ISU wrestling falters in Big 12 finale, Gadson claims third Big 12 title


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Senior Kyven Gadson pushes Oklahoma freshman Andrew Dixon down into the mat.

Beau Berkley

Six Cyclones earned a spot in the Big 12 finals Saturday. Only one made his way atop the podium. 

After a strong performance in the first round, which included three pins, the ISU wrestling team was outmatched in the finals by Oklahoma State. The Cowboys took home the team victory as well as six individual titles, four of which came against Iowa State.

“We couldn’t have had a worse round and Oklahoma State couldn’t have had a better one,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. 

The Cyclones seemed poised for success in the finals following a six-win first round and also three third place finishes, which gave them a two-point lead against Oklahoma State in the team standings. True freshman Dante Rodriguez and All-Americans Michael Moreno and Kyven Gadson all scored pins in their first matches. 

Hall scored an 11-5 decision and Tanner Weatherman and Lelund Weatherspoon both scored decision victories. 

Then the floor gave out. 

Hall was defeated by Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer by 10-5 decision. Earlier in the season, Hall defeated Brewer by way of pin in the first round. Then Rodriguez was pinned by Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil. 

Riding a two-pin streak, Moreno seemed well on his way to challenging No. 1 ranked Alex Dieringer, and possibly making amends for the last time the two faced off, which ended with Dieringer winning by way of major decision. But the tape seemed to be on repeat, as Dieringer again came away with a major decision victory against Moreno. 

The second session of the day was in stark contrast to the first, as Weatherman and Weatherspoon also dropped their championship bouts. 

“I’m surprised in the way we wrestled, especially coming off the way we performed in the first round,” Jackson said. “We didn’t attack, we didn’t counter, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do on the bottom … just some basic things you work on every single day didn’t show up. I’m very, very surprised and I’m not exactly sure how it happened.”

Gadson provided the lone championship victory for the Cyclones with a win at 197 pounds against West Virginia’s Jake Smith. The win against Smith was Gadson’s third straight Big 12 title at 197 pounds, but in the wake of the sudden collapse, it didn’t seem to mean much.  

“I’d give this title back for a team win,” Gadson said. “It hurts, it stings but you move forward.”

Iowa State will have two weeks to move forward before departing to St. Louis for the NCAA tournament. 

“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and the NCAA tournament,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to make the connections to the things that we do every single day.”