Scouting Iowa State: Missouri wrestling faces fellow top-10 Cyclones

No. 9 Missouri takes on No. 10 Iowa State and No. 20 Northern Iowa on Sunday.

Last season, Missouri hosted then-No. 21 Iowa State on Senior Day. In front of the 10th-largest crowd in program history, the Tigers sent out their seniors in style, dominating the Cyclones to claim a 27-6 victory. That win extended Missouri’s winning streak against its former conference foes to five-consecutive duals.

The two sides face off again on Sunday. Coming into the dual, both teams are ranked inside the top-10 in the NCWA rankings, Missouri being No. 9 and Iowa State being No. 10.

With the Cyclones looking to beat Missouri for the first time in five duals, The Maneater recently spoke with the Iowa State Daily’s Sam Stuve for an insider’s perspective on Iowa State.

[This interview has been edited for clarity purposes]

The Maneater: Last season, Iowa State finished 10-5. What areas do you feel the team has improved in this season?

Sam Stuve, ISD Sports’ Wrestling Writer: I think this team is a lot deeper this year and they have a lot better younger talent. Cam Robinson at 149 I think is a greater freshman, same with Zach Redding at 133. Then obviously Yonger Bastida at 197 with the international success he’s had. He would have been strongly considered for Cuba’s Olympic wrestling team if there was an Olympics this year.

I think the freshman class is a really, really good one. And then you also return guys such as Gannon Gremmel, Ian Parker, obviously David Carr, who’s third in his weight class at 157. I just think there’s a lot of good returning experience and they also work together well with some younger faces coming in too.

TM: This season, Iowa State is ranked No. 10 in the country, which is the second-highest of all Big 12 teams. Last season, the Cyclones finished second at the conference tournament. How do you feel the team has approached the season as they try to win the conference?

SS: I think they’ve challenged themselves in ways that people don’t really think about.

For instance, having Wartburg as their first dual of the year. Not a lot of people outside of Iowa even know that Wartburg exists. They’re a D-III powerhouse.

I also think by sending a lot of wrestlers out to Omaha to wrestle in the Junior Championships and U23s. Some wrestlers won some medals from that and were national champions, so I think they got some good experience in early.

They’ve obviously challenged themselves with having Missouri and Arizona State coming to Ames as well.

TM: Who are some of the wrestlers at Iowa State that Missouri should be worried about?

SS: David Carr is, I think, a national title contender at 157. I think his offensive ability, specifically how quick he is on his feet and his athleticism makes him so hard to prepare for and to predict. How to defend him, too.

Gannon Gremmel at heavyweight too, ranked No. 9 in his weight class. I think he’s got a size advantage on most heavyweights, he’s pretty big and pretty strong. He’s not easy to move.

And then Yonger Bastida at 197. He’s just so quick on his feet. From the three matches I’ve seen him, he can attack from anywhere, whether it’s locked up or not, which I think makes it hard for the defender to obviously sprawl and defend from a takedown.

Ian Parker has made multiple NCAA tournaments. Him and David Carr were Big 12 champs, so he’s somebody to worry about.

Alex Mackall is a name to be considered, too, at No. 9 in the nation, but we really don’t know yet if it’s gonna be him wrestling on Sunday because they’re supposed to be having some wrestle-offs today [Wednesday] to determine starters at 125 and 133.

TM: Is there a specific weight class that you feel will cause the Tigers the most problems?

SS: 157 with David Carr. I just think there’s not a lot of guys that can beat him. The Arizona State guy at 157 nearly did last year, but I just think he’s that much better than everybody else.

Really, I think these two teams are pretty balanced otherwise. I think maybe you could look at 141 and say that Ian Parker has a slight advantage over Allan Hart, but even then, Allan Hart is No. 13 in the nation which is obviously nothing to scoff at.

Those are really the only ones where you can make an argument that it’s a wide margin.

TM: Last season, Missouri beat Iowa State 27-6. How do you think knowing this result will impact the approach from the Cyclones?

SS: Just looking at who was wrestling, there’s only three guys that Iowa State wrestled in that dual that are going to be wrestling Sunday, maybe four depending on what Todd Small’s status is. So I think that number is a little bit skewed. Obviously, Missouri was the better team because they were better ranked.

I think something Gannon Gremmel said today was very, very important. Just them having two duals back-to-back, that’s gonna be something that changes things from last year, too. He’s faced Missouri’s heavyweight before, not last year but the year before. Facing Zach Elam and won in overtime, sudden victory.

I expect that kind of dramatics to happen again. I think it’s gonna be very close and come down to the final weight.

TM: The team is primarily made up of both redshirt and true freshmen and sophomores. How has the relative youth of the team had an impact on the team this season?

SS: I think it’s drawn a lot more excitement to the program just from an outside perspective for fans and whatnot.

Obviously, David Carr, again, great redshirt sophomore. Cam Robinson is a really, really good freshman who is 3-0 so far and just beat a guy from Nebraska-Kearney, who transferred from Wyoming and made the NCAA tournament twice before, so he’s already got a big win there. He’ll have a tougher challenge this week with Brock Mauller who is No. 3 in the nation at 149.

I think they’ve also got the program excited about the depth and the future, too. Having that mix with all the upperclassmen has gotten fans excited about what the team’s potential can be this year. I think the expectation is a Big 12 title.

TM: Is there anything else you’d like to add before making a prediction?

SS: This team has been dealing with injuries at some spots. 184 specifically one of them, Tate Battani is the starter right now, and coach told me on Monday that he was the third-string guy coming into the season. But with Sam Colbray being injured, who is still ranked in the top 10 but hasn’t been wrestling and is unsure with what he saw Monday when he’s going to be back. It could be this weekend, it could not be.

Jarrett Degen got injured before the first match of the season, and he’s kinda iffy too. There’s no concrete answer as to whether he’ll be wrestling. He’s ranked in the top 10 but nearly lost to Cam Robinson in his wrestle-off, so that spot was competitive no matter what.

Todd Small hadn’t been wrestling until last week and got back in there, I believe that’s the case. They did A and B matches for the first two they had here, so I could’ve missed Todd Small wrestling on the B mats. I know he was back wrestling last week and he’s cutting weight from 141 to get down to 133 so he can wrestle off for that spot.

I think this team is finally getting, it’s not at full strength, but it’s getting there.

125, last week, they split. They had two starters for each of the duals, one was Alex Mackall, the senior who is 3-0 and has pinned every person he’s wrestled. Then-freshman Kysen Terukina, who beat Alex in a wrestle-off last week to make them split, so they’re having one this week to decide who’s gonna start for this week. So that’s another question mark of who’s gonna be out there and I think that could sway the ultimate result of the entire dual.

TM: Prediction for Iowa State vs. Missouri?

SS: I know for certain it’s gonna be fun to watch and entertaining.

I think Missouri will win the 165, 174. I think looking on paper that’s kinda the prediction. I think Iowa State has a little bit of an advantage in the lightweights and the 140s. I think it’s gonna come down to the final two matches, and I think Iowa State is going to win by three or less. I could see Missouri winning by three or less.

It’s gonna be really, really close and really exciting to watch.

Edited by Jack Soble | jsoble@themaneater.com

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