UNI Panthers

Tyrell Gordon wins UNI debut, but Panthers fall to Cornell Big Red

Former Waterloo East prep sheds redshirt after injury ends season for All-American Jacob Holschlag

Tyrell Gordon
Tyrell Gordon
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CEDAR FALLS — Tyrell Gordon was approached by a group of youth wrestlers.

Eight kids from a local wrestling club, including one wearing a sweatshirt that promoted a feeder for Gordon’s alma mater Waterloo East, surrounded him on the bleachers as they all posed together.

Gordon was recently removed from his redshirt and made his official debut Sunday for Northern Iowa. He was happy to entertain the youngsters, especially being from his nearby hometown.

“I know they’re looking up to me,” Gordon said. “They’re just really good kids. They need someone to be a leader for them, even though they have their parents and coaches. They need someone more their age to show them I did it from the same place you’re trying to do it from.”

Gordon was one of four Panthers to earn victories and the only one to win in the final five weights of a 21-14 loss to Cornell (N.Y.) Sunday afternoon at West Gym. Gordon used a third-period escape and takedown for a 3-2 decision over Jake Taylor at 197 pounds.

“It feels good but at the same time, I could have scored a lot more points,” Gordon said. “I think the nerves got to me, froze up a little bit. Next time I’ll score a lot more points. It will be a more exciting match.”

With a season-ending knee injury to All-American Jacob Holschlag, the Panthers (1-2) were pressed to find a suitable replacement. Previous sub Izaak Shedenhelm moved up to heavyweight for an injured Carter Isley.

Gordon was 10-2 with five pins in open tournaments and found out on the eve of UNI’s home opener that he would step into the lineup.

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“I didn’t know until last night but there was talk for about a week,” Gordon said. “I was preparing to wrestle, but there wasn’t really a ‘You’re wrestling.’”

UNI Coach Doug Schwab said Gordon has embraced the opportunity. Instead of worrying about the possible setbacks, Gordon focuses on the growth and development that await as a starter.

“I don’t know how much you can put into one match because that’s his first match, too,” Schwab said. “As far as we know what he’s capable of and how he’s going to build and how excited he is to grow through this process we’re excited to have him.”

Even though it wasn’t a high-scoring affair, Gordon showed his ability to get to his offense for that quick takedown in the third. He was able to tame the early butterflies and find a way to win, which Schwab said some other Panthers need to learn.

“He’s only going to get better every single time out,” Schwab said. “We’ve had a process of talking and if it’s the best thing for the team it’s the best thing for him.

“He’s the type of guy when he gets out in that atmosphere and gets to where he can feel the level of a guy his level is only going to raise.”

Gordon is the first wrestler from Waterloo that Schwab has brought to UNI in his nine seasons. Schwab said Gordon is a strong role model on and off the mat. He is following in the footsteps of former Waterloo East grad and Iowa State NCAA champion Kyven Gadson.

“It’s awesome,” Schwab said. “I’m glad the kids are looking up to him, because they should look up to him. Not just because of how he competes, but because of what kind of person he is and how he takes care of school. I’m really impressed with the maturity level he is at and the focus he has in the room.

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“I’m really happy with the type of person he is and how he represents the program. You can’t get a whole lot better.”

Gordon’s victory gave UNI a 14-10 lead with three matches remaining. Cornell (3-0) scored three straight victories, including consecutive major decisions in the final two bouts to close the meet.

“Gave up way too many points,” Schwab said. “That place got real quiet. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the West Gym be that quiet for a finish.

“It got really quiet and they did a good job slamming the door.”

UNI took an 11-7 edge midway through the dual. Max Thomsen (149) and 174-pounder Taylor Lujan powered the Panthers in the first half, recording major decisions. Thomsen tallied six takedowns in a 14-4 win over Hunter Richard. Lujan scored four takedowns with two nearfall for a 14-6 victory over Brandon Womack.

UNI’s Bryce Steiert won by decision at 165.

Cornell received a win from top-ranked NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis, handling No. 12 Josh Alber, 12-2, at 141. Former Bettendorf prep Fredy Stroker returned to Iowa with the Big Red and topped Patrick Schoenfelder, 12-6, at 157.

A key swing match went Cornell’s way at 184. UNI All-American and sixth-ranked Drew Foster used two first-period takedowns for an early two-point lead, but No. 10 Max Dean took control with a second-period takedown and earned a point for a 1:30 advantage in riding time for a 6-5 decision.

“We have to raise our level up and down the lineup,” Schwab said. “If we don’t, there are going to be more results like this.”

AT CEDAR FALLS

Cornell 21, UNI 14

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

141 pounds — Yianni Diakomihalis (Cor) major dec. Josh Alber, 12-2 (4,0); 149 — Max Thomsen (UNI) major dec. Hunter Richard, 14-4 (6,0); 157 — Fredy Stroker (Cor) dec. Patrick Schoenfelder, 12-6 (4,1); 165 — Bryce Steiert (UNI) dec. Milik Dawkins, 8-6 (1,1); 174 — Taylor Lujan (UNI) major dec. Brandon Womack, 14-6 (4,1); 184 — Max Dean (Cor) dec. Drew Foster, 6-5 (1,2); 197 — Tyrell Gordon (UNI) dec. Jake Taylor, 3-2 (1,0); Hwt. — Jeramy Sweany (Cor) dec. Izaak Shedenhelm, 6-2 (2,0); 125 — Vito Arujau (Cor) major dec. Jay Schwarm, 17-7 (5,0); 133 — Chas Tucker (Cor) major dec. Jack Skudlarczyk, 12-2 (3,0)

MEET STATISTICS

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Takedowns — Cornell 21, UNI 15. Reversals — Cornell 4, UNI 4. Escapes — Cornell 19, UNI 17. Nearfall points — Cornell 8, UNI 4. Penalty points (awarded) — Cornell 0, UNI 1. Riding-time points — Cornell 6, UNI 3. Total match points — Cornell 83, UNI 63. Referees — Mike Hagerty, Curt Frost. Attendance — 1,541.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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