Weekend News & Notes on the Cyclones

They don't take weekends off up at Iowa State, especially the second-ranked wrestling program. They lead off our news and notes feature after another dominant performance over the weekend.

It was another big weekend on the mat for the #2 Cyclones.

Three Iowa State seniors closed out their dual careers combining for two pins and a major decision as the Cyclones defeated Virginia, 37-3, Sunday in Memorial Gym.

Seniors Trent and Travis Paulson pinned their opponents at 157- and 165-pounds, respectively. Senior Kurt Backes tallied his fourth major decision of the season. The Cyclones won nine of 10 bouts and wrapped-up dual competition with a mark of 13-3.

"I thought the weekend went well," Iowa State head coach Cael Sanderson said. "We wanted to get some quality matches and work on some individual fundamentals that we have stressed in practice.  This was our last competitive chance before the Big 12 Championships.  We're going to back to Columbia to wrestle the same way."

Trent Paulson provided the Cyclones with bonus points by sticking Mike Sewell's shoulders to the mat in 1:32. Paulson, rated second at 157 pounds, worked the Cavalier with three takedowns prior to the pin. The two-time All-American finished his ISU dual career with a record of 108-20 and holds a season mark of 22-4. His 108 career wins ties him with three-time All-American Mike Van Arsdale, for 24th on the all-time Iowa State list.

Travis Paulson followed with a fall of his own, a 5:18 pin of Matt Federici at 165 pounds. Paulson was working towards a technical fall, taking a 15-3 lead into the final period when Federici started the period from the down position. Paulson moved him to his shoulders, registering his second pin this season. The win ups his record to 23-4 this season and his career mark to 101-29.

"There had been some close matches so I was happy to give us additional bonus points," Travis Paulson said. "These dual matches were good for us and will help us prepare for the Big 12 and NCAA meets."

Backes stayed hot, amassing more than six minutes of riding time in an 11-0 win over Calvin Cardillo.  Backes now stands 23-4 this season and owns a career mark of 103-28.

"I would have rather wrestled my final dual match at Hilton Coliseum in front of our fans," Backes said. "But this worked out well because my parents could come down from New Jersey to watch me wrestle. We traveled well on this trip.  I'm just looking to go out, have fun and win."

Iowa State's Nick Fanthorpe opened the dual by snapping Ross Gitomer's six-match win streak with a 3-1 decision at 125 pounds. Fanthorpe is rated fifth nationally and carries a 23-7 record in his rookie season.  Redshirt freshman Nick Gallick won his match at 133-pounds with a dramatic 11-9 decision over Eric Albright. Gallick trailed 9-7 after two periods but got an escape followed by a takedown with 1:11 left in the match for the win. The Cyclone improves to 25-7 this season.

On Friday night, the Cyclones rolled Virginia Tech, 42-3, in Cassell Coliseum. The Cyclones won nine of 10 matches, seven of which resulted in bonus points. Travis Paulson (165) etched his name in Cyclone wrestling history by recording his 100th-career win and Jake Varner tallied his 12th pin of the season. ISU improves to 12-3 in dual action.

"This was a great win for us, especially at this time of year," ISU head coach Cael Sanderson said. "Our guys are going out there and wrestling hard for seven minutes, just like we want them to. We told them we wanted a lot of offense and they generated the points."

Travis Paulson became the 33rd Cyclone among a distinguished list of  ISU wrestlers with 100-career victories with a 16-5 major decision against Eric Decker. Paulson, rated third nationally, began the second period with a reversal and proceeded to takedown the Hokie two times. The two-time All-American scored two more takedowns in the final period and closed out the bout with a three-point nearfall. With the win, Paulson has won six matches via major decision and his record stands at 22-4.

"My match felt good," Paulson said. "I wanted to try and push the pace so that I can get in better shape for the Big 12 meet. I went out on the mat confident. It is great to reach the century mark and be mentioned with the guys that are already there. I still think that we are improving every week. This was a good win. We want to carry the momentum from last week into these duals and then to the Big 12 Championship."

"Having Travis reach 100-career wins is great and he is down in the history books of Cyclone wrestling," Sanderson said. "He put an exclamation point on the match with the closing takedown."

After a Hokie forfeit at 125-pounds, Nick Gallick opened the dual at 133-pounds with an 18-2 technical fall over Sheridan Moran. Gallick used five takedowns and two three-point nearfalls en route to victory. Gallick, a redshirt freshman from Tucson, Ariz., unleashed a relentless attack during the third period. He scored three takedowns and registered his second three-point nearfall of the bout in the final period. Gallick is ranked 14th nationally and carries a 24-7 season mark.

Redshirt freshman Jake Varner built on a 3-1 third-period lead over Steve Borja, getting a three-point nearfall in the match's final minute and then pinning Borja with 44 seconds left.

"It was exciting," Varner said. "It was a good match for the end of the year to prepare for the Big 12 meet and nationals. Our team looked real good. We went out there and dominated."

The Iowa State wrestling team will return to the mat March 3 at the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo. The Cyclones will be vying for their first conference title since 1987 and will be looking to push forward to the NCAA Championships at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Mich., March 15-17.

Six-and-a-half months in advance of Gene Chizik's debut as head coach, Iowa State football fans are demonstrating their anticipation for the 2007 season with their actions at the box office. Cyclone fans have purchased more than half (17,207 as of Friday) of last year's record-setting total of 30,728 season tickets.

Most impressive, are the more than 1,200 new season ticket orders and the nearly 175 additional season tickets ordered by existing accounts.

"The excitement for Cyclone football continues to grow since the hiring of Coach Chizik," Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said. "Our fans are energized by his arrival, the introduction of his coaching staff and the recent announcement of our incoming recruits."

Fans, who renew or order new season tickets by the department's Feb. 28 deadline, guarantee their 2006 seat location (if desired) and also qualify for the "Cyclone Sweepstakes" promotion. More than 30 prizes – including items like an autographed football from Chizik, lunch with Pollard, travel with the team to a road game and a table (eight seats) for the upcoming Cy's House of Trivia evening – will be distributed through a random drawing for the individuals who met the renewal deadline.

The Cyclones moved up the renewal / order timelines a few weeks this season after receiving countless inquiries about tickets and donations after Chizik's hiring in November. Iowa State established a school record for season tickets sold last fall and believes it can surpass that total in 2007.

"With Coach Chizik's debut season and a home schedule as attractive as this one – featuring Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, UNI, Colorado, Kansas State and Kent State – there is no question we can surpass our all-time best sales total for the second year in a row," Pollard said. "I want to personally welcome the 1,200 new members of the Cyclone family who bought season tickets. The loyalty of ISU fans continues to impress."

Fans may order and or renew tickets online at cyclones.com or may call (515-294-1816) or stop by (1800 South Fourth Street) the Athletics Ticket Office. The department will once again track its sales progress online.

Zaid Abdul-Aziz, an All-American Iowa State basketball player under the name Don Smith from 1966-1968, will return to the ISU campus Feb. 20-23 to promote his new book, Darkness to Sunlight: The Life-Changing Journey of Zaid Abdul-Aziz.

During his visit, Aziz will participate in the following activities:

    • Lecture and book signing, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., Memorial Union Pioneer Room
    • Book signing at the Iowa State University Book Store, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon
    • "Guest in the Alley" with Cyclone Alley, ISU's men's and women's basketball student spirit group, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. as the ISU men play Colorado at Hilton Coliseum
    • Book signing at the Iowa State University Book Store, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon
    • Book reading, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m., Ames Public Library

All lectures, book signings, and book readings are free and open to the public.

Darkness to Sunlight chronicles Aziz's life from his childhood in Brooklyn to his days as an Iowa State student during the politically turbulent 1960s to the successes and challenges of his professional basketball career and his conversion to the Islamic faith. These subjects will also be covered in the Feb. 20 lecture.

A 1998 ISU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Aziz currently ranks 10th on ISU's all-time men's basketball scoring charts with 1,672 career points. He holds the Cyclone record for career scoring average at 22.3 points per game. Aziz currently resides in Seattle, Wash.

Finally, one of the topic on our premium board among subscribers is what Gene Chizik had to say in his first appearance at the Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club Luncheon on Friday.  Click here to find out what people thought of ISU's new football coach:



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