Showdown with Hawkeyes await ISU wrestling in quarterfinals


Junior Earl Hall celebrates after defeating Northern Iowa’s Leighton Gaul 9-3 on Feb. 15, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Beau Berkley

Cory Clark is an opponent that ISU wrestler Earl Hall knows well, but he’s also an opponent that Hall has struggled to do well against. 

After earning a spot in the quarterfinals, Hall has once again found himself paired with his black and gold counterpart. The two have met three times overall, twice in dual action and once at last year’s NCAA tournament, but Hall has never been able to best Clark, who last defeated Hall in November by 8-3 decision. 

Hall started his tournament off with a 7-4 decision against Nebraska’s Eric Montoya and followed it up with an 11-5 second round decision against Danny Sabatello. Hall’s road to the quarterfinals has been nearly similar to Clark’s, who won by 7-5 decision in the first round and 12-4 major decision in the second round. 

In an interview with, ISU coach Kevin Jackson said that he was pleased with Hall’s offense. 

“He [Hall] stayed aggressive he got after scores, he rode hard and he finished the match strong,” Jackson said.

Hall is not the only Cyclone facing a Hawkeye in the quarterfinals.

Two-time All-American Kyven Gadson turned in two dominant performance to earn himself a spot in the quarters against Iowa’s Nathan Burak. While Gadson is undefeated against Iowa, he has only wrestled Burak once, which took place in 2012 and resulted in a close 5-4 decision in favor of Gadson. 

In the first round, Gadson faced another foe from his home state in Northern Iowa’s Basil Minto, whom Gadson promptly defeated by technical fall before earning a pin in the second round. Burak has also been able to score bonus points in his first two matches, winning both by major decision. 

Jackson said that Gadson seemed calm and collected, just like anyone would expect from a two-time All-American. 

“He was patient, he knew he was going to score and win the match and he did what he needed to do,” Jackson said.

On the consolation side of the bracket, Dante Rodriguez came up big and scored his 12th pin of the season in his first NCAA tournament win. The true freshman will face the No. 3 seed at 141 pounds in Missouri’s Lavion Mays. 

Michael Moreno began his uphill climb to third place with a bang in the form of a first period pin against Seth Thomas of Oregon State. Moreno was on the wrong end of the upset earlier in the day, as he fell in the first round to unseeded Austin Wilson of Nebraska. 

The multiple bonus point efforts from the likes of Gadson, Hall, Moreno and Rodriguez brought the Cyclones to 12th place heading into day two of the tournament. 

“It was exciting to see those guys get falls and to see those guys get major decisions, so we hope to keep that going,” Jackson said.

Quarterfinal and second round consolation action begin at 10 a.m.