Who: Iowa State vs Central Michigan
What: Non-Conference Dual
When: Sunday, January 31st 2:00 PM
Where: Hilton Coliseum Ames, Iowa
Twitter: @IAwrestle will be providing live updates from Hilton
The Iowa State Cyclones make their 2016 home debut Sunday at 2 PM (CT) in Ames. The afternoon tilt features two ranked squads, albeit, squads which have been streaky over the past month. Number 21 ranked CMU (6-3) is coming off a solid performance against UNI Friday, where the Chippewas won a decisive 7 of 10 matches in their 22-11 triumph. The 17th ranked Cyclones are coming off a shaky road trip to Oklahoma where they came away with just 4 total wins on the weekend. Match ups are often the key to dual victories and losses, and this even will be no different.
125: Brent Fleetwood vs Kyle Larson (ISU)
It may be the first match of the afternoon, but it is also one of the most crucial matches for the dual. Entering the day with similar results thus far, the match will come down to who wants to put forth more offense. Clashing styles will make this an interesting bout; Fleetwood with a longer, outside style; Larson with the strong tie up wrestling style.
133: Corey Keener vs Earl Hall (ISU)
On paper, this should be Hall all day. However, Keener has been known to keep it tight with some opponents in the past. What could be indicative of the potential outcome is the previous meeting between these two. Hall defeated Keener via 7-3 decision in Mount Pleasant last season. Again, this match has huge dual meet implications, with coach Kevin Jackson fully expecting a bonus point performance from Hall.
141: Zach Horan vs Nathan Boston (ISU)
A week after Nathan Boston is announced the full time starter at 141,he’ll get his chance to pick up his first win at the weight. Boston took on number 1 ranked Dean Hiel last weekend, dropping a 4-0 decision. Horan is coming off a last second victory over Juach of UNI Friday, but one he had to fight for. Boston’s style could be beneficial for him moving forward, as he has a surprising amount of length even up a few weight classes. Like 125, this match is closer on paper, and is key to team victory for either team.
149: Justin Oliver/Collin Heffernan vs Blayne Briceno/Dante Rodgriguez (ISU)
A bit of clarity could still be coming as to who will get the nod for both teams Sunday. Heffernan has the pedigree for the Chippewas, but Oliver has been on a streak of his own lately, winning his previous 7. Iowa States questions at the weight revolve around the injury of the Cyclone’s regular Gabriel Moreno. The 149 pounder suffered a shoulder injury last weekend against Oklahoma State, which has opened up the weight to two potential backups. Blayne Briceno has seen limited action this year, but is 1-0 in dual competition. Dante Rodriguez, a fan favorite for his aggressive flair on the mat, could also get the nod after losing his spot at 141 to Boston. Whoever gets the green light Sunday, they will need to wrestle a smart match to keep the scrambling skills of both Chippewas at ease.
157: Luke Smith vs Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer/Logan Brietenbach (ISU)
Smith, potentially the best wrestler in the CMU lineup, had to grind out a lackluster 1-0 decision in Cedar Falls on Friday, but has otherwise proven to be a pretty tough out. Entering the day ranked 8 in the nation, He uses a tough top game with legs and tilts as his primary form of scoring. For the Cyclones, we’re no closer to naming a definite starter, as both RRS and Brietenbach have shown spots of promise but both have much more to prove. Brietenbach has been troubled with a minor injury, but should be ready to go on Sunday, if needed.
165: Jordan Atienza vs Tanner Weatherman (ISU)
Weatherman has been ON since Midlands, racking up a 10-2 record since then. His latest loss is to 2x NCAA champion Alex Dieringer last weekend. Atienza is also coming off a loss; a 9-1 defeat at the hands of Cooper Moore Friday. Weatherman will be expected to score bonus points for the Cyclones, but Atienza has the ability to slow things down if you let him.
174: Mike Ottinger vs Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU)
Ottinger has quietly put together a pretty good season, with wins over Blaise Butler, Myles Martin, and others. He is about as bulky as he is tall, which makes him extremely difficult to score on. Lelund has been relatively quiet since the early portions of the season, so a win here over a highly ranked foe would do him wonders.
184: Jordan Ellingwood vs Dane Pestano (ISU)
Returning to the theme of the toss up match, 184 could prove to be a pivotal point in the meet down the stretch. Pestano has really come on as of late, proving to be a considerable candidate for an NCAA birth. There is also an outside chance we could see the debut for Junior World Silver medalist Patrick Downey, although unlikely. Ellingwood is coming off a dominating victory in Cedar Falls Friday.
197: Jackson Lewis vs Marcus Harrington (ISU)
Harrington needs this win to continue to make a case for an NCAA bid after joining the season quite late. The cyclone currently holds a 5-5 record following a defeat in Stillwater last Sunday. The Junior National Champion could use a few solid W’s on his resume moving into February. Lewis has come on strong lately for the Chippewas, proving to be an unlikely bright spot for Coach Borelli. He won 6-1 at UNI two days ago.
285: Newton Smerchek vs Quean Smith
This match is a must win for Iowa State on paper, given all of the toss up matches of the dual. Smith has the capability of scoring bonus points, strictly with his athleticism. That style has proven to be effective over Smerchek, following his 15-5 defeat to Cabell Friday.