After one of its best starts in
school history last year, the
Though the season may not have
started the same as last year's, the Cyclones have been able to earn consistent
points from senior 141-pounder Nate Gallick and junior 157-pounder Trent
Paulson. Nate, from
With Nate and Trent leading the way, an inexperienced Cyclone lineup has made great strides from the start of the year. Some of the team's inconsistency can be directly related to the youth in their lineup. Entering the lineup full-time for the first time this year were walk-on sophomore Ben Hanisch, highly touted sophomore David Bertolino, true freshman Joe Curran, and walk-on junior Richard Schopf. The four grapplers have had some exciting moments thus far but have only combined for 39 wins against 58 losses. Those four, accompanied by mediocre performances by Aron Scott and Jason Knipp at 149-pounds have some Cyclone fans looking to the future.
The bright future of Cyclone wrestling could come as early as next season. After having one of its best recruiting classes in recent memory, the Cyclones are primed to make some waves and challenge some national powerhouses in the next few seasons. Head coach Bobby Douglas insists on red-shirting freshmen to help them adjust to the demands of college wrestling; otherwise, we may have seen as many as four true freshmen in the starting lineup this year.
The Cyclones signed six top
wrestling recruits last year, including three in the top ten, and all of them
should see the mat next season.
Nick Franthorpe, a rangy 125-pounder from
Nick Gallick, Nate's younger
brother, and Mitch Mueller should replace Nate and senior 133-pounder Jesse
Sundell. Mueller, from
Mueller said he was happy to red-shirt this year because it gave him the opportunity to adjust to collegiate wrestling, get stronger and work on his technique.
"[Red-shirting] has helped a lot," Mueller said. "Being in the wrestling room with Coach Douglas and Cael [Sanderson] has helped me become a better wrestler. I've worked on my technique a lot and I've learned [a lot from wrestling with guys like Nate]."
Nick, who will look to follow a stellar career by his brother, finished the last three years of his high school career undefeated with 117 victories and ranked third nationally at 125-pounds. He was the 2005 Arizona Republic Wrestler of the Year and a Wrestling USA All-American. He will most likely challenge fellow freshman Laramie Schaffer from Winterset for the starting spot at 133-pounds.
Cyler Sanderson, continuing the
Sanderson affair at
Jake Varner, from the same
Dave Zabriskie, a heavyweight
former Cyclone assistant Chris Bono said was the steal of the class, should
provide a one-two punch with Varner at the heavy end of the weight classes. A
"I would like to see myself around 235 or 240 pounds by next year," Zabriskie said. "I'll almost never wrestle a guy that weighs less than me. I'll use my quickness as a strength and I need to use it to my advantage in all of my matches."
Though he said he's trying to gain weight, the 225 pound Zabriskie said it's a lot harder than most people think.
"I've been working just as hard as everybody else," he said. "There are high expectations for me. I wrestle hard everyday to try to meet those expectations. I wrestled [at 215 pounds] in high school so there was a big jump to college. Right now I'm about 225 pounds. I'm slowly gaining -- it's harder than you think."
Zabriskie said he loved
"I definitely felt the atmosphere
In addition to the talented crop the Cyclones pulled in 2005, the 2006 class will keep Cyclone wrestling at the top for year to come. Though the Cyclones inked only three signatures, one name stands out as possibly the next great Cyclone.
Jon Reader, a 152/160-pounder from
Possibly a little under-sized,
Mark Kist, a 112-pounder from
Eagle Grove, will try to work his way into the 125-pound position in the next
few years. After finishing 42-0 his
junior year, Kist started his senior year ranked No. 1 at 112-pounds in
Overall, Bobby Douglas and his staff have done a great job with national recruiting over the last two years. Between the two classes, only three wrestlers have come from within the state and five of the nine were ranked in the top 15 nationally. Though the future looks promising, the Cyclones' current freshman will have a heavy load to carry when they fill over half of the lineup. Next year may be a storied year for the program as they return 2005 All-American Trent Paulson at 157-pounds, 2004 All-Americans Travis Paulson at 165-pounds and Kurt Backes at 184-pounds and 174-pounder David Bertolino.
If the up and coming Cyclones struggle next year, however, they could be looking long and hard to find replacements for both Paulson brothers and Backes – all who graduate after next season. With so many highly regarded wrestlers with more accolades than most others, Cyclone fans should be excited to see the team hit the mat next season.
Unofficial 2006-07 Projected Starting Lineup:
125 Nick Franthorpe Freshman
133 Nick Gallick Freshman
141 Mitch Mueller Freshman
149 Cyler Sanderson Freshman
157 Trent Paulson Senior
165 Trent Paulson Senior
174 David Bertolino Junior
184 Kurt Backes Senior
197 Jake Varner Freshman
285 Dave Zabriskie Freshman