NOTEBOOK: Hall stays strong while Rodriguez, Weatherman make strides


Earl Hall throws Virginia Tech red shirt freshman Kevin Norstrem to the mat. Iowa State defeated Virginia Tech 21-12 Jan. 18, 2015.

Beau Berkley

Earl Hall just keeps on rolling. 

The All-American furthered his run at another NCAA podium this past weekend with a 4-2 decision victory against West Virginia’s Cody Stainbrook. Hall is now 22-4 on the season, but what’s more, he has yet to lose in 2015. 

Hall’s biggest victory of the season came two weeks ago against then-No. 2 Cody Brewer from Oklahoma, who Hall pinned in the first period. 

Looking down the final stretch of duals for ISU wrestling, Hall’s biggest challenge may come in the last dual before the Big 12 Championship against No. 7 Ryan Taylor. It’s doubtful that Hall is thinking in those terms or that far ahead. 

“I’m just one-track minded,” Hall said. “I want to win. I don’t know anybody who wants to lose.”

A big contributor of Hall’s success this season has come from leaders on the team keeping him accountable, Hall said. Cramped quarters in the wrestling room make it easier for wrestlers to gauge how their teammates are competing and no one is shy about sharing their thoughts. 

“We had got into to some verbal matchups in the room because I didn’t think he was supposed to be doing [what he was], per se,” said 197-pounder Kyven Gadson. “We just got to a level of accountability and he’s going to hold me to the same standard and we’re going to challenge each other to be great.”

Bouncing Back

After several lackluster performances, 174-pounder Tanner Weatherman came back strong against West Virginia and scored a 15-3 major decision against Park VonEgidy. 

Prior to that victory, Weatherman had lost two straight to conference opponents Kyle Crutchmer and Matt Reed. Weatherman probably won’t see another ranked foe until the Big 12 Championships, where he will get potentially two shots at redemption against Crutchmer and Reed. 

Another wrestler trying to get his head back above water is 141-pound freshman Dante Rodriguez. Rodriguez took a step back against Oklahoma State’s No. 15 Dean Heil, but Rodriguez gained his footing the next week at Oklahoma before taking a huge leap forward with a victory against West Virgnia’s Mike Morales, who was then-ranked No. 13. 

More impressive than the victory itself may be the way in which Rodriguez earned his decision. In a high-scoring bout, Rodriguez was down 6-1 before tallying 12 points in the third period for a come-from-behind 13-10 decision.  

“Dante took a huge step Saturday with a big comeback win,” Jackson said.”He’s putting himself in a great position to get an at-large bid.”

Rodriguez has been in and out of the lineup at some points this season, sharing mat time with John Meeks.  Jackson said that with how Rodriguez is performing against national competition, he’s the guy at 141 pounds for now, but that doesn’t mean Meeks can sit on his laurels. 

“John Meeks had a great tournament down at Grand View and got some Division I matches and put him in a great situation, but we go with the guy who competes best nationally and that’s Dante at this point, but everybody has got to stay ready and that includes John.” Jackson said.