5 takeaways from the second day of the Big 12 Championship

Senior Earl Hall throws his opponent up in the air before he gets the takedown. Hall earned second place at the Big 12 Championship for the 133-pound weight class on March 6. 

Ben Visser

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — ISU wrestling placed third at the Big 12 Championship behind Oklahoma State and Oklahoma over the weekend.

Junior Lelund Weatherspoon was the only one of three Cyclone wrestlers to win his championship match. Here are the other five biggest takeaways from the tournament in Kansas City:

Earl Hall and Tanner Weatherman wrestle well in the finals, but fall short

Senior leaders Earl Hall and Tanner Weatherman each made the finals of the Big 12 Championship at their weight classes.

Hall was wrestling defending national champion Cody Brewer of Oklahoma for the 133-pound title. Hall was in control until he went for his go-to move to get a pin, but instead of Brewer on his back, Hall found himself on his back.

“You can’t make any mistakes at this level and Earl just made a huge mistake and gave up six points,” said coach Kevin Jackson.

Hall battled back and never stopped attacking, but he still lost 12-7. Brewer went on to be named Big 12 wrestler of the tournament.

“I think we dominated the match,” Jackson said. “We gave one six-point move up, it’s hard to come back against the defending national champion.”

Tanner Weatherman wrestled two-time national champion and three-time Big 12 Champion Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State for the 165-pound title.

Earlier this season, Weatherman lost to Dieringer by major decision, 15-4.

“[Weatherman] tied into the thought process of how you have to wrestle this kid, tactically,” Jackson said. “He hand fought really hard, [but] we just didn’t get off enough offensive attacks to win the match. But I feel like, in Tanner’s mind, based on how he wrestled him in Stillwater, Oklahoma, it was great improvement, overall.”

Overall, Jackson was pleased with how his seniors wrestled in the finals.

“This is the best they’ve wrestled all year,” Jackson said. “That’s fun to see going into the national championship.”

Atmosphere at the Big 12 Championship

For the first time ever, the Big 12 Championship was held at a neutral site. The Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo., was host to the inaugural event.

Fans from each of schools were in attendance but it was the Oklahoma State and Iowa State fans that had the clear advantage.

“[The atmosphere] was good, I loved it,” Weatherspoon said.

Kevin Jackson loved what the Big 12 did and how well Kansas City hosted the event.

“I thought it was a great Big 12 Championship,” Jackson said. “I thought the arena was perfect. It was one of the nicest arenas that we’ve ever competed in. Everything was first class. I think it took [the Big 12] to a whole another level.”

The Cyclones finished the tournament with five automatic NCAA qualifiers

Kyle Larson, Hall, Weatherman, Weatherspoon and Pat Downey all punched their tickets to New York to wrestle in the NCAA Championships.

Pat Downey had to finish third in the 197-pound class to get an automatic qualifying bid. Downey’s first match of the year came Feb. 5 against Northern Iowa because of NCAA transfer rules.

Downey upset No. 1 seed Jake Smith of West Virginia en route to his third place finish.

“Pat came through and got third, which I was pretty excited about because he’s only been with us for a short time, and he moved up a weight class,” Jackson said. “He’s undermanned, he’s a smaller guy, but he still finds ways to win.”

Quean Smith done for the season

Heavyweight Quean Smith’s season has come to a close by not competing at the Big 12 Championship. Smith hasn’t wrestled since he suffered a concussion in practice at Minnesota, the last dual of the season.

Joe Scanlan took his place in the Big 12 Championship, eliminating Smith for consideration to get a wild card bid for the NCAA Championship.

“I would’ve brought [Smith] if my trainers and doctor told me he’d be ready by the NCAA championship,” Jackson said. “There was only a 10-percent chance that he’d be ready to compete at the NCAA Championship.”

Young guys struggle for ISU wrestling

Iowa State has had to fill holes in their lineup all year long due to injury or guys not performing as well as they should.

Redshirt freshman Nathan Boston was done by the end of the first day at 141 pounds, after moving up two weight classes from 125 pounds earlier in the season.

Fellow Redshirt freshman Logan Breitenbach has seen time at 157 pounds, but Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer had seen the majority of the time at that weight.

“We had some guys who struggled all year long,” Jackson said. “I know [Breitenbach] struggled a little bit all year long and that kind of reared its head again, this morning. And when we have our backup heavyweight, those things are going to happen.”