ISU finishes 3rd at National Duals

Another ISU sports team steadily improving under a rookie head coach is the wrestling squad under the direction of Cael Sanderson. The Cyclones finished 3rd at the National Duals, thanks to upsets on the mat from the likes of Nate Gallick (pictured left).

The fourth-ranked Iowa State wrestling team rallied from a semi-final loss to second-seeded and eventual team title champion Minnesota (24-11) to place third at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals with a 25-9 defeat of No. 3 Oklahoma State in the UNI-Dome Sunday.  Nick Gallick (133), Mitch Mueller (141) and David Zabriskie (HWT) provided major upset wins in the third-place match, which marked the Cyclones' biggest win over OSU since 1980. ISU improves its' dual mark to 6-3. Double winners on the day for the Cyclones were Gallick and 197-pounder Kurt Backes. Minnesota beat Missouri, 20-16, for the team title.

The victory over Oklahoma State is the Cyclones' first since handing the Cowboys a 25-20 loss in the 2002 National Duals in Columbus, Ohio. Sunday's winning margin over the Cowboys is Iowa State's biggest margin of victory in the series since a Dr. Harold Nichols' coached squad defeated OSU 32-9 in 1980. ISU downed Oklahoma State 27-11 in 1976.

"We're looking good right now," Iowa State head coach Cael Sanderson said.  "As a team we have some room to improve. We're here for the experience; to face the best teams in the country in preparation for the NCAA's. We are making the right progress in order to be in contention in March. We are working hard and it is all coming together. Right now we are happy where our guys are because it is building confidence, especially in our freshmen. I am proud of our guys."

Iowa State won seven of ten matches against Oklahoma State.

Gallick squared off against two-time OSU All-American Coleman Scott and emerged victorious with a 3-2 decision. The redshirt freshman attacked first with an early takedown to take a 2-0 advantage on the third-ranked Cowboy. With the score tied 2-2, Gallick scored an escape early in the third period that ultimately gave him the win. Gallick improves to 19-6 on the season.

At 141-pounds, Mitch Mueller pulled off the surprise with a 5-3 overtime decision of No. 3 Nathan Morgan. Mueller trailed Morgan 3-0 in the match but pulled within one point with a pair of escapes. Morgan was warned for stalling and then penalized for the same infraction, awarding Mueller a point and tying the match at 3-3. The match went to overtime and Mueller wasted no time, taking down the All-American in nine seconds.

Zabriskie upset 10th-ranked Jared Rosholt at heavyweight in the final three seconds of the match with a takedown to win 4-3. Like Mueller, Zabriskie was down 3-0 during the second period, but battled back with two escapes. Down 3-2 with less than 10 seconds remaining in the match, Zabriskie grabbed hold of Rosholt's legs on the edge of the mat to score a takedown. The Cyclone redshirt freshman that hails from Branchville, N.J., improves his mark to 15-6.

"Our freshmen came through with big upsets today," Sanderson said. "Their matches were huge. It is all about increasing their confidence and giving those freshmen this sort of experience. They are building confidence in themselves."

Backes continued his offensive dominance with a 22-9 major decision over Jared Shelton. Backes, ranked eighth nationally, tallied back points early in the match, nearly pinning Shelton and stunned the Cowboy with 10 takedowns. The ISU senior captain put on an offensive showing during the tournament, winning all four of his matches, three of which resulted in bonus points. He now is only three wins shy of etching his name on the ISU 100-career winner's list.

Also picking up victories in the Oklahoma State dual were Cyler Sanderson (149), Trent Paulson (157) and Jake Varner (184).

"It's exciting, but we have a lot of time until nationals," Trent Paulson said. "We will be a different team by the time the tournament rolls around in March."

ISU re-matched with Minnesota in semi-final action to begin the day, but was unable to avenge an early season loss and suffered its second defeat at the Gophers' hands. Gallick registered a 10-0 major decision over Mike Thorn. At 165-pounds, Travis Paulson scored his fifth major decision of the season as he rolled to a 12-4 victory over Jeremy Larson. Backes took a 9-4 decision against Brent Eidenschink.

Iowa State will open Big 12 Conference wrestling action on the road Saturday as it will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for a 7 p.m. dual against Nebraska. The Cyclones return to Ames on Jan. 26 to play host to Oklahoma at 7 p.m

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