For three of the final four regular season duals, Iowa State will be in Hilton Coliseum. The first two are this weekend when West Virginia and Northern Iowa make the trip to Ames on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Straw ready for senior night
Before the Cyclones and Panthers grapple in the afternoon, four seniors will be recognized for their contributions to the wrestling program.
Only one starter — Chase Straw — is graduating and will be replaced in the lineup following the season. Dan Eslick, Hank Swalla and Joe Teague make up the rest of the senior class.
Straw is most known for running through the 157 pound bracket a season ago and capturing the Big 12 Championship in Tulsa. He also was a mainstay in the Iowa State lineup, starting in 36 consecutive duals that began in the 2017-18 season and ending in the Sun Devil duals.
While this season has been a bumpy one, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“The connections you make is crazy,” Straw said. “It’s family. I’m going to die wearing cardinal and gold. It means so much to me.”
Initially recruited by the coaching staff led by former Cyclone Kevin Jackson, Straw — the Independence, Iowa, native — stuck it out and remained on the team even with an entire new staff coming in.
It’s a moment in his life he’s proud of.
“This sport’s definitely a rollercoaster ride, having extreme lows and extreme highs,” Straw said. “I kind of turned it around when these guys got here. I like both of them, but obviously I’ve had better outcomes with these guys.”
Once he graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, the plan for Straw is to head to the West Coast and “get out of Iowa for a little bit.”
Before that, another run in the conference tournament sets himself up for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Kevin Dresser still believes Straw’s best wrestling is ahead of him.
“He seems to get a little bit better as the year goes on,” Dresser said. “Watch out for that guy in March. He needs to find another level.”
Colbray, Coleman swap opponents
Bryce Steiert and Taylor Lujan — in whatever rankings you follow consistently — are in the top eight. Both are the top-ranked Big 12 wrestlers at 174 and 184, respectively, and each are 21-2 on the year.
It’s arguably the best 1-2 punch at those two weights in the entire conference.
Sam Colbray wrestled Lujan in the Cyclone Open finals; Marcus Coleman grappled with Steiert in the same tournament.
Change weights; change the opponent.
In the eyes of Colbray, it won’t affect him in the slightest.
“Not worried,” Colbray said. “I can’t listen to someone else to win my match for me. I know that Steiert’s a brawler, I won’t back down. Both of us bring our best, whoever wins, best man up.”
Dresser was intending to hold out redshirt freshman David Carr from the Oklahoma dual after dinging up his knee against Oklahoma State.
With another week of rest and recovery, the chances of seeing Carr this weekend increased.
“50/50,” Dresser said. “Just making sure that he feels really, really good. Being a young guy, we want to make sure that we do everything to ensure, in his head, that he’s as good as he can be. We’re really close to that.”
The Canton, Ohio, native won’t face a top-20 guy from either West Virginia or Northern Iowa this weekend but could face a pair next weekend in Missouri’s Jarrett Jacques and North Dakota State’s Jared Franek.
If Carr is held out again, Grant Stotts will make another start at 157.
InterMat released its new rankings on Tuesday, and Colbray’s return to the top-20 at 174 gives Iowa State seven ranked wrestlers.
After defeating now 17th-ranked Anthony Mantanona 9-5 in sudden victory, the Oregon native jumped up to the 16th spot. The win moved Colbray to 11-7 on the year.
Alex Mackall (12th, 125), Ian Parker (sixth, 141), David Carr (third, 157) and Gannon Gremmel (14th, 285) maintained their respective spots this week.
Todd Small (16th, 133) and Oklahoma’s Anthony Madrigal (15th) swapped spots following the latter’s win last week. Jarrett Degen dropped one spot to eighth at 149 following the burning of the Olympic redshirt from Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik, a three-time All-American.
The second coaches’ panel rankings are scheduled to come out today. Two more rankings will follow before the NCAA Tournament in mid-March.
Source: Iowa State Daily