Cyclones pummel in-state Panthers


Redshirt sophomore Gabe Moreno celebrates after his win against Northern Iowa’s Gunnar Wolfensperger on Feb. 15 at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won the match 24-12.

Beau Berkley

Mike Moreno wasn’t going to sugar coat anything. 

After a dual win against Arizona State on the night of Feb. 13, the Cyclones had to regroup in time for a dual against in-state foe Northern Iowa on Feb. 15. The last time the two team’s faced off, the Panthers came away the victor and let the Cyclones know. That didn’t sit well with Moreno. 

“I don’t like them,” Moreno said. “They’ll get what’s coming to them.”

Whatever feelings of retribution that Moreno and the Cyclones may have been harboring since last year were absolved Feb. 15, as they downed the Panthers 24-12, winning eight out of 10 matches, including the first three matches of the dual. 

Northern Iowa however would not sit idly by, as No. 10 Blaize Cabell defeated Iowa State’s Quean Smith in a 2-5 decision, followed by a pin from No. 6 Dylan Peters, an All-American at 125 pounds last season. Northern Iowa was down 10-9 at the intermission, but whatever momentum they may have gained did not last long. 

All-American Earl Hall came out and scored a 9-3 decision, racking up one minute and 43 seconds of riding time. 

“We expected Earl to win,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson. “Obviously, coming out of a break and them getting the fall, we really thought that Earl would get bonus points for us, but it was important for us that we got back in the win column.”

Hall was not the only Cyclone that brought the crowd to its feet. True freshman Dante Rodriguez racked up three near falls en route to a 13-1 major decision. It was Rodriguez’s third straight win since he defeated then-No. 12 Mike Morales of West Virginia two weeks ago.

“I thought he [Rodriguez] was the one who really ignited the crowd and ignited our team and he’s competing as good as anybody on our team from a competitive stand point,” Jackson said.

Mike’s brother, Gabe, also remembered the sinking feeling of defeat last year in Cedar Falls, one that he made sure not to relive. Gabe scored a major decision against Gunnar Wolfensperger in a match in which Wolfensperger took Gabe off the mat and onto the hardwood near the scorer’s table.

Just two matches later, Mike capitalized on what he said Feb. 13, defeating No. 13 Cooper Moore by a 5-2 decision. In what seems like a a budding rivalry caused by more than sharing the same state lines, Gabe said the message sent was simple.   

“It feels good that we were able to come out of there with a pretty lopsided victory …,” Gabe said. “There’s a “W” in our win-loss column and there’s an “L” in their win-loss column, and that’s the only message that needs to be sent.”