Notebook: Moreno, Rodgriguez impress heading into stout competition


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Dante Rodriguez scrambles against Penn senior Andrew Lenzi. Iowa State beat Penn 41-3 at the meet, which took place on Jan. 11.

Beau Berkley

At this time a year ago, a high school wrestler named Dante Rodriguez was perusing through Hilton Coliseum as the ISU wrestling team took on Oklahoma. 

On Jan. 11, Rodriguez donned the Iowa State singlet for the first time in Hilton for dual competition, and the 141 pounder out of Nebraska did not disappoint. In a 41-3 Iowa State (5-1, 0-0 Big 12) romp against Penn, Rodriguez scored one of three pins on the day, marking his first dual win as a Cyclone. 

Rodriguez’s record now sits at 12-4, including a first place finish at the Kaye Young Open in November. 

“That was my first home dual as a Cyclone, [which is] kind of surprising because last year during this time I came in on my visit and watched them dual Oklahoma and now I’m out there showing what I have to offer and that’s an amazing feeling,” Rodriguez said after the Nov. 11 bout. 

Another grappler that came through in a big way for Iowa State was 149 pound NCAA qualifier Gabe Moreno. Moreno, ranked No. 16 by Intermat as of Jan. 12, was slated against Penn’s C.J. Cobb, ranked No. 12 at 149 pounds by Intermat.

Moreno stifled Cobb for the majority of the three period match, defeating Cobb 5-1 with two minutes and 48 seconds of riding time. ISU wrestling coach Kevin Jackson credited Moreno’s win to his intensity and tempo, that of which Cobb could not match. 

“I think Gabe went out and set the tone on Cobb, and Cobb felt that energy and that effort and it looked to me like he didn’t want to compete with that energy and effort,” Jackson said. “I was real impressed with Gabe.”

The Home Stretch

Since the start of competition on Nov. 1, the ISU wrestling team has hosted one dual, which took place Jan. 11, but has been on the road for five duals and two tournaments. 

At the end of November, Iowa State took to the road against Iowa, ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches poll as of Jan. 12. The Cyclones left Iowa City with their only dual loss on the season before trekking to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Open and then Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Southern Scuffle.

Both tournaments consisted of some of the top teams and top pound-for- pound wrestlers in the country, which looking forward down Iowa State’s schedule, might prove to have been a nice warm up for the remaining duals.

Five of the remaining seven duals for the Cyclones take place in Hilton Coliseum, with No. 5 Virginia Tech and No. 8 Oklahoma State making the trip to Ames back-to-back weekends.  

“There’s nothing we haven’t seen, no level of competition that we haven’t competed in, so our schedule has prepared us very well for what we’re about to face in this dual meet stretch,” Jackson said.