his 174-pound with a 5-3 final score. Iowa State would also fall to Iowa 26-9 on Dec. 10 in Iowa City, Iowa. 

Ben Visser

Iowa State wrestling hosts Arizona State in its first home dual meet of the season.

The meet is a part of the Beauty and the Beast competition where the floor of Hilton Coliseum will be divided. One side has wrestling, the other gymnastics.

Here are four things to look for on the wrestling side of the floor:

The match could come down to bonus points

Arizona State has high-end talent and 165 pounds, 174 pounds and heavyweight. But other than those three wrestlers, they have a lackluster lineup.

Iowa State has top-end talent at 133 pounds, 174 pounds and 184 pounds.

The meet will likely be determined by which team can get bonus points at their high-end weights, and which team can limit bonus points where the talent gap is wider.

Earl Hall at 133 pounds hadn’t had the dominate season coach Kevin Jackson expected of him until the Midlands last weekend. At the tournament Hall finally opened up his vast offensive bag of tricks.

“He looked like the Earl Hall we’re used to seeing,” Jackson said. “He broke out the cement mixer a few times, and we hadn’t seen that in a couple of years. Then he got a throw in there. I know he felt a lot better about where he was at.”

Arizona State is sending their back up 133 pounder, so Hall will have a good chance to dig into that bag of tricks get four or more team points.

The main event

Unquestionably the main event on Friday will be the 174-pound matchup between No. 10 Lelund Weatherspoon and No. 3 Zahid Valencia.

The two have met twice already this season — once at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, and again at Midlands.

Valencia has beaten Weatherspoon by major decision both times. But now that Jackson and Weatherspoon have seen Valencia a few times, they can game plan against him better.

Jackson said the biggest key for Weatherspoon is to guard his lead-leg better. Weatherspoon has great defense when guys do get in on his leg — very few people can get him on the mat if they just have one of his legs.

But Valencia is a different beast. Once he gets in on a leg, he’s going to finish it, and Weatherspoon has found that out the hard way.

Jackson said if Weatherspoon sticks to the game plan, he has a good shot at upsetting Valencia.

Pat Downey’s return

Iowa State’s 184-pound Pat Downey is expected to make his much anticipated return to the mat against Arizona State.

Downey has been out with a rib injury since the Cyclone Open, but both Jackson and Downey have said that Downey is expected to wrestle.

The No. 8 ranked Downey will be competing against Connor Small, who is 2-7 so far this year.


Colston DiBlasi at 157 pounds leads the nation in pins, mostly due to his ability to scramble and lock up cradles during those scrambles.

“I think his ceiling is really high,” Jackson said. “He’s really counter-attacking at this point and getting into his ‘funk’ actions.”

Arizona State’s No. 14 Josh Shields is also a scrambler, so this will be an interesting match between two scramblers.