Cy-Hawk wrestling: Iowa tops Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum for 16th-straight series win

Cody Goodwin
The Des Moines Register

AMES, Ia. — The folks clad in black-and-gold were outnumbered by their Cyclone counterparts here on Sunday afternoon, if only barely. This Iowa State wrestling team has offered reason to be excited, of course, but on this day, the Iowa fans were very, very loud.

A “Let’s go Hawks” chant broke out midway through the eighth match of the annual Cy-Hawk wrestling dual. Iowa’s Nelson Brands provided the fuel, scoring an overtime takedown to knock off Iowa State’s Sam Colbray, 4-3, at 184 pounds in perhaps the biggest result of the day.

"I hit a single again? I don't know," Brands said afterward. "I got to his legs and took him down. There's not much to it."

Brands’ win over Colbray, who’s ranked No. 8 nationally by Trackwrestling and was in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships last year, officially put the dual on ice. The No. 2-ranked Hawkeyes rolled over the 8th-ranked Cyclones, 29-6. Iowa improves to 2-0 this season and has now won the past 16 meetings in the series. Iowa State drops to 1-1.

"Today, we got man-handled by a very good wrestling team," Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser said. "I don't think there's any way to spin it any other way than that. Up and down the lineup, they have super solid guys.

"The fortunate thing about wrestling a great team is you really get exposed and you learn what you need to work on." 

The Dan Gable Traveling Trophy has yet to travel since it was introduced in 2010, and after last year’s barnburner at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a lot was expected of this year’s contest. Sunday’s official attendance was 11,238, the largest wrestling crowd at Hilton since Dec. 10, 1999, when 12,327 packed in to watch the Cyclones wrestle — wait for it — Iowa, of course.

In the end, the Hawkeyes left no doubt that they were the better team this year. Iowa ultimately took eight of 10 matches, including each of the final five, and scored bonus points in four of them. They held large advantages in both total match points, 90-38, and total takedowns, 27-4.

Last season, the Cyclones needed two 1-point victories on third-period scoring sequences, another in overtime, and a fourth on an injury default to have a chance to win in the dual’s final match. The Hawkeyes still won, 19-18, the first Cy-Hawk dual ever decided by a single point.

On Sunday, Iowa ensured that many matches weren’t that close.

Only four of the 10 bouts were decided in the third period or overtime. The teams split those results — in addition to Brands, Iowa’s Pat Lugo defeated Jarrett Degen, 4-2, in a wild match at 149, thanks to a locked-hands call and escape in the third period, while Iowa State’s Ian Parker and David Carr won 6-4 and 6-1, respectively, at 141 and 157.

"A lot going on there on the edge," Iowa coach Tom Brands said of Lugo's match. "We were in a pickle there. We were in a couple of pickles. Kaleb Young was in a pickle. We won some pickles. Spencer Lee put his guy in a pickle.

"But we like that dominant, 100-0 probability in our favor. It was 50-50 there in a couple of situations. That was it more than anything."

Parker scored two of Iowa State’s four takedowns against Iowa’s Carter Happel — once in the third period to force overtime, then again with 14 seconds left in sudden victory to put the Cyclones on the board.

Carr provided the highlight of the afternoon for the Cyclones. Matched up against Iowa’s Kaleb Young, a returning All-American and ranked No. 2 at 157 by Track, Iowa State’s highly-touted redshirt freshman scored a takedown and two nearfall off a cradle in the third period to officially announce his presence on the national scene.

"The coaches were telling me to move my feet and to go get a takedown," said Carr, who's ranked No. 6 and won a Junior men's freestyle world title over the summer. "It was a phenomenal feeling. It makes me want to go back and work hard. Makes me want to crush every workout and believe in my coaches even more.

Carr’s win made the score 12-6, Iowa, at the break. The rest of the dual belonged to the Hawkeyes.

Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto opened with back-to-back bonus-point wins — Lee by a 17-2 technical fall over Alex Mackall at 125, ending the match with eight ticks left still in the first period, then DeSanto followed with a 16-5 major decision over Todd Small at 133, wherein he took Small feet-to-back in the first period and racked up five takedowns.

Alex Marinelli took out Chase Straw, 13-7, to begin the dual’s second half. Straw scored the first takedown, then Marinelli steamrolled to five of his own, including three in the third period. Michael Kemerer then scored six takedowns in a 14-5 major over Marcus Coleman at 174.

"Just had to go out there and wrestle my match," said Lee, Iowa's two-time NCAA champion. "That was pretty much it. I wanted to start the dual meet off strong, start it off with a bang."

That set the stage for Nelson Brands, who weighed in at 176.5 pounds last week when the Hawkeyes defeated UT-Chattanooga. There was a distinct size disadvantage against Colbray on Sunday, but both produced plenty of action throughout regulation. Brands had Colbray’s leg in the air in the first three minutes, and Colbray got in on a handful of shots throughout the latter two periods.

Once in the overtime tiebreakers, tied 1-1, Colbray escaped, then Brands scored on a slide-by near the edge to lead 3-2. Colbray escaped again, then let Brands escape to begin the second-half of the tiebreaker. Brands fended out a multitude of shots to close the match, and raised his hands to the Hawkeye faithful inside Hilton when the final whistle sounded.

"I saw a bunch of guys giving fist bumps and stuff," Brands said. "I just see this as another match. I don't really see it as a rivalry. I know it is, but I prepare the same for every match I wrestle."

Iowa's Nelson Brands wins his match against Iowa State's Sam Colbray at 184 during the Cy-Hawk dual on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Hilton Coliseum.

The folks clad in cardinal and gold slowly trickled out during the dual’s final two matches — an 11-2 major for Jacob Warner over Joel Shapiro, and a 6-0 decision for Tony Cassioppi over Gannon Gremmel. By then, the anticipation had subsided and reality had set in.

Not only is this 16-straight, but Iowa has now won 31 of the last 32 and 55 of the last 59 meetings. The Cyclones are improving, sure, but the Hawkeyes are chasing a team title this year, and the distance between them became evident on Sunday.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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No. 2 Iowa 29, No. 8 Iowa State 6

  • 125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (IA) tech. fall No. 9 Alex Mackall (ISU), 17-2 (2:52)
  • 133: No. 2 Austin DeSanto (IA) maj. dec. Todd Small (ISU), 16-5
  • 141: No. 14 Ian Parker (ISU) dec. Carter Happel (IA), 6-4 (SV1)
  • 149: No. 3 Pat Lugo (IA) dec. No. 6 Jarrett Degen (ISU), 4-2
  • 157: No. 6 David Carr (ISU) dec. No. 2 Kaleb Young (IA), 6-1
  • 165: No. 6 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. No. 20 Chase Straw (ISU), 13-7
  • 174: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (IA) maj. dec. No. 16 Marcus Coleman (ISU), 14-5
  • 184: Nelson Brands (IA) dec. No. 8 Sam Colbray (ISU), 4-3 (TB1)
  • 197: No. 4  Jacob Warner (IA) maj. dec. No. 23 Joel Shapiro (ISU), 11-2
  • 285: No. 12 Tony Cassioppi (IA) dec. No. 15 Gannon Gremmel (ISU), 6-0
  • *Rankings from Trackwrestling