This weekend the Iowa State Cyclones will be hosting their annual Harold Nichols (Cyclone) Open and there are already quite a few interesting competitors in the field. Among the teams that will be in attendance are: Missouri, Indiana, UI-Edwardsville, UNK, Concordia, Northern Illinois, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Central, Iowa Western, and Grand View. Missouri is considered a top 10 tournament team in the nation, so they will bring a lot of fire power. Also, Grand View is considered the strongest team in the NAIA division by a good margin. Iowa will also be sending a collection of true freshmen, which should also shake up the field. (All rankings from Intermat)
125: This is shaping up to be an interesting weight as Missouri has the #3 ranked Alan Waters who recently took out last year’s 4th place All-American Joey Dance at the All-Star dual. ISU’s top duo of Kyle Larson and Nathan Boston just finished 1st and 2nd respectively at the Kaye Young. Grand View will bring a former Cyclone and NAIA champion Ryak Finch who is the top ranked wrestler in his division. Iowa Lakes (NJCAA) #1 ranked Freddie Rodriguez will also be in the field at this weight.
133: Another ISU pair that finished 1st and 2nd last weekend #13 Earl Hall should see a different opponent in the finals this weekend as Missouri’s Matt Manley is ranked #14 and should be Hall’s first real test at his new weight. Robert Hallman was the other Cyclone in the field and there will be several top ten ranked wrestlers from other divisions. Of that bunch #6 (NAIA) Jacob Colon of Grand View is the biggest name, as he is the brother of the D1 3rd place All-American Joe Colon.
141: This tournament will also feel the absence of ISU’s John Meeks. Meeks sat out last week for precautionary reasons (no official word given, but from all indications he seems to be okay and will be ready for the season) and it appears his first action will be against Boise. Even with Meeks not in the field, there are still some interesting wrestlers competing such as Missouri’s #13 Lavion Mayes, #1 Brandon Wright and #8 Walker Marshall of Grand View, and Kaye Young Open winner Dante Rodriguez. One of the bigger questions will be how will the young freshman Rodriguez hold up against some stiffer compeition?
In terms of Hawkeyes who will be in attendance Iowa will be sending a pair of talented freshmen in Seth Gross and Logan Ryan. This will be the first opportunity we will get to see of Iowa’s future so with some of the best NAIA has to offer, and at least one top 15 wrestler in the field, the two young Hawkeyes can make a name for themselves pretty quick.
149: Gabe Moreno handled his weight change very well last weekend as he brought home a title last weekend over teammate Blaine Briceno. ISU fans saw significant improvement from the older Moreno when he was given the chance to bump a weight class so the potential matchup with #6 Drake Houdshelt of Missouri is intriguing. Grand View has a NAIA runner-up Gustavo Martinez, who is also bumping up from the 141 weight class. Martinez is ranked #2 at his new weight class. The Hawkeyes will bring Tagen Lambotte, a four time Kansas state champion who didn’t get a ton of national buzz, but was commended for his work ethic when he signed.
157: This could be another opportunity to figure out who will be the 157 man for the Cyclones this season. Luke Gottel edged out Danny Woiwor last weekend in the finals, but this will be a new opportunity for Woiwor to bring himself back into the race, or for Gottel to try and end the conversation. Dallas Houchins is the #2 ranked wrestler in NAIA for Grand View and Iowa Central brings #2 Richie Lewis (NJCAA) to the field. There could be a familiar name wrestling at this weight in St. John. Skyler St. John is the younger brother of former NCAA champion Derek and will look to continue a Hawkeye brother tradition.
165: This will be an interesting weight even with #3 Mike Moreno as the clear favorite. The list of competitors is where the names get interesting, starting with #12 Taylor Walsh of Indiana. Walsh bumped from 149 to 157 last season and he saw fantastic success pinning over 20 opponents along the way. Now up at 165 he will get a chance to prove himself against one of the best in Moreno. There is also a group of freshmen that could make things interesting. Logan Breitenbach was the runner-up to Moreno last weekend, and Iowa will be bringing Ross Lembeck and a Greco-Roman national champion Burke Paddock. Grand View has the #2 ranked Jimmie Schuessler.
174: Cyclone #7 Tanner Weatherman will look to defend his home turf and his biggest challenger could be the second ex-Cyclone in this tournament in #15 Mikey England. I would expect Weatherman to handle England and the rest of the field which includes Grand View’s #4 Thomas Moman, Iowa Central’s #5 Jake Meehan, and Iowa Lakes’ #6 Elijah Dennis.
184: ISU’s #18 Lelund Weatherspoon will have a chance to improve his ranking as Missouri should bring #15 John Eblen to the Open to create what should be the finals bout. Looking to pull an upset will be ture freshman from Iowa Mitch Bowman, who was a Fargo All-American, and Grand View’s #1 ranked Christian Mays.
197: Even though #3 Kyven Gadson destroyed his fellow Cyclone and true freshman Marcus Harrington at the Kaye Young tournament, a potential rematch would still be a must-see match. To reach the finals Harrington will most likely have to go through #19 ranked Luke Sheridan of Indiana. It could be an interesting test for the young Cyclone. The big question is whether Missouri will bring returning 197 NCAA champion J’den Cox, who was beat last weekend at the NWCA All-Star dual. If Cox comes ISU fans will hope to see Gadson knock off Cox like he did a season ago.
285: This weight could potentially be open for someone to take, but the favorite on paper will be #16 Devon Mellon of Missouri. He will be the only D1 ranked wrestler in the field, but Quean Smith of ISU will look to defend his home mat as well Tyler Swoope. Smith holds the head-to-head win from the previous weekend over Swoope so he will look to continue to man this spot for the Cyclones. Sam Stoll will be an interesting competitor as he was a top 15 recruit in the 2014 class and actually placed at the US Open this Spring in Greco-Roman. Iowa Central has the #2 ranked Junior College heavyweight Chris Ballard, and Grand View will bring #8 ranked Dean Broghammer.