Iowa State's ninth-rated wrestling team faces the toughest of challenges this weekend. The 9-4 Cyclones compete at No. 8 Oklahoma Saturday and at No. 2 Oklahoma State Sunday. The matches will be contested at 2 p.m. in Norman, Okla. and 4 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla., respectively. Iowa State is coming off a 24-15 win at Northern Iowa Sunday.

Saturday's meet will feature a rematch of the 2005 NCAA 141-pound championship. Iowa State's second-rated Nate Gallick suffered his only loss of last season in a 3-2 decision to Oklahoma's Teyon in the final. It is Gallick's only loss in his last 55 matches. Gallick (23-0) avenged this 2005 NCAA loss to Ware with a 3-1 decision in the NWCA All-Star meet Nov. 21 in Stillwater, Okla. Ware, ranked first nationally despite that loss, is 15-1.

Gallick is 5-1 vs. Ware

2005 NWCA All-Star Classic - Gallick, 3-1

2005 NCAA Championships Finals - Ware, 3-2

2005 Big 12 Championship Finals - Gallick, 4-3 TB2

2005 ISU/OU dual - Gallick, 6-3

2004 NCAA Championships (5th place match) - Gallick, 5-3

2004 ISU/OU dual - Gallick, 3-2

Sunday, eighth-rated Travis Paulson (22-2) will take on No. 2 and defending national champion Johny Hendricks at 165 pounds.

The Sooners boast one of the deepest lineups in the country with All-Americans Hazewinkel (125), Ware (141), Storniolo (149) and Flaggert (197) leading the way. Hager (HWT) and Dyer (184) have qualified for the NCAA Championships and Roberts and King are next in line. Ware is a two-time NCAA champion and Hazewinkel is a two-time All-American who dealt Cornell's fifth-ranked freshman Troy Nickerson his first career loss at 125 pounds. Six out of seven NCAA qualifiers return from a Sooner team that finished third at the 2005 NCAA Championships and placed fourth at the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners defeated Cornell, Central Oklahoma, Clarion, Utah Valley State, Cal-State Fullerton, Cal-Poly, Fresno Sate, tied Lehigh, and fell to Oklahoma State, Central Michigan and Iowa this season. Hazewinkel and Ware have yet to lose in dual competition, combining for 22 wins. Hager and Hazewinkel lead the Big 12 at their respective weight class in overall wins.

Returning four national champions and two All-Americans made Oklahoma State starting lineup the most lethal in the country. Zack Esposito (149), Hendricks, Jake Rosholt (197) and Steve Mocco (HWT) have combined for seven NCAA titles and Coleman Scott (125) earned All-American status as a true freshman. Daniel Frishkorn (141) was an All-American as a redshirt freshman and Big 12 champion Nathan Morgan (133) missed All-America honors by just one match. Head Coach John Smith's Cowboys were expected to run away with their fourth straight national title this season. However, OSU has proven to be mortal this year, taking its first loss of the season at the hands of a young Minnesota team at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Finals. Morgan is arguably one of the hottest wrestlers in the nation, scoring an overtime victory over third-ranked Cal-Poly All-American Darrell Vasquez and only suffering one loss in his sophomore campaign. Morgan upended Minnesota All-American Mack Reiter, 6-4, at National Duals. Hendricks' only loss of the season came to Oregon's Joey Bracamonte by fall at the finals of the Reno Tournament of Champions. He also suffered a loss at the NWCA/All-Star Classic against Minnesota All-American Matt Nagel but convincingly avenged that defeat with an 8-3 decision at National Duals.

Frishkorn had a five-bout losing skid early in the season but faced the likes of Ware, Lehigh's Cory Cooperman and Michigan State's Andy Simmons. He responded by rattling off 10 consecutive wins. After a strong showing at the NCAA Championships that included a pin against Northwestern's Ryan Lang and an 8-6 win over Michigan All-American Josh Churella in consolation action, Frishkorn will be dangerous when the postseason rolls around. Mocco's 85-match win streak was snapped after he was pinned by his nemesis Cole Konrad of Minnesota. The senior from Blair Academy still leads his team with 12 falls. Esposito has fallen to Iowa's Ty Eustice and Minnesota freshman phenom Dustin Schlatter, who are ranked first and second. Kevin Ward (157) upset Iowa State's Trent Paulson to come away with his first Big 12 title but faced eventual NCAA runner-up Joe Johnston from Iowa in his first round match at the 2005 NCAA Championships and was major decisioned. Jake Rosholt (197), a two-time national champion, has losses to Central Michigan's top-ranked Wynn Michalak and Nebraska's second-rated B.J. Padden this year. Brandon Mason (174), who prepped at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, placed third at the Kaufman-Brand Open this year by winning seven straight matches after being ousted in the second round by Iowa State's David Bertolino, 1-0.

AllCyclones Top Stories