Cael Sanderson better pace himself. It's only his first year and at this rate Cyclone Nation is going to be getting very spoiled.
The #3 Iowa State wrestling team capped off a big weekend of action by winning convincingly at #2 Missouri, 27-12, on Sunday in Columbia and continued to serve notice that they are nationally a force to reckoned with again.
The end came in quick and stunning fashion. Iowa State All-American 197-pounder Kurt Backes used a defensive pin maneuver at the 3:11 mark to stick previously unbeaten freshman Max Askren of Missouri as the No. 3 Cyclones wrestled away a 27-12 victory from No. 2 Missouri Sunday in the Hearnes Center. ISU 149-pounder Cyler Sanderson also beat a higher rated foe, at 149 pounds. Iowa State is now 11-3 in dual action and swept its conference foes (4-0) for the first time since the 1991-92 season. Missouri falls to 10-2.
"Backes' pin was a good win and he gave it to us when we needed it," Iowa State head coach Cael Sanderson said. "Our freshman are doing well and are consistent. Our seniors are competing hard to get the win."
Backes, came into the match ranked ninth nationally and had jumped out to a 6-4 lead in the first period over Askren, who entered the bout rated first nationally with a 24-0 record. Starting the second period in the down position, Backes rolled with his Tiger opponent and grabbed Askren's head at the perfect time to stick his shoulder blades to the mat. It happened so fast that both benches took a couple of seconds to take in what had happened. Backes is now 21-4 this season and 101-28 for his career.
"(Max Askren) is a tough kid and he scrambles a lot," Backes said. "I wanted to scramble with him. I like the position, I've been comfortable with it since high school. It was all in the timing."
Cyler Sanderson, ranked 14th at 149 pounds, tallied a pair of third-period takedowns to beat seventh-rated Josh Wagner 5-2. Both wrestlers are now 23-8 this season. The bout remained scoreless until Sanderson registered an escape with 53 seconds remaining in the second period. Wagner evened the score at 1-1 with an escape of his own to begin the third period, but Sanderson replied with a takedown to go up 3-1. With another escape, Wagner pulled within a point to put the score at 3-2. Sanderson sealed the win with a takedown with four seconds on the clock.
Cyler's older brother and head coach was impressed.
"That was a quality road win for Cyler," Cael Sanderson said. "Wagner is a tough competitor."
Iowa State's Paulson twins joined fellow senior Backus to notch significant wins over rated opponents. Trent Paulson, ranked fourth nationally at 157 pounds, improved to 20-4 by whipping No. 13 Nick Marable, in a 20-5 technical fall victory. Trent was relentless, taking down Marable six times in the first two periods while also notching a two-point and three-point near fall. The win was the 106th (106-20) career victory for Trent Paulson, moving him into a tie with Billy Kelly (1984-87), Zach Roberson (2001-04) and Nate Gallick (2002-06) for 23rd on the all-time ISU career win list.
"I thinks this proves we are a different team now," Trent Paulson said. "Things are falling into place and we are going to be very strong in March."
Travis Paulson (21-4), ranked third nationally at 165 pounds, beat seventh-rated Matt Pell (15-4), reversing the Tiger in the second period after starting in the down position. The two rivals have split their four meetings on the mat. Travis Paulson's career record stands at 99-29 and the 165-pounder would be the 32nd Iowa State wrestler with 100 career victories with his next dual win.
"Those two (Paulson and Pell) have a great rivalry going," Cael Sanderson said. "It won't be long and they will meet again."
The Big 12 Championship is March 3 in Columbia, Mo.
"I could tell Pell wanted space between us because he has long arms and legs," Travis Paulson said. "I wanted to close out that space. I used the third period for riding. It's great to see our team progress and make such consistent improvement."
Sanderson liked what he saw at 165 pounds.
"Travis went after the guy and worked hard trying to score points," Cael Sanderson said. "We are trying to make progress. We have two duals in Virginia to keep improving. Guys are doing what we preach and believing in us. It has made the job fun.
The stellar weekend got started with a 38-6 pounding of Rider in the final home dual match of the season at Hilton Coliseum.
Seniors Trent (157) and Travis
(165) Paulson, Grant Turner (174) and Kurt Backes (197) registered their final
victories in Hilton Coliseum as third-ranked Iowa State defeated Rider, 38-6
Friday night. ISU won nine of 10 bouts, five of which resulted in bonus points
and tallied 33 takedowns. ISU's record now stands at 10-3.
"The seniors did a great job and they wrestled hard and scored a lot of points," head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson said. "The team performed at a really high level, they got after it and we're going to be hard to beat."
At 157-pounds, Trent Paulson used two takedowns and a three-point nearfall to register his 105th career win, a 9-0 major decision over Nathan Galloway. After a scoreless first period, the third-ranked Paulson scored an escape and a takedown in the second to take a 5-0 lead. Starting the third period from neutral, Paulson took Galloway down and nearly pinned him, but was awarded a three-point nearfall. The shutout by the two-time All-American is his second of the season. Paulson improves his mark to 19-4.
"It was awesome," Paulson said. "All of the family and friends have been here since square one and supported me. I'm happy where I'm at. The time at Iowa State seemed to go by way too fast."
Travis Paulson followed up his twin brother's performance with a 5:44 stick of Robbie Morrison at 165 pounds. Paulson, ranked third, registered three takedowns in the opening period, taking a 6-2 advantage. During the second period he added three more takedowns to go up 13-4 on the Bronc. Morrison escaped to begin the final three minutes, but Paulson, a two-time All-American, answered with a takedown that led to his first pin of the season. Paulson is two wins shy of becoming the 33rd Cyclone to reach 100-career victories. His record stands at 20-4 in his senior campaign.
"It's been great to cap it off with a pin for the fans," Paulson said. "I knew my conditioning in the third period would pay off and I just kept the offense going."
Turner picked up his 10th win of the season with a dramatic 6-5 decision of No. 8 Doug Umbehauer. Umbehauer put the first points on the board with an escape to begin the second period, but Turner replied with a takedown. Umbehauer escaped again to even the score, 2-2. Turner, a native of Johnston, took the lead for good in the final three minutes with two escapes and a takedown.
"I've enjoyed every opportunity to come out here and represent ISU," Turner said. "I give it my best when I'm out there and it's great to go out with a win. The fans in Hilton Coliseum are the best to wrestle for in the country, no question. The atmosphere, the fans are understanding, appreciative and Cael's got this program going in the right direction."
Backes became the 32nd Iowa State grappler to reach the 100-career victories plateau as he decisioned No. 14 T.J. Morrison, 8-3. Backes battled back from an early 2-0 deficit by scoring a reversal and a takedown to take a 5-3 lead into the final period. He scored a two-point nearfall midway through the third period to seal the win. The Neshanic Station, N.J. native is 20-4 on the season.
"The Hilton experience has just gotten better and better," the All-American said. "It's a big honor to be even mentioned in the same group as Cael (Sanderson) and many other wrestling greats. I've put in the work in the room and I've progressed to where I think I should be."
Nick Fanthorpe and Jake Varner provided the Cyclones with pins at 125- and 184-pounds, respectively. Fanthorpe, ranked eighth, stuck Thomas Lorenzo in 3:14 to pick up his fourth pin of the year and is now 20-7. Varner tallied his 11th pin, sticking Mike Miller in 6:04. Ranked fifth at 184 pounds, Varner improves to 22-4 this season.
Iowa State wrestles at Virginia Tech Friday at 6 p.m. CST. The Cyclones close out the dual season Sunday with a 11 a.m. CST match at Virginia.