AMES — Iowa State wrestling redshirt freshman Austin Gomez (133) sees an opportunity to shake up the entire 133-pound bracket.
Saturday, the Cyclones wrestle in the Big 12 Championships in Tulsa, Okla., and No. 11 Gomez is in a bracket with fellow freshman phenom No. 2 Daton Fix.
The last time the two wrestled, Gomez lost 5-4 but recorded the only takedown against the Oklahoma State standout.
“It’s exciting,” Gomez said. “(Oklahoma State coach) John Smith said it’s the toughest weight class he’s ever seen in his coaching career. If I win this weekend, it proves to myself that I can go out and do this thing as a freshman. No one is expecting me to do it, but I expect myself to do it.”
Gomez has a 14-9 win over No. 4 Austin DeSanto of Iowa and a pin over No. 9 Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State. 133 is truly a weight class where anybody in the top 12 can beat anybody.
Gomez getting a win over Fix in the Big 12s will only help his confidence.
“I like the spotlight. I like the big stages,” Gomez said. “That’s why we train every single day, do the extra runs and have a clean diet. Those big matches don’t happen too often.”
As a team, Iowa State is in a good position. The No. 15 Cyclones are clearly behind No. 2 Oklahoma State but Iowa State could easily finish second in the Big 12 with a good weekend.
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“I think everybody is excited and in a good frame of mind right now,” Iowa State Coach Keven Dresser said. “I think we have a pretty talented team, not the most talented team in the nation right now, but we have some talent and some guys that I think are ready to show off.”
Iowa State has three wrestlers seeded No. 2 and three seeded No. 3. Eight Cyclones have put themselves in good positions to make the NCAA Championships.
Sam Colbray is the only Iowa State wrestler seeded No. 1. Colbray had an exceptionally strong end to the season, beating then-No. 5 Drew Foster of Northern Iowa and No. 16 Dylan Wisman of Missouri.
“He has to forget he’s the No. 1 seed and do what he’s been doing,” Dresser said. “Sometimes if you get focused on being the No. 1 seed, you can let down a little bit. We have to continue to attack and continue to attack and continue to build leads. If Sam does that, he has a chance at winning the title this weekend. What a fun year he has had.”
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