Back half of ISU wrestling leads team to victory

Tanner Weatherman, redshirt senior, won his match 9-3 against Central Michigan on Jan. 31. ISU won 25-12.

Ben Visser

Going into intermission on Sunday at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones were facing an uphill battle.

No. 17 ISU wrestling trailed No. 21 Central Michigan, 12-9, at the break in their first meet at home in more than a month.

After intermission, though, the Cyclones didn’t lose another match, winning the meet, 25-12.

No. 9 Tanner Weatherman was the first wrestler out of the gates for the Cyclones following intermission. He defeated Jordan Atienza, 9-3, at 165-pounds to set the tone for Iowa State. 

“We talked about it before the dual,” Weatherman said. “Go out there and get your hands on them early. Score early, score late and score in between. Basically just go out and dominate.”

After Weatherman got the Cyclones back on track, Lelund Weatherspoon at 174-pounds took the baton and ran with it.

Weatherspoon wrestled No. 9 Mike Ottinger. After a scoreless first period, Weatherspoon opened it up with a couple of takedowns in the second period.

He finished off the match with another takedown and 1:12 of riding time, winning the match, 8-3.

“I was really happy with the way Lelund Weatherspoon performed,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. “I think that was the match we really were pointing to as the feature match. That kid is very, very tough, very skilled.

“Lelund wrestled a perfect match.”

Lelund said beating a top-10 opponent will give him a lot of confidence going forward into the rest of the season.

Dane Pestano, Marcus Harrington and Quean Smith all followed suit with victories over Central Michigan. Smith, a heavyweight, recorded six takedowns in his match en route to a major decision.

“Anytime your heavyweight scores more takedowns than your lightweights there’s a problem there,” Jackson said. “But I was happy Quean pushed through some fatigue and knocked down some barriers he hadn’t knocked down in the last couple of matches.”

The most takedowns any ISU wrestler got before intermission was three by Ronaldo Rodriguez-Spencer in a 9-7 defeat at 157-pounds to No. 8 Lucas Smith.

Central Michigan forfeited at 125-pounds, giving Iowa State an early 6-0 advantage. However, Iowa State’s Blayne Briceno was pinned at 149-pounds to erase the advantage.

Even though they were down going into intermission, Jackson said he felt like the Cyclones were in control of the match because the matchups favored Iowa State.

“We knew, when we looked at the head-to-head matchup, that if our guys wrestled to their true abilities and their guys wrestled to their true abilities, we felt that we would win those matches,” Jackson said.

The win snapped a three match-losing streak coming into today’s matchup. Getting the best out of the back half of the lineup proved to be pivotal in the meet.

It was a win that the team needed “pretty freaking bad,” Weatherman said. 

“It’s good to bounce back,” Weatherman said. “That team, they are no slouch, so it’s good to have a good team win like that.”