Top 5 wins, losses of 2015-16 wrestling season

Redshirt sophomore Quean Smith gets set to start a period against Northern Iowa’s Blaize Cabell on Feb. 15 at Hilton Coliseum.

Brian Mozey

The ISU wrestling team had 16 regular season duals and four tournaments throughout the 2015-16 season. Here are the top-five wins and losses of the season going into the Big 12 championships and the 2016-17 season. 


5. Panthers go down in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Iowa State traveled Feb. 5 to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to wrestle in-state rival Northern Iowa. Wrestling at Northern Iowa is tough because the gym is small, loud and hot. The Cyclones exited the dual with an 18-16 win. It was the team’s third straight dual victory. 

4. Iowa State gets two wins in the Big 12 Conference 

The Cyclones wrestled four Big 12 teams throughout the season. Iowa State won its first and last Big 12 duals against Wyoming and West Virginia with both wins coming at Hilton Coliseum. 

These two wins will be important for Iowa State going into the Big 12 championships for seedings. It also gives the team confidence. 

3. 10 place winners at Harold Nichols Cyclone Open

Iowa State hosted the annual Harold Nichols Cyclone Open Nov. 15, 2015 with over 300 wrestlers competing throughout the day. Coach Kevin Jackson was happy with the outcome for Iowa State as 10 Cyclones placed in the open.

Those ten consisted of Kyle Larson (3rd), Dante Rodriguez (3rd), John Meeks (5th), Blayne Briceno (6th), Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (3rd), Logan Breitenbach (5th), Tanner Weatherman (2nd), Dane Pestano (3rd), Joe Scanlan (6th) and Quean Smith (2nd).

2. Dane Pestano steps up at 184-pound

Before the season started, not many people knew who Dane Pestano was and didn’t have many expectations for him this season. Now, Pestano is ranked third on the team in total wins this season with 22 wins. The only two in front of him are seniors Earl Hall and Tanner Weatherman. 

Pestano is qualified for the NCAA Championships in mid-March and could make a run to become a national champion at the 184-pound class. Pestano said he’s excited to help the team in any way and knows what he has to do to win an individual national championship at NCAA. 

1. A revenge win against Virginia Tech leading to the Virginia Duals Championship

Iowa State was starting off its second half of the wrestling season. The team just finished sixth at the Midlands Championships about a week earlier and it was time to wrestle at the Virginia Duals. 

The Cyclones won their first three duals and advanced to championship dual against Virginia Tech. The team previously lost to Virginia Tech at the first dual of the season, but were seeking revenge. 

Iowa State defeated No. 5 Virginia Tech with a final score of 16-14. This was the biggest upset and win for the Cyclones all season because it showed the Cyclones have the ability to beat any team with some hard work and focus. 

Top Five Losses:

5. Start and finish the season with losses to top teams

Iowa State started their wrestling at Virginia Tech, who were ranked number six and lost 32-3. The Cyclones also ended their season with a 30-10 loss at No. 18 Minnesota. 

4. Cyclones place 19th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational 

Just before winter break last semester, Iowa State traveled to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The competition lasted two days and hosted some of the most highly ranked teams in the country. It was a disappointing placement for the Cyclones, especially after losing to Iowa the weekend prior. 

Iowa State would later learn from its mistakes at the Cliff Keen Invitational and won its last dual of the 2015 season at home against Wyoming.  

3. Two road trip weekends in January 

It was the first week of the second semester and Iowa State just came off a championship weekend at the Virginia Duals. The team’s confidence was higher than ever before and the Cyclones were ready to hit the road against three tough and ranked opponents. 

The Cyclones confidence took a hit after losing at Arizona State one weekend and then losing to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the following weekend. It was a tough stretch for Iowa State and Jackson said it taught the team adversity. These three losses would help Iowa State get on a three dual win streak in the month of February. 

2. Hawkeyes get the win at Hilton Coliseum 

No Iowa State team ever wants to lose to an in-state rival like Iowa, but the team definitely doesn’t want to lose at home against Iowa. The Sunday after Thanksgiving break, Nov. 29, Iowa State lost to Iowa 33-6 at Hilton Coliseum. 

It was a disappointing loss for Jackson and the Iowa State wrestling team because the team came in with confidence from the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. After this dual, Hall and Weatherman talked about how the team has realized the amount of focus needed to win duals and, later, win a Big 12 championship. This loss was tough, but it was a learning lesson along the way. 

1. Gabe Moreno finishes season early, again

Gabe Moreno finished his season early due to a shoulder injury after the weekend of the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State duals. This was the second time Moreno had surgery on the same shoulder and it was a tough loss to take for Jackson and the entire team. 

Moreno had his first shoulder surgery after injuring it in a match in the NCAA Championships in March 2015. He rehabilitated the shoulder over the offseason and came back ready to wrestle.

He had a up-and-down season until he finally called it quits after the road trip to Oklahoma. He will be rehabilitating the shoulder again this season with some extra time and hopes to come back for his senior year stronger and healthier than ever before.