CEDAR FALLS — A capacity crowd at West Gym provided a deserving atmosphere for in-state rivals Northern Iowa and Iowa State as they tangled for the first time as Big 12 Conference opponents.
Northern Iowa got out to the fast start everyone anticipated when Jay Schwarm pinned Iowa State’s Sinjin Briggs in 51 seconds and flexed to the home crowd after his decisive victory at 125 pounds. UNI went on to defeat Iowa State 31-7, its largest margin of victory over the Cyclones in school history.
“31 to 7, that’s good,” UNI (6-4, 3-2) head coach Doug Schwab said. “Turned around a couple matches too. Like Carter (Isley). Last time Carter lost to (Marcus Harrington), so that’s always a good thing. I still think there’s situations where we can attack even more and score more points.”
The Cyclones responded at 133 pounds. Markus Simmons defeated Jack Wagner 14-0 and brought Iowa State within two at 6-4.
“(Jack Wagner’s) got a leg up a couple times, you know,” Schwab said. “Then all the sudden you got the leg up and the next thing you know you’re getting taken down. So, got to capitalize on those things a little bit more, but overall a pretty good performance.”
The Cyclones’ two-point deficit didn’t last as Josh Alber’s forfeit win at 149 gave the Panthers a 12-4 advantage they wouldn’t look back from.
Max Thomsen took a 3-1 lead over Jarrett Degen into the third period, then converted on a number of shots in the final period for a 7-5 win.
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Logan Ryan extended the Panthers’ lead with a 3-1 win over Chase Straw at 157 pounds. Ryan received a stall warning during the third period but rebounded with a late takedown that brought the capacity crowd to a deafening roar.
Skyler St. John gave the Cyclones their only other win of the evening at 165 pounds, defeating Dan Kelly 7-4. Taylor Lujan, Drew Foster, Jacob Holschlag and Carter Isley also won for the Panthers. Lujan dominated Danny Bush in a 17-6 major decision. The sophomore racked up seven takedowns and 1:39 of riding time in his decisive victory.
“I like how (Lujan) competed (tonight),” Schwab said. “I like the little bit of grit and edge to him and kind of humiliate a guy a little bit. I mean, if you can do that, if you can score those kind of points then do it. He can do that more often.”
Foster labored with Dane Pestano at 184 pounds, but his two takedowns were the difference in a 6-4 win. Holschlag and Sam Colbray entered the third period scoreless, but two minutes of riding time gave Holschlag his 15th victory of the season. Heavyweight Isley capped off the Panthers’ decisive win, holding off Waterloo native Marcus Harrington in the final seconds of the third period for a 4-3 decision.
“I think we kept attacking for the most part which is what I want to see,” Schwab said. “I mean, we’re scoring at ends of periods which is always good. A packed West Gym is fun. I want it like this every time. We have to decide that. If you’re ranked No. 1 in the country this place will be packed every time. Great atmosphere.”