Who: Iowa State vs. South Dakota State lelund weatherspoon
Date: Friday, November 4th, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM (CT)
Location: Brookings, SD

The Iowa State Cyclones will open the 2016-17 dual season on the road heading North and West to face Big 12 opponent South Dakota State. This will be the first dual meeting between the two teams since South Dakota State moved into the Big 12 conference for wrestling. All South Dakota State home duals can be viewed live on Flowrestling.

This will be the first official action of the season following the team’s wrestle off’s held last Friday. Following the dual the team will head North to face the North Dakota State Bision for a Sunday dual meeting.

To start the season the Cyclones will be without senior Earl Hall, who has to sit out the first portion of the season as part of the agreement with the NCAA on his final season. This isn’t a new development, as when Hall was notified that the NCAA would be granting him another year of eligibility last spring, he told us he would have to miss the first few duals of the season. Instead we will see sophomore Nathan Boston, who will make his 133-pound debut against the #6 ranked Seth Gross or Zeke Andrade.

Gross is coming down from 141 pounds where he was a NCAA qualifier for the Jackrabbits in 2016 and was also USA Wrestling’s Junior Freestyle World Team member at 60 kg. While Gross stated he felt good at the lower weight, and he is confident he will be able to make the weight consistently, it still doesn’t guarantee he is going to be ready to make the weight in early November. Not breaking any news, but we are leaving the door open to the possibility that junior Zeke Andrade gets the start for SDSU Friday night.

One of the more interesting outcomes from the team wrestle-offs Friday was true freshman Sammy Colbray pinning sophomore Marcus Harrington. Colbray came into the ISU program with a lot of buzz and right now it appears ISU may have two legitimate options at 197 pounds. SDSU boasts top ten ranked and 2016 Big 12 runner-up Nate Rotert, which will be a tall task for either wrestler, but we have seen head coach Kevin Jackson pull redshirt in the first dual of the season before, so we won’t rule the possibility of Colbray out.

Iowa State could start either Gabe Moreno or John Meeks Friday night, depending on the health of Moreno. A top 20 ranked wrestler at 141 pounds, Moreno was sidelined for most of the 2015-16 season with a shoulder injury and is making his way back to the mat. Because of that injury there is a chance that Jackson could go with senior John Meeks to begin the season to give Moreno more time. The matchup at this weight could pit Iowan vs Iowan, as Henry Pohlmeyer, a Johnston, Iowa native should get the start at 141 pounds if Gross is down to 133. If not we could potentially see Gross at this weight instead.

Also winning wrestle-off bouts for the Cyclones were juniors Blayne Briceno and Dane Pestano who could receive starts 149 and 165 pounds respectively. This will be the first time that Pestano has competed at a weight this low since his middle school days, so it will be interesting to see if Jackson rolls with him this weekend or if he elects to go with the youngster Colston DiBlasi. It’s a long season, which may lead to Jackson sitting Pestano, who made scratch weight at the wrestle-off last weekend.

More than likely we will see freshman Nick Nolting face off against Jackrabbit heavyweight Alex Macki, after Nolting won 6-1 at the team’s wrestle-offs last weekend. Iowa high school wrestling fans may remember that Macki was a two-time state qualifier for Ballard High School taking fourth as a senior.

Bonus points could come at 174 and 184 pounds where Iowa State will have All-Americans Lelund Weatherspoon and Pat Downey back-to-back in the lineup. After finishing fifth at the 2016 NCAA championships at 197 pounds, Downey will make his way down to 184 for the 2016-17 season. The last time Downey was at this weight full time he won the NJCAA title for Iowa Central prior to transferring to Iowa State.

Projected Matchups (IAwrestle projected starter listed first) with Flowrestling Rankings:
Iowa State Cyclones 0-0 vs South Dakota State Jackrabbits 0-0
125- Kyle Larson (SR) vs Ben Gillette (SR)
133- Nathan Boston (SO vs #6 Seth Gross (SO) or Zeke Andrade (JR)
141- John Meeks (SR) or #16 Gabe Moreno (SR) vs Henry Pohlmeyer (FR) or Seth Gross (SO)
149- Blayne Briceno (JR) or Chase Straw (FR) vs Alex Kocer (SR)
157- Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (SO) vs Colin Holler (JR) or Brett Bye (FR)
165- Colston DiBlasi (FR) or Dane Pestano (JR) vs Luke Zilverberg (JR)
174- #7 Lelund Weatherspoon (SR) vs David Kocer (JR)
184- #7 Pat Downey (JR) vs Brady Ayers (SR) or Martin Mueller (FR)
197- #17 Marcus Harrington (SO) or Sammy Colbray (FR) vs #9 Nate Rotert (JR)
285- Nick Nolting (FR) or Alex Silberstein (FR) vs Alex Macki (JR)

Wrestle Stat predictions – SDSU over Iowa State, 20-12
*Note the predictions from Wrestle Stat are based off the lineups above.

Photos in this article were courtesy Patrick Coons Photography (Cover) and John Sachs (Weatherspoon).

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle