Cyclones Wrestlers Fall to Minnesota, 19-13

Cael's Cyclones fall at the hands of the #1-ranked Golden Gophers.

AMES, Iowa – The fifth-ranked Cyclones kept it close, but were unable to knock off top-ranked Minnesota Friday night in Hilton Coliseum, falling 19-13. Four Iowa State wrestlers claimed victory, including All-American Kurt Backes at 197 pounds with a major decision. Also picking up wins for ISU were Nick Gallick at 133-pounds and Trent and Travis Paulson at 157- and 165-pounds, respectively. The Cyclones slipped to 2-2 in dual meet action, while the Gophers improved to 5-1.

"This team is learning," head coach Cael Sanderson said. "We need to work on finishing our moves and not focus on the scoreboard.  I believe in this team and each match will help us in the long run.  We're counting on Backes to lead us as a senior should.  He went out and got some bonus points.  I thought this was a great experience for Varner.  We kept going for big moves in that match which is a freshman mistake.

Backes tallied the only team bonus points on the night with a 14-3 major decision over Yura Malamura. After starting out slow, Backes rallied to score a reversal, a takedown and a three-point nearfall in the second period to take 10-3 lead. Malamura was tagged for stalling twice in the third period, giving Backes three more points. Backes, a Neshanic Station, N.J. native, is now 10-1 in his senior campaign.

Putting the first points on the board for the Cyclones was redshirt freshman Nick Gallick at 133-pounds with a 5-2 victory over Minnesota's Mike Thorn. Within the first 10 seconds, Gallick scored a takedown to go up 2-0. Thorn evened the score at two with a reversal mid-way through the first period. Gallick, a Tucson, Ariz. native, was able to tack on two escapes, one in the second period and another in third giving him a 4-2 advantage. Adding 2:05 worth of riding time, Gallick won the match by a score of 5-2 and improves to 10-3 on the season.

At 157-pounds, two-time All-American Trent Paulson downed Tyler Safratowich, 5-3. After one period of action, Paulson held a 4-1 advantage on the Minnesota sophomore. An escape in the third period closed out the match and ultimately the victory. Paulson, who is the top-ranked wrestler at 157-pounds, pushes his record to 9-1.

 "Coach Sanderson has been stressing to keep working to score all the time," Paulson said. "I think I wrestled better tonight than I did at Iowa.  The freshman on this team are going to keep getting better and we will be tougher as the season goes on."

Following up with another victory was Travis Paulson at 165 pounds as he blanked Jeremy Larson, 7-0. The third-ranked, two-time All-American Paulson took Larson down late in the first period. He carried that momentum into the second period as he scored a three-point nearfall, going up 5-0. Paulson capped off the match with an escape in the third and 1:57 worth of riding time, giving him the 7-0 decision.

Iowa State's wrestling team will return to action in Hilton Coliseum Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. as it will play host intrastate rival, Northern Iowa.

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