116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DETROIT — Nobody wants to be in the consolation round.
If a wrestler is in that predicament, it means their title hopes were dashed and competitive lives are on the line.
When the Iowa State trio of David Carr, Marcus Coleman and Yonger Bastida faced that very situation, they made the most of it.
“Obviously, those three guys are the guys that all of them came in seeded in the top 10,” Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said. “I think they still have something to prove. No one likes being on the backside, but I liked their toughness this morning because that’s the No. 1 thing.”
After three disappointing second-round losses, the Cyclones trio rebounded with a 6-0 combined record during the third session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Friday morning at Little Caesars Arena. All three moved into the blood round — the round that separates the eight All-Americans and the last four eliminated wrestlers at each weight.
“It’s exciting to wrestle Friday night at the NCAA tournament with all what is going on here, all the studs and upsets,” Dresser said. “You’ve got to be grateful and understand you’re blessed to be here.”
Carr, the returning NCAA champion and top seed at 157 pounds, posted two tight victories, beating Oklahoma State’s Wyatt Sheets, 3-2, and Iowa’s Kaleb Young, 5-3. This came after a heartbreaking, 2-1, overtime loss to Oregon State’s Hunter Willits in the final second of tiebreaker-1, thwarting his repeat attempt in the second round Thursday.
Coleman gave up a pin in sudden victory Thursday night. The senior 184-pounder responded with a 6-1 victory over Princeton’s Travis Stefanik and a wild, 18-13 decision over Oklahoma State’s Dakota Geer, scoring seven points in the final period to move within a victory of his first All-America finish in three NCAA appearances.
Bastida (197) dropped a one-point decision, but handled Maryland’s Jaron Smith, 11-4. He used a third-period takedown to upend Arizona State’s Kordell Norfleet, 4-2, to move into the top 12.
“There have been many a great one that have done it,” Dresser said. “You have to etch your name in that history book of guys. We can talk about all kinds of guys that were maybe supposed to win and came back to get it done on the backside.”
Perspective is key. Dresser said they have to be excited for more opportunities and that it’s a blessing to advance each round in the national tournament field with this kind of atmosphere.
“I’m excited for them,” Dresser said. “It’s a gut-check. This isn’t easy. This is a tough tournament.”
Max Lyon roars back
Former Western Dubuque two-time state champion and Purdue senior Max Lyon produced a run of victories to move within one win of the awards stand.
Lyon, who entered the tournament as the 30th-seed in the 33-man 184-pound bracket, suffered an opening-round loss Thursday, but posted four straight decisions to reach the top 12.
Lyon won two matches Friday morning to extend the streak. He used a third-period escape and a takedown in sudden victory to defeat No. 13 Kyle Cochran of Maryland, 6-4. Lyon followed by beating Oklahoma’s No. 27 Keegan Moore, 11-6, tallying four takedowns. Moore is a former Northern Iowa and Oklahoma State wrestler.
Lyon also has a win over North Carolina’s No. 14-seed Gavin Kane and improved to 16-14 after the third session.
Gable Steveson going out in style
Minnesota heavyweight and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson has said this would be his final competition. He was asked before the tournament if he considered more international competitions instead of signing a pro wrestling contract.
“Me and my family as a whole thought about the possibilities that we can make,” Steveson said. “I think a good choice for me was to come back to the NCAA tournament and try to win this special thing again and then go to the WWE, and I got a three-year deal with them, so it comes around about 2024, 2025-ish, so you know what I'm trying to get at. Who knows?”
The defending NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner has been dominant in his route to the semifinals.
Steveson has 27 takedowns through his first three matches. He tallied 12 in his 25-10 technical fall over UNI’s Tyrell Gordon in the first round. He had 11 in a 23-8 technical fall over Missouri’s Rocky Elam and added four in a 10-5 decision over Northwestern’s Lucas Davison in the quarterfinals.