ISU wrestling prepares for unique style against Wyoming

Left, Travis Paulson, assistant coach, and Kevin Jackson, head coach speak to Lelund Weatherspoon, redshirt junior at the wrestling match against Midland University on Nov. 12.

Ben Visser

Different wrestling styles will collide at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday as Iowa State (2-2, 0-0 Big 12) takes on Wyoming (1-1, 0-0 Big 12). 

All season, ISU coach Kevin Jackson has preached the importance of getting the team’s offense going early in the match and staying aggressive. Wyoming, on the other hand, has no problem battling out a 2-1 match or even a 1-0 match. 

Wyoming tries to slow down the match by throwing in legs and riding hard on top to not allow escapes. Its goal is to get the riding time point, but it also takes the occasional nearfall. 

“They’re a little different tactically than how we want to approach how to win matches,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, when guys are that controlled and that defensive, it really forces you to bring a lot of energy and intensity to create scoring opportunities.”

A lot of that energy could be expended trying to get escapes in order to get out from the bottom position. However, if the Cyclones explode from the bottom position and do what they’re trained to do, they shouldn’t have a problem.

Once they’re in a neutral position, Jackson wants one thing and one thing only to happen.

“We have to look to score points,” Jackson said. “We have to look to score takedowns. And when we get the takedowns, we have to continue to look to get takedowns and look to score at the end of the periods.”

Wyoming will be Iowa State’s first conference dual of the year. The Cowboys joined the Big 12 for wrestling during the offseason. They have some strong wrestlers, namely No. 13 Ben Stroh at 174 pounds.

Iowa State’s 174-pounder, Lelund Weatherspoon, didn’t have the tournament he wanted at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas invitational. Weatherspoon was the No. 3 seed at the tournament and failed to place.

This match could provide a good bounce back for Weatherspoon.

“He has to be the Lelund we know he’s capable of being, and that’s a more aggressive, attack mode, big-move type of guy,” Jackson said. “That’s a feature match for sure for us.

“He has not shown us the true Lelund Weatherspoon yet. There’s been flashes, but we need [him] on Saturday.”

One guy that did emerge from the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational is the 184-pound Dane Pestano. Pestano wrestled some tough matches, beating Minnesota and Northern Iowa wrestlers in a couple of dogfights. 

“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I can hang with some of the top people in the country,” Pestano said. “[I] just have to keep moving forward and learn every day.”

“Pestano has to continue to believe he has more offense than his opponent,” Jackson said.

Earl Hall, at 133 pounds, is arguably Iowa State’s most aggressive wrestler. He wants to do one thing against Wyoming.

“[A win] would be great going into this break we have coming up,” Hall said. “Honestly, we are just looking to dominate.”