The Cyclones are coming off a 5th place finish at the Midlands Tournament that included one champion in undefeated Nate Gallick (141) and three other place winners in Jesse Sundell (133) taking second, Travis Paulson (165) taking third, and Kurt Backes (184) with a 5th place finish.
Nate Gallick captured his second consecutive Midlands crown with solid all around tournament but Jesse Sundell was the nice surprise for the Cyclones as he came into the tournament with a tough draw and a 7th seed but was able to grab second place at the tournament. Sundell upset the No. 2 seed Jason Borrelli from Central Michigan 7-6 in the semifinal round and fought his way to the finals only to take a hit there in a hard fought 9-7 lose to Tommy Vargas of Cal-State Backersfield.
Jesse Sundell is by far Iowa State's most improved wrestler as the Cyclones enters the second half of the season but he needs to capture this momentum and carry it on for the entire rest of the season. "Jesse Sundell made great progress throughout this tournament," said Douglas. "Unfortunately, he was not quite able to pull off the victory. There is no doubt, however, that Jesse is the most improved wrestler on our team right now." This is the kind of stuff that we expected out of a 4-time state champion when Sundell came into the Iowa State program but his time is not up and there is still time for him to prove himself and make his mark in Cyclone wrestling lore.
This Virginia Tech wrestling team is extremely inexperienced with a lineup of four true freshman, two sophomores, one junior, and lead by two seniors (Virginia Tech has not listed a wrestler at the 184 pound weight class). David Hoffman (141) ranked 8th and Mike Faust (HWT.) ranked 15th will try to get the action rolling the Hokie way, as they are the only Virginia Tech wrestlers currently ranked.
The Cyclones must not overlook this Hokie team as they get ready to head to Arizona to face Arizona State and UC-Davis on Sunday because of the coach of this Virginia Tech team, Tom Brands. Brands is a three-time NCAA national champion form the University of Iowa and a 1996 Olympic gold medallist. Brands not only takes that great experience to this Hokie team but he brings that tough Iowa-style of wresting that carried him and Dan Gable's Iowa teams to nine consecutive NCAA Championships and helped Iowa capture 17 NCAA Championships overall. Virginia Tech will wrestle tough if they even have an ounce of what Brands brought to the mat so the Cyclones must be ready for a tough Hokie team.