AMES — Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Dresser’s word of the year was “bumpy.”
He knew there were going to be ups and downs throughout the season and he knew it was going to be difficult. The problem he found was he didn’t know when the ups and downs were going to come.
“It’s like getting on a roller coaster in the dark,” Dresser said. “You don’t see the track in front of you, but you know you’re going to get whipped around. We got whipped around a little bit.”
On Saturday and Sunday, Iowa State wrestles in the Big 12 Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
“If you’re serious about wrestling, this weekend and getting ready for NCAAs is what you live for,” Dresser said. “I’m still anticipating a few more whips around the track as we go forward. It’s definitely not over, but we knew what we were signing up for.”
Only Jarrett Degen (149) earned a seed that would be good enough for an automatic qualifying spot for the Big 12, so in theory, Iowa State should only send one wrestler. But Dresser knows his team is capable of more.
He said if the team wrestles well, Iowa State could qualify five or six guys qualify. If they don’t, Iowa State could only qualify one.
“In certain weight classes, we have to go steal some of those bids, so that’s exciting,” Dresser said. “Seeds and brackets mean nothing. You just have to grab the first guy they put in front of you, and you have a job to do. And the second guy they put in front of you, whether it’s on the front side or backside, you have a job to do.”
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Iowa State 197-pounder Sam Colbray came on strong to end the season, pinning No. 10 and the No. 2 seed Nate Rotert.
“I want to win the thing,” Colbray said. “I’m not going to second guess myself or tell myself I can’t win that thing. When Sam Colbray is ready and Sam Colbray is good, which I think I will be, it’ll be a good performance. It’s just putting everything together when you step out on the mat.”
Ian Parker moved up to 141 pounds after Kanen Storr asked for his release. None of Parker’s successes transfer up a weight, so he essentially had a blank resume. Because of that, the Big 12 only got three allocations at 141 pounds. That means Parker will have to steal one if he wants to punch his ticket to Cleveland.
“I wouldn’t say pressure,” Parker said. “I’d say more excitement and drive and more motivation.”
While this season has been unpredictable for Dresser, and the Big 12 Championships will likely follow suit, he is happy with the overall progress the team has made.
“I think there’s growth from a culture stand point and getting the team to understand the staff,” Dresser said. We’ve seen growth in wrestling, we’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve had growth in hopefully style and the emphasis in scoring points and bonus points and getting after guys and winning close matches and taking guys down in overtime.”
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