Iowa State Wrestling Off to Good Start, Whip Northern Illinois 39-4

Iowa State wrestling team’s motto for the 07/08 season is “Prepare for Glory!”, and judging by last nights 39-4 defeat of Northern Illinois they are prepared.  Unfortunately the crowd didn’t get a chance to see the main attraction of the evening as Northern Illinois’ head coach Dave Grant, a former UNI All-American, chose to forfeit to ISU’s #1 ranked Jake Varner at 184 lbs.  The crowd was still entertained by the rest of ISU’s “Super Sophomores” though. 

This is probably old news to most of you, but I didn’t have the chance to attend any of ISU’s home meets last year, so this is the first I’ve seen a Cael Sanderson coached squad at home.  I was quite impressed.  First with what Cael and his staff have done with the atmosphere.  Half of Hilton Coliseum is partitioned off to create a “rowdier” crowd and PA announcer Scott Casber of KXNO’s Takedown Radio fame did a nice job of getting the crowd in to the meet.  I am really looking forward to Cy-Hawk series dual coming to Ames.  Although it sounds like neither team’s line-ups will be squared away yet with Iowa’s projected starters at 133 & 197 out with injuries and ISU still up in the air at 125.  I also liked the mat being set off by spotlights and the rest of the gym being dimly light.  It sure created a nice atmosphere from some good wrestling. 

ISU seemed to start slow with Ben Hanisch 2-0 defeat, but this was Ben’s first real varsity action in front of the hometown crowd.  Nick Fanthorpe picked the action up in the marquee match up of the evening by defeating returning NCAA qualifier and 11th ranked Pat Castillo 6-1.  Nick didn’t look like the jump from 125 to 133 bothered him at all, nor did it look like it bothered any of the rest of the “Super Sophomores”.  Then Nick Gallick came out firing and jumped to a big lead, but seemed to slow down a bit in the third period, but still came away with a 7-3 win.  Next up was Iowa City grown Mitch Mueller with an impressive 12-3 win.  Mitch did a real nice job of attaching the whole 7 minutes and scored several takedowns after intentionally releasing his NIU opponent. 

I think Cyler Sanderson proved some critics wrong when he carried his opponent back to the center of the mat to put him down for his first takedown of the match early in the first period.  You see some message board posters thought Cyler wouldn’t be strong enough for the jump from 149 to 157.  If that takedown didn’t do it his third period thundering double leg sure should have. 

Probably the most anticipated freshman since the Heskett/Cael days took the mat next and didn’t disappoint.  Former Davison, Michigan prep Jon Reader just about made quick work of his opponent with a fall in the first period.  Referee Keith Poolman didn’t agree with the crowd and let the match continue.  Reader didn’t give up though and came away with a fall at 4:42 of the second period.  Red shirt freshman Mitch Artist was up next with NIU’s 14th ranked returning NCAA qualifier Duke Burk at 174 lbs.  Mitch ran into a buzz saw and lost in his ISU debut 14-2. 

Then Jake Varner made a nice entrance only to have his hand raised with a forfeit.  Folks, we might be seeing a lot of that this season as Jake is a pinning machine and opposing coaches don’t seem to want to have their wrestlers face him.  He will be getting some action in the NWCA All-Star Dual coming up in Eugene, Oregon in the next couple weeks though.  Should be a nice test for Varner as he will go up against his nemesis Roger Kish of Minnesota who will be looking for revenge from his defeat in the semi’s of the NCAA Tournament last season to Varner. 

David Bertolino took the mat next and looked like a legitimate 97 pounder after wrestling 174 lbs. last season.  He used the Krieger Turk to cruise to a 17-1 technical fall.  Last of the “Super Sophomores” up was returning Big XII Champion David Zabriskie.  Once again he looked undersized compared to his heavyweight opponent, but in typical fashioned wore his opponent down for a pin to open the third period. 

ISU didn’t disappoint and I look forward to their next action of the season this Saturday at the Lied Recreation Center on the ISU Campus when the Harold Nichols Open returns home after a brief stay up in Fort Dodge and Iowa Central Community College.  See you there.

125-Ben Hanisch (ISU) beat Timothy Wunnicke, 2-0
133-Nick Fanthorpe (ISU) beat Pat Castillo, 6-1
141-Nick Gallick (ISU) beat Pat McLemore, 7-3
149-Mitch Mueller (ISU) beat Kalen Knull, 12-3
157-Cyler Sanderson (ISU) beat Aaron Owen, 12-5
165-Jon Reader (ISU) pinned Bryan Deutsch, 4:42
174-Duke Burk (NIU) beat Mitch Artist, 14-2
184-Jake Varner (ISU) won by forfeit
197-David Bertolino (ISU) won by technical fall over Jake Smith, 18-1, 6:13
Hwt-Dave Zabriskie (ISU) pinned David Benner, 6:12  

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