Iowa State wrestling trending up, coach Kevin Dresser says

Campbell's football turnaround has created blueprint for success

Kevin Dresser
Kevin Dresser

AMES — Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser is stealing football coach Matt Campbell’s “process.”

The Cyclones lost to Rider on Sunday, 22-15. Both teams won five matches, but Rider’s wins included two major decisions, a technical fall and a fall. The bonus points were the difference in the meet.

“It’s very similar to two weeks ago in Hilton,” Dresser said. “In terms of wins and losses, we let another win slide out of our hands. As a staff, we’re still trying to learn this team. We hate to lose and my coaching staff hates to lose like crazy, and I hate to lose like crazy but to steal Coach Campbell’s word, there’s a process. He’s milked it for two years and look at the results that he’s had.”

After a 3-9 inaugural season, Campbell turned the football program around and now, the Cyclones are bowl eligible for the first time since 2012 and have a winning conference record.

The 3-9 2016 season included games where Iowa State was blown out, games where Iowa State lost in the closing seconds and games where Iowa State won.

Consistency and execution were the two biggest hang-ups for Campbell last year, and through two tournaments and two dual meets, wrestling appears to be on a similar path.

Campbell mostly remedied that this season, and Dresser said Campbell’s progress is something he hopes to emulate.

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“We’re progressing,” Dresser said. “As fast as we want to? No. But we’re progressing. It’s really not about winning and losing (right now).”

Two guys Dresser can turn to as guys for the rest of the team to emulate, just as Campbell did with receiver Allen Lazard and linebacker Joel Lanning, are Kanen Storr (141) and Jarrett Degen (149).

“We use each other as examples,” Storr said. “He pushes me a lot and he’s a great partner to have — and I get frustrated, I throw out cuss words and hit the mat in the practice room a little bit — but that’s because I’m exhausting myself and pushing myself to that fatigue point.”

Even though both guys won on Sunday, neither was happy with their performance.

Ian Parker (133) got pinned in a match that, on paper, he should’ve won or even gotten bonus points.

Iowa State needed guys to make up for the lost points.

“For us, as competitors, we really had to go out and get bonus points and neither of us did that so we failed our jobs to make up for what happened there,” Storr said. “We have to learn to throw the kitchen sink out there. If we lose those points we were planning on, then we have to make up for it.”

Degen said he needed to work his tilts harder, and getting taken down in the first period wasn’t acceptable.

“I just want to score more points,” Degen said. “Ian said to me after the match, ‘Sorry I let you guys down.’ And I said, ‘Don’t ever say that again, we didn’t score the most points we could. It’s our fault, too.’ Ian’s one of the hardest workers in the room and he’ll bounce back.”

The Cyclones have hit some bumps in the road early, but so did Campbell’s football team last year. Even early in the season, though, the growth from guys like Marcus Harrington and Dane Pestano have been tangible. Pestano is 9-2 with a 2-0 dual record and Harrington is 8-4 with a 2-0 dual record.

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“Like Coach Dresser says, you can’t really put a date on it,” Storr said. “You have to give it time. I think we’re starting to build.”

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