ISU wrestling prepares for grueling weekend

Tanner Weatherman, redshirt senior, wrestles 165-pounds at the match against Midland University on Nov. 12.

Ben Visser

ISU wrestling is staring at its most daunting weekend of the regular season. 

The No. 16 Cyclones will be wrestling two top-10 teams in three days — No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 5 Oklahoma State.

The Cyclones traveled to Hampton, Va., for the Virginia Duals a couple of weeks ago. They turned around traveled to Tempe, Ariz., to wrestle Arizona State the weekend after. This weekend, they’re on the road again to wrestle in Norman, Okla., and Stillwater, Okla.

“It’s been a long month of January that keeps getting longer, thankfully, this is the last road trip [of January],” said the 165-pound Tanner Weatherman. “Hopefully we’ll end it with a bang.”

ISU wrestling will kick off the road trip against Oklahoma on Friday. Oklahoma has just three wrestlers ranked in the top-20, No. 11 Ryan Millof at 125-pounds, No. 4 Cody Brewer at 133-pounds and No. 16 Ross Larson at heavyweight.

Even though Oklahoma has a relatively small representation in the top-20, it has secured an upset against Rutgers. ISU coach Kevin Jackson attributes the Sooners’ success so far this season to their coach, Mark Cody, and the high level he has his team competing at.

“They’re going to be ready to go because they’re going to be ranked higher than us for the first time in a little while, and [they’re] hoping to secure their ranking,” Jackson said. “We’ll be looking to not let that happen.”

Weatherman said Oklahoma is good in all areas, and there isn’t one thing you can pick out about them.

“I think it’s going to be a very, very competitive match. I think it’s going to be a fun match. I think it’s going to be exciting,” Jackson said. “I think we match up very, very well with them.”

The Cyclones will have an off-day on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, they’ll wrestle Oklahoma State, which boasts seven ranked wrestlers, including two No. 1 wrestlers. 

On top of their elite talent, the Cowboys bring a style to the mat that is named after their coach, John Smith.

“They typically have a John Smith style, meaning that they’ll shoot the low single, they’ll go off your elbows, where most teams won’t attack elbows,” Jackson said. “Elbows are available when you don’t control a tie-up the right way.

“They have a certain style that we are well aware of. It’s just a little different than the rest of the country. If you’re not ready for it, they’ll sting you with a couple of nice techniques.”

Both Earl Hall and Weatherman said the key to combating the interesting style is to be physical, tough and solid at your base.

Weatherman added that sticking to the basics is what beats the John Smith style most of the time. They’ll need to win the scramble once they take they’re legs away if they expect a win.

“You can’t sit in positions or they’ll go for elbows or ankles, all kinds of sick stuff,” Hall said. “But I feel like our team is prepared for that. We are working hard, and I think it’ll show this weekend.”

As good Iowa State matchups with Oklahoma, ISU wrestling doesn’t matchup quite as well with Oklahoma State.

“I think Oklahoma State is a huge challenge for us, but at the same time, I think there are some matchups up and down the lineup that could go either way,” Jackson said. “We are looking for our guys to continue to do what they’ve been doing second semester, and that’s competing at a high level.”

Hall is excited for the teams’ opportunity to wrestle elite competition this weekend.

“The big matches are what we look for,” Hall said. “When the opportunity presents itself you have to take advantage of it, and that’s exactly what we are going to do this weekend.”