Cyclone Wrestlers Lead At Midlands

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Five Iowa State wrestlers earned semifinal berths, propelling the Cyclones to the first day lead of the Midlands Wrestling Championships in Welsh-Ryan Arena Monday. After the first session of competition Iowa State leads with 66.5 points. Iowa, which boasted four semifinalists, is second with 57.5 points followed by Hofstra (52), Illinois (51), Northern Iowa (50.5) and Central Michigan (49).

"We had some great performances with good results, although it didn't always look that way on the mat," Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas said. "We intentionally backed off our training regimen after the Minnesota match to concentrate on final exams. This tournament helps us with conditioning."

Second-seeded Cyclone Zach Roberson was ISU's first semifinalist. The senior ran his season mark to 13-0 with an 8-6 decision over former teammate Matt Sanchez of California-Bakersfield at 133 pounds.

"I had wrestled him [Sanchez] in our wrestling room and in competition," Roberson said. "I think the team needed this tournament and it is nice for me to get back into it."

Iowa State's Nate Gallick, the fourth seed at 141 pounds, advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 win against Jermain Thompson. Gallick, 12-3 on the year, will wrestle top-seeded Dylan Long of Northern Iowa in Tuesday's semifinal.

"I had a good day. I thought I wrestled well," Gallick said. "Last year I wrestled at 149 pounds for the team. I'm by no means a large 141 pounder. I'm comfortable at this weight."

Cyclone freshman Trent Paulson is 15-0 this season after beating sixth-seeded Michael Maney of Lock Haven, 3-1. The third-seeded Paulson will wrestle second-seeded Jon Rodriguez in the 149-pound semifinal.

"I felt good about today," Paulson said. "After one match I really want to get ready to go again right away, so at times the tournament seems to drag a little."

ISU junior Nick Passolano moved into the semifinals at 165 pounds by scoring a takedown in overtime for a 3-1 decision over sixth-seeded Leighton Brady of Boston University. Passolano, the third seed, improved his season record to 6-1.

"I let him come to me this time," Passolano said. "The last time we wrestled I took all the shots. This time I countered his moves to score."

Iowa State's final semifinalist was freshman Kurt Backes. Backes, the fifth seed at 184 pounds, earned a semifinal berth with a 6-5 upset of fourth-seeded Blake Kaplan of Ohio State. Backes is 15-1 this season.

ISU's Grant Nakamura is the only other Cyclone still remaining in the tournament. Nakamura is competing in the 125-pound consolation bracket.

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