As we all know, ISU's goal this year is to win the NCAA championship.
On paper, the team is looking good as we're ranked #2, only behind Iowa. Last year in the Iowa dual, it was clear that the Cyclones are not aggresive enough on their feet, especially in the lower weight classes.
The coaching staff has been emphasizing being aggressive and picking up bonus points in the offseason and in practices. Iowa seems to have the upper hand at this, as they are the reigning champs and are returning basically everyone.
So, what I was looking forward to seeing was how the lower weight classes looked. To be honest, I didn't feel like there was enough urgency from some of these guys. I'm not sure what the reason was: Were a lot of our guys just not pumped to wrestle Utah Valley State ? Was Utah Valley State extra pumped and looking to wrestle the meet of their lives? Or are we just not being aggressive for some other reason.
Here were the matchups along with results (ISU wrestler listed first):
125: Tyler Clark vs. Ben Kjar
- Clark wins by decision 4-2 (ISU 3, UVU 0)
- I will start this by saying that Ben Kjar is probably Utah Valley State's best wrestler as he's the only ranked guy on their team. These guys were trying up a lot and there wasn't a ton of shooting. In the third period there was no scoring at all, which is a little boring as the match was at 4-2.
- The most exciting part of the match was when Kjar was down 3-0 he threw Clark on his back, but Clark was able to turn over before Kjar got any back points.
- Overall, I was happy that we beat their best guy, but it was close and I just felt like we were reacting instead of attacking
133: Nick Fanthorpe vs. Flint Ray
- Fanthorpe wins by tech fall (21-5) (ISU 8, UVU 0)
- I liked that Fanthorpe went after it right away. He got the first takedown within the first 30 seconds or so. Most of the action happened in the 2nd period. It wasn't apparent we were going for the tech until there was about a minute left in the 2nd. It was clear that Fanthrope could turn this guy, so he went on a takedown clinic on Ray. Fanthrope also picked up 7 back points as well during the match.
- The exciting part of the match was the end of the second period. It was clear what Fanthorpe was trying to do and I love watching the drama. I love to see if he's going to make it, and I love to see if the other guy can stop the tech from happening.
141: Nick Gallick vs. Jeff Newby
- Gallick wins by decision 5-3 (ISU 11, UVU 0)
- I don't want to be a Gallick-hater as I think he's a talented wrestler. I just can't really figure him out. He's ranked #2 in the nation in his weight class but hasn't been impressive as of yet. He won his wrestle-off by just 1 point and won this match by just 2 points
- Not a lot of action in the first period, although Gallick did get the first takedown. I don't know, Newby was able to escape after each Gallick takedown. Newby wasn't able to get a takedown and it was clear he hit the wall during the 3rd period.
- Credit goes to Newby for hanging in there and not looking too bad against the #2 guy. With Gallick, I'm just not sure. I'm hoping he's doing just enough to win the match, although I don't like that style of wrestling. If you're hoping to win a NCAA championship at your weight class, you've gotta look dominant against unranked foes.
- Gallick will be an interesting story as the season progresses.
149: Mitch Mueller vs. Justin Morrill
- Mueller wins by decision 8-4 (ISU 14, UVU 0)
- Another rather uneventful match. Not a lot of action when the guys were on their feet.
- Going into the 3rd, Mueller was up 3-2. It was another case of Utah Valley State hitting the wall in the third period and us taking advantage of it. Very vanilla match overall.
157: Cyler Sanderson vs. Wade Eldridge
- Sanderson wins by major decision 15-5 (ISU 18, UVU 0)
- Cyler is a fun wrestler to watch. His style is different than the rest of the team. He really went after it, and tried to get a pin. It's really hard to explain in words, but I just love watching this guy wrestle. To me, he always goes for the big win and he takes control of the match from the get-go. There usually isn't much that's mundane when Cyler wrestles.
- Even though this match was never in doubt, you still have to watch because you don't really know what Sanderson is going to pull out. I loved his aggressiveness and going for the pin. It wasn't a match were we NEEDED bonus points, but as an individual, you want to dominate: if you can get the pin, you go for it and I love watching that!
165: Jon Reader vs. Jeb Clark
- Reader wins by decision 5-3 (ISU 21, UVU 0)
- This was an up and down kind of a match. Reader came out the gates and got a take down pretty quickly. After that not much happend in the 1st period.
- The second period was definatley the most exciting one in this match. Clark was able to put Reader on his back for a couple of seconds and took the lead in the match until Reader pulled off the reversal and got ahead 4-3.
- In the third, it was apparent that Clark hit a wall. He chose down and Reader rode him the whole period and picked up a point for riding time. It was obvious Clark was just beat. I mean, if you're down by 1 going into the last period, you're usually pumped to try to get that escape right away. Towards the end of the third, Clark spent time just laying on his belly.
- Overall it was an exciting 2nd period, although the first and third were pretty plain
174: Chris Pursel vs. Bradley Darrington
- Pursel wins by decision 6-4 (ISU 24, UVO 0)
- This was the match of the night. It was exciting and anyones match.
- It did start off slow as not much really happened in the first period. Both guys were pretty tenative from the start. Pursel did get a takedown towards the end of the first and Darrington did get the escape.
- Second period was pretty mundane as well. Pursel rode Darrington most of the period, but wasn't able to get any back points. Darrington did escape towards the end, and not much happend when this guys were on their feet. It was 2-2 going into the third.
- In the third, Pursel went down and took the lead right away as he got an escape. The guys were trying up a lot and not doing much until Darrington got a takedown and took a 1 point lead within the final minute of the match. Pursel was able to escape relativley quickly. Pursel got a take down within the final 30 seconds and Hilton erupted! It was some of the loudest cheers of the night! Pursel rode him out and won 6-4.
- This was the only match in which I felt like it was anyones and there were times where ISU wasn't in control. I'm glad there was a match like this, as Hilton was pretty quiet for most of the night.
184: Jerome Ward vs. Casen Eldridge
- Ward wins by decision 3-2 (ISU 27, UVO 0)
- This was Ward's collegiate debut, so I'm sure there was some nerves during this match.
- Not a lot really happened, as both guys were pretty defensive during the whole match.
- With the score tied 1-1 , Ward was able to get a takedown which gave him the lead.
- There was another case of UVO hitting a wall, however, as Eldridge was down 3-2 with about a minute left in the match and he wasn't really able to get a takedown. You could just tell he was tired and going through the motions.
- Good for Ward with getting his first collegiate win. I hope that he was able to shake nerves and be aggressive when he's called upon to wrestle.
197: Jake Varner vs. Adam Fager
- Varner wins by fall (2:34) (ISU 33, UVO 0)
- Not really a whole lot to say about this match. Varner was dominant and able to get the pin. He had his way with Fager.
- This is what I expect to see from the #1 guy in the Nation in his weight class. He came right out the gates and took control of the match. He got a takedown right away and was aggressive in going for the pin right away as well.
- HWT: David Zabriskie - Won by Forfeit.
- Final: ISU 39, UVO 0
Overall, I had fun watching these guys go at it for the first time of the year. I hope some of the lower weight classes and some of the less experienced guys can work on being aggressive. I know everyone wants to win all of their matches, but this was one of those duals that was never in doubt. If one of those guys tried something crazy that cost him the match, it wouldn't have killed the team. At the same time, however, wrestlers care about their individual rankings and their personal records.
I have to give credit to UVU as some of their guys really battled and were in decent shape in several matches. They just weren't as conditioned as our guys, and perhaps the reason why they were so close was because they exerted so much energy in the first two periods just to stay in it.
ISU's next dual is at #12 Wisconsin on November 21st. It will be interesting to see how we do against a tougher opponent.
The next home meet is against Arizona State on Sunday, November 23rd at 7pm. I plan on being there and I hope many come out to cheer on the Cyclones!