Hall, Moreno provide bright spots in ISU wrestling's worst home loss ever

Cyclones end season at 1-12

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AMES — Amid another blowout team loss, Earl Hall and Gabe Moreno walked off their home mat for the last time filled with gratitude.

Hall, a 133-pound senior, and Moreno, a 149-pound senior, proved to be the lone bright spot as the Iowa State wrestling team fell to No. 13 Minnesota 40-7 in the dual season finale.

It was the worst home loss for the Cyclones (1-12) ever, supplanting the 34-3 loss to Oklahoma State last month. Iowa State finishes the dual season with just one win for the first time since 1942-43.

“There’s just a ton of emotions,” said Moreno, who beat Ben Brancale in an 8-0 major decision. “I’m mad because we didn’t really wrestle well as a team. That’s a good team. Losing to them is one thing, but giving up all the bonus points we did is not a good thing.”

A dual also signaled the last home event for coach Kevin Jackson, who announced three weeks ago he would step down after his season. Jackson, who declined to comment Sunday, owns a 68-57 record in eight seasons as the Cyclones coach.

Iowa State fell behind to the Golden Gophers (7-5) 24-0 before intermission, surrendering bonus points in four matches — including pins at 197 and 125.

No. 10 Hall’s 16-9 decision against No. 17 Mitch McKee after the intermission gave way to him walking toward the ISU bench, sharing hugs with assistants Travis Paulson, Trent Paulson, Angel Escobedo and Jackson.

“It was like hugging my dad. I love that man,” Hall said of Jackson. “All I can do right now is go out there and compete for him. That’s all he ever wants.”

“I was definitely happy to win one last time in Hilton for Coach Jackson,” Moreno said. “It means a lot to me. He’s one of my idols. He’s always been one of my idols.”

As Jackson’s tenure nears its end, reports of Iowa State zeroing in on its next coach began to surface Saturday.

FloWrestling reported Iowa State had offered the job to Virginia Tech coach Kevin Dresser. The Iowa State Daily later reported Dresser accepted the offer to become the next Cyclones coach, although conflicting reports began to surface that afternoon.

The indication is that Dresser, 54, has not officially put pen to paper on a deal with Iowa State. He was slated to coach Virginia Tech in a home dual against Nebraska on Sunday night, although an announcement could be made early this week.

Dresser has been the Hokies’ coach since 2006, led them to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA championships last season and was a national champion at Iowa in 1986 at 142 pounds. The Humboldt, Iowa, native was also a two-time All-American and two-time Big Ten champion.

l Comments: montzdylan@gmail.com

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