ISU wrestling gains confidence after Virginia Tech win

Beau Berkley

Like most coaches and athletes in the wrestling community, ISU wrestling coach Kevin Jackson doesn’t pay much mind to pre-March rankings. 

Nonetheless, Iowa States’ first win against a top ten team since Jan. 31, 2010 might be an indication of where his team is headed. 

Iowa State (6-1, 0-0 Big 12) defeated No. 6 Virginia Tech (9-2, 0-0 ACC) 21-12, scoring bonus points in three matches while deterring the Hokies from scoring any bonus points on the day. 

“It’s a step in the right direction for the team,” said 133-pound All-American Earl Hall, who won the final match of the day by way of a 7-2 decision. “Everybody looked good.”

For the second straight dual, the Cyclones benefitted from a slew of bonus points. Luke Goettl, Mike Moreno and Kyven Gadson all won by major decision, giving their team four points instead of the standard three awarded after a decision.

Even the matches that did not result in bonus points for the Cyclones were still won on high notes.

After a disappointing loss last weekend, NCAA qualifier Tanner Weatherman bounced back and won in thrilling fashion against No. 9 Zach Epperly. Down 3-2 with six seconds in the third period, Weatherman was able to take down Epperly after several thwarted attempts.  

“Tanner’s was a big time swing match, not only for us but for Tanner,” Jackson said. “He lost to a kid last weekend that we had no business losing to. If Tanner would have lost this match today, it would have had a negative effect on him going forward.”

Following Weatherman, Lelund Weatherspoon found himself in sudden victory after ending the third period in a 1-1 tie. Weatherspoon took a page out of Weatherman’s book, winning in thrilling fashion with a match-sealing takedown. 

While Jackson thought that Weatherspoon should have won in much more convincing fashion, he’ll still take the win. 

“I see a lot of room for improvement,” Jackson said. “It’s real positive for us moving forward because we didn’t wrestle our best, but like I tell our guys, I don’t care how you win as long as you win.”

A confidence boosting win against a good Virginia Tech team may have come at the right time for Iowa State, who will welcome Oklahoma State to Hilton on Jan. 24. The Cowboys could potentially come to Ames with a 6-2 overall record, pending on the dual against Missouri on Jan. 23, with only losses to No.1 Iowa and No.2 Minnesota.   

“Last year, we got beat pretty good by them, so we’re definitely looking to get back at them,” Hall said. “We’re going to use this momentum to build and get better every day.”