116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Most of the time, Iowa State's wrestlers practice in a room the width of a mat and four mats long. It has no windows and it's hot.
But on Thursday, the Cyclones practiced outside, with Jack Trice Stadium in the background, just before the Iowa State football team hosted Texas.
'It sure helps when it's sunny and 75 degrees,” coach Kevin Dresser said. 'It was a great day for us to get out here and showcase our guys a little bit. Our guys like it and our fans love it. We do a lot of hard things in cold months so to get outside and do something hard on a nice sunny day is great.”
Dresser, who's had other marketing ideas such as hosting a dual meet inside Stephens Auditorium, started having practices outside before football games at Virginia Tech. He said it's a great way for fans who may not be wrestling fans to get out and watch what they're all about.
Iowa State Athletic Director Jaime Pollard loves all the ideas Dresser has come up with.
'It's really fun, these guys are thinking of stuff nonstop, so that makes it really enjoyable as an administrator,” Pollard said. 'Second, I think it just speaks to being contemporary. They understand that the sport needs this, the sport has to grow.
'It's more than Iowa State, this is bigger than that. The sport needs Iowa State to be big, bold and loud. That's what they're doing.”
But for Iowa State to be big, bold and loud, it needs to have talent, and it needs to develop talent. The Cyclones went 1-12 last season, so getting blue-chip recruits will be key for Dresser and his staff.
The outdoor practice provided an opportunity for that, too. Two top-five wrestling recruits at their respective weight attended the practice.
One was David Carr, the son of Cyclone legend Nate Carr. The elder Carr won three national titles while donning the Cardinal and Gold. While Nate said he was a Cyclone at heart, he wants his son to make his own decision.
David has his list down to Iowa State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Cornell. He's been on two visits to Iowa State so far.
The younger Carr, who wrestled last season at 152 pounds in high school, was blown away by the atmosphere of the outdoor practice, and he likes what Iowa State has going for it right now.
'I think the coaching staff is definitely doing an amazing job,” Carr said. 'They have a super star staff.”
The other top-ranked recruit was Brayton Lee.
The Indiana native has been to Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Nebraska and he's off to Virginia Tech on Friday.
He loves what Dresser is doing, not just for Iowa State, but for the sport of wrestling.
'He just makes it fun and hypes it up – what wrestling needs,” Lee said. 'Just for people who don't really watch wrestling and stuff. But for the people who watch wrestling, it really adds that much more flavor.”
As for the guys actually on the mat on Thursday, they had a pretty standard practice, complete with individuals squaring off one-on-one. Iowa State's 184-pounder, Dane Pestano wrestled 197-pounder Sam Colbray in a sudden-death, one-takedown match.
Pestano won after an impressive flurry from both wrestlers.
'It was a good little scramble, I mean Colbray's tough,” Pestano said. 'It's just good to put on a show for the fans and hopefully people come out to the matches this year and we get a better environment and bigger crowd when people come out to Hilton this year.”
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