Wrestling takeaways: Iowa State, Northern Iowa both compete at the Cyclone Open

Cody Goodwin
The Des Moines Register

Between the Iowa wrestling team’s wrestle-offs Thursday and Friday and the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Saturday, we can officially say that wrestling season is back in the state of Iowa, finally and again.

One of these events was a tad more official than the other. The Cyclone Open featured wrestlers from both Iowa State and Northern Iowa (as well as Grand View), and gave us the first glimpse at wrestlers from both schools for the 2018-19 season.

Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser said Saturday’s open would serve as the first round of proverbial wrestle-offs to help decide the Cyclone lineup. Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab was ready to see his guys wrestle somebody other than their own teammates.

Iowa State Wrestling's Alex Mackall poses for a photo on the team's media day, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, on the Iowa State campus.

Here are some quick takeaways from the action:


Alex Mackall and Willie Miklus both won titles with relative ease. Mackall went 2-0 at 125 pounds, winning two decisions. Miklus, in his Iowa State debut, scored two pins and beat Grand View’s Evan Hansen, 5-2, in the finals at 197.

David Carr wrestled … and lost. The freshman phenom dropped a 9-8 decision to Missouri’s Peyton Mocco in the quarterfinals at 157. He bounced back to win by major, pin, major and a 3-1 decision over Northern Iowa’s Paden Moore for third. 

Todd Small competed. The two-time junior-college national champion from Iowa Central announced his plans to transfer to Iowa State in April. Small isn’t on the Cyclones' roster, but he competed on Saturday for the “Cyclone Regional Training Center,” according to Trackwrestling.

Small took second at 133, winning by technical fall and then beating Wisconsin’s Jens Lantz, 12-6, to reach the finals. Lantz started for Wisconsin in the Badgers’ season-opening dual against Buffalo last week. Small lost to Missouri’s Allan Hart, 9-3, in the finals.

Ian Parker maintained his edge over Ryan Leisure at 141 pounds — at least on paper. Parker finished third and beat Leisure along the way, 9-3, in the wrestlebacks. Leisure reached the semifinals, where he lost to Northern Iowa’s Josh Alber.

Gannon Gremmel finished ahead of Ethan Andersen at heavyweight and actually won head-to-head. Gremmel beat Andersen, 8-7, in the wrestlebacks. Another weight to monitor, as both guys could contribute throughout the season.

Other Iowa State results: Jarrett Degen, Marcus Coleman and Sam Colbray all reached the finals at their respective weights. Degen went pin, decision, decision at 149; Coleman collected two majors by a combined 33-12 at 174; and Colbray scored a pin and a decision at 184.


Northern Iowa

Northern Iowa’s Taylor Lujan and Drew Foster both won titles. Lujan beat Iowa State’s Coleman, 10-7, and Foster scored a 14-0 major decision over Colbray. It was a workmanlike day for those guys.

Bryce Steiert dropped a 3-2 decision to Wisconsin’s Evan Wick at 165. This is believed to be the first top-10 match of the season — Wick is ranked No. 2 by Trackwrestling, Steiert is No. 8.

Steiert led 2-0 before Wick, who took third at last year’s NCAA Championships, came back to win. That’s an encouraging result for Steiert, who is back after redshirting last season.

Alber and Carter Isley both reached the finals. Alber collected two major decisions before falling to Wisconsin’s Tristan Moran in the finals at 141. Isley won twice, including a 6-2 decision over Iowa State’s Andersen, to reach the finals at heavyweight.

UNI's Josh Alber wrestles Eastern Michigan's Sa`Derian Perry at 141 pounds at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Alber won by decision, 11-5.

Grand View

Grand View also had a couple of guys perform well. Hansen, a returning NAIA national champion, won in overtime over Missouri’s Taylor Watkins and then beat Iowa State’s Kaden Sauer, 9-0, to reach the finals at 197. Steven Lawrence recorded a technical fall, pin and a 7-6 decision over Missouri’s Phyllip DeLoach to reach the finals at 157.

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