Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State wrestling fans play key role in 25-16 win over West Virginia

Kevin Dresser: 'We're going to keep building this thing'

AMES — Hilton Coliseum flashed back to its wrestling glory days on Sunday.

Iowa State fans willed the wrestlers to shoot one more shot, get the extra bonus point and — of course — for the referee to call stalling.

Iowa State (6-5, 2-2 Big 12) beat West Virginia (3-5, 2-3) 25-16. The outcome may have been expected given the way the Cyclones have been wrestling the last two weeks, but the journey to the final score was an adventure. And the fans weren’t just along for the ride. They were a part of it.

The Cyclones started off the dual losing their first three matches — one by technical fall. In the other two matches — 133 and 141 — Iowa State’s wrestler was ranked, but both of them lost in sudden victory to their Mountaineer counterparts.

No. 16 Kanen Storr (141) was in control of his match in the third period, but a late push by Christian Monserrat forced Storr into a bad position and Monserrat got the takedown with four seconds left. In sudden victory, Storr was in on a shot, but Monserrat won the scramble and won the match.

The crowd felt out of it, and Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said it could have gone one of two ways. The Cyclones could have put their heads down and kept losing, or they could have got a chip on their shoulders and turn it around.

They turned it around.

“I really felt like from 149 on up, we showed our stuff,” Dresser said.

Jarrett Degen (149) started playing catch and release with his opponent in the third period and won 18-5. Chase Straw (157) started to do the same, but couldn’t quite get the major decision, winning 13-6.

“As a coach, you never want to see anybody win by seven,” Dresser said. “But Chase is making strides in that he’s challenging himself. I think the old Chase would’ve been happy with a 3-2 or 4-2 win.”

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The crowd got reenergized, but Iowa State was still losing 11-7. It was after intermission when Hilton really got going.

At 174 pounds, Danny Bush let Parker VonEgidy in on his legs. Bush didn’t panic. Bush got an under hook with one arm and headlock with the other while they were scrambling on the mat. He flipped VonEgidy to his back.

Pin.

“(The crowd) was electrifying,” Bush said. “It felt good hearing them get that loud.”

Dane Pestano (184) followed the Bush pin with 9-4 decision; his opponent, Brenden McRill, was broken.

“Pestano did it perfectly,” Dresser said. “Pestano was up by two with a minute to go, he takes him down and takes the guy’s will away. The guy lays there. In wrestling terminology, that’s when you break your opponent. Pestano did exactly what we needed to do at 141.”

The crowd sensed the situation. Iowa State trailed 17-16 with two matches left. At 197, Iowa State’s Sam Colbray was the underdog to No. 13 Jacob Smith.

That match was going how everyone expected. Smith got a takedown and rideout in the first period. In the second, Smith started on top and again, he was riding tough.

But he was also fatiguing and the crowd could sense it. Smith was slow getting back to the center of the mat on restarts and he wasn’t doing much on top.

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“There are three rounds for a reason,” Colbray said. “Everybody has their tough position, whether it’s top, whether it’s escaping or whether it’s on their feet. I feel best on my feet. I feel good with my defense and offense – my cardio is there.”

Colbray got the escape and forced a stall warning on Smith because Colbray kept driving forward and forcing the action.

The crowd got louder. Colbray was tied 2-2 going into the third period but Smith already had riding time locked up.

Colbray got into an upper body position in the third period with double under hooks and threw Smith like a rag doll to the mat. Hilton erupted but Colbray couldn’t lock up the pin and the two were headed to sudden victory — where Iowa State had lost twice before in the dual.

Off the whistle, Colbray drove the tired Smith straight out of bounds.

Stalling. Cobray won and the nearly 3,000 fans were all on their feet.

“That’s what happens when you lose oxygen,” Colbray said. “You get caught off guard. I was kind of tired myself, but I knew I needed to keep wrestling. When I got to my feet, I knew it was go time; we have to compete, we have to wrestle.”

Iowa State led 19-17 with just the heavyweight match left. Iowa State’s Marcus Harrington was the heavy favorite against Brandon Ngati.

“We talk a lot about separating yourself when you get the opportunity,” Dresser said. “Based on the pairing, (Harrington) was a favorite and should’ve been a strong favorite. He needs to challenge himself and go out and get bonus points. He sat in the back and watched 174 go build some excitement, and then 184, and of course 197 the roof comes off a little bit. I think the old Marcus Harrington might have been happy with a 4-2 or 3-2 win.”

Harrington didn’t just get bonus points, he topped off an electric dual meet with a pin in 1:06.

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“That’s the power of Hilton,” Dresser said. “That’s called home-court advantage. The fans are awesome. I think the fans that weren’t here are going to say, ‘Wow, that place is wild. That place is starting to jump.’ We need to keep it jumping. The last four guys really got it jumping for us.”

Dresser said the fans were the allure of coming to Iowa State. He remembered what Hilton was like as a kid and a fan coming to Iowa State meets. He remembered what Hilton was like as a wrestler at Iowa.

“Let’s blow the roof off of it,” Dresser said. “I think we had 3,000 or 4,000 people there. Let’s see what 15,000 would do when that happens. That’s the goal. That’s the allure of Iowa State when this opportunity came up. I know how much fun Hilton Coliseum is. If you’re out there watching and you haven’t been here, get your butt here. Get your butt here because we’re going to keep building this thing.”

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