Nebraska has been on an upward climb after a 3rd place finish in the Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals back in January. That climb did not hit a bump in the road as the young Husker wrestlers escaped out of Ames with one point win.
The meet started out at 157 pounds and 2nd-ranked Trent Paulson leading off the Cyclones against Chris Oliver of Nebraska. 20 seconds into the match Paulson tweaked his knee and had to injury default against Oliver. This was not only Paulson's second loss of the season but would turn out to be critical in the final team scoring.
Travis Paulson got the Cyclones rolling again with a dominating 12-3 major decision over 15th-ranked Marc Harwood.
David Bertolino got after it and fought hard against 4th-ranked Jacob Klein but was not able to pull off the upset in a 2-0 loss to Klein.
6th-ranked Kurt Backes had the task of getting the Cyclones rolling again and he did just that. Backes took an early 7-0 lead over 11th-ranked Vince Jones after the first period and really didn't look back. Despite wrenching his right ankle and having to have it heavily taped; Backes sucked it up and came through for a dominating 19-3 technical fall win at the 6:40 mark, tying the team scoring at 9-9. "Backes had to wrestle a tough match to win, against a very good wrestler and he did a very good job," said coach Douglas after the meet. "I'm concerned about the injuries. It's late in the game to have injuries."
After a major decision loss for Joe Curran and a tough 4-0 loss for Richard Schopf, the Cyclones needed an upset win from Ben Hanisch in order to get back into the meet. Hanisch matched up against 9th-ranked Paul Donahoe. Donahoe wrestled a tough match from the start and went up 4-1 at the end of the first period. Hanisch found himself in a Donahoe-controlled match and on his back in the second period. The result was a pin at the 4:20 mark and a 22-9 Husker team lead.
With the meet seemingly out of the Cyclones' reach, Jesse Sundell came up with a huge win over Patrick Aleksanyan. Aleksanyan went up 2-1 at the end of the first period but Sundell came back with a takedown and escape to take the lead 4-3 at the end of the second period. You never want to miss a second when Sundell is wrestling and this was no different. Jesse was able to turn Aleksanyan in the third period and pin him at the 6:26 mark to the roar of the Cyclone wrestling and gymnastics fans (the gymnastics and wrestling teams shared the Hilton Coliseum floor in a Beauty and the Beast showcase). "I had that front headlock and he kinda started to drive in," said Sundell after his last dual meet win as a Cyclone. "That's kinda like a position that I feel comfortable in. "I just kinda went to my butt and flipped him over and once I hit that I knew that I was in a pretty good spot there."
Nate Gallick followed up Sundell's huge win with a 3-1 win over Dominick Moyer that drew the Cyclone deficit to 22-18, but Gallick felt he could have done more. "I kinda blame myself a little bit. We lost this dual by one point and there is no reason why I shouldn't be scoring more points," said Gallick after his 3-1 decision over Moyer. Moyer wrestled a defensive match while backing up a lot. "I think he wasn't wrestling to win. He was wrestling to keep it close."
Aron Scott had the tough task of trying to win his match while keeping the team in mind also. Scott had to win by a major decision in order to tie up the meet. Ryan Davis of Nebraska had tied or the lead the whole match up until there was 22 seconds left in the third period. That's when Scott struck; maneuvering a takedown with 22 seconds left in the match and taking 6-5 victory over Davis. The dramatic Scott win was not enough as the Cyclones fell to Nebraska 22-21.
On the bright side, the Cyclones have gone 5-5 in each of their last two losses. The meets have come down to bonus points and the Cyclones have just not been able to acquire enough or avoid bonus points.
Injuries will hopefully not be a problem as Iowa State has two weeks off until the Big 12 tournament that will be held at Hilton Coliseum on March 4th. The experience that these young wrestlers have acquired is extremely valuable and an early slumping wrestler like Backes is peaking at the right time. Hopefully these keys will inspire the Cyclones to make runs at both the Big 12 and NCAA crowns.
Nebraska 22, Iowa State 21
157 - Chris Oliver inj. def. Trent Paulson (ISU)
165 - Travis Paulson (ISU) maj. dec. David Ingalls, 12-3
174 - Jacob Klein dec. David Bertolino (ISU), 2-0
184 - Kurt Backes (ISU) tech. fall Vince Jones, 19-3 (6:40)
197 - B.J. Padden maj. dec. Joe Curran (ISU), 19-5
HWT - Jon May dec. Richard Schopf (ISU), 4-0
125 - Paul Donahoe pinned Ben Hanisch (ISU), 4:20
133 - Jesse Sundell (ISU) pinned Patrick Aleksanyan, 6:26
141 - Nate Gallick (ISU) dec. Dominick Moyer, 3-1
149 - Aron Scott (ISU) dec. Robert Sanders, 6-5