KANSAS CITY — The Big 12 wrestling tournament is underway in KC where five Cyclones found made their way to the semifinals on Saturday: Earl Hall at 133, Tanner Weatherman at 165, Lelund Weatherspoon at 174, Dane Pestano at 184 and Pat Downey at 197 were those men.
Only Hall, Weatherman and Weatherspoon advanced to the finals of their perspective weight classes though.
Iowa State finished second in team points with 72, right behind Oklahoma State at 140.5.
Session I and II were filled with multiple storylines. So instead of taking a look and jamming them all into one story, here are four storylines from Saturday in KC.
Point 1: Hall against Brewer: Episode V
No. 1 against No. 2.
Come Sunday afternoon, Iowa State’s Earl Hall, who is the No. 2 seed in the 133-pound bracket, will meet the No. 1 seed in his bracket, Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer.
These two nationally recognized 133-pounders have met four times before their fifth rematch with Brewer dominating the series 3-to-1.
When these two gladiators first met back on January 31, 2015, Hall pinned Brewer in 1:02. But since then it has been all Brewer.
Brewer defeated Hall the first time during last’s Big 12 Wrestling Championships in the 133-pound finale via 10-5 decision, the second time at this year’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational via 12-5 decision and the third time down at Oklahoma this season via a 12-4 major decision.
So what does Hall have to do to break his losing streak against Brewer?
“If he can compete the way he did in his second match of the day today,” head coach Kevin Jackson said. “[Earl] can beat anybody.”
In Hall’s two matches on Saturday, fans saw two different guys. One who barely beat number eight seed (Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya by a 6-5 decision) and one who dominated Oklahoma State’s Gary Wayne Harding by a 16-8 major decision.
If Hall performs the way he did against Harding, Jackson feels that he has a strong chance against Brewer.
Point 2: Weatherman shakes off shaky start to advance to finals
Tanner Weatherman entered the Big 12 Championships as the number two seed in the 165-pound bracket. But in his first match he didn’t look like the two seed against number eight seed, Wyoming’s Chaz Poloson.
“I wasn’t real focused,” Weatherman said.
At one point in the match, Poloson was leading Weatherman 5-0 late in the second period. But then Weatherman heard his coaches and his brother from the stand shouting to get going, which is exactly what he did.
Weatherman rallied off eight points in the second and ultimately defeated Poloson by a 11-8 decision. In his second match, Weatherman beat Oklahoma’s Clark Glass 5-1 to advance to the finals of the 165-pound bracket.
In the finale, Weatherman will face off against Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer, who defeated Weatherman via a 12-4 major decision down in Stillwater earlier this year.
“He does everything well,” Weatherman said of his future opponent.
Point 3: Downey still inconsideration for NCAAs
The Cyclone who probably had the biggest day was newcomer 197-pound grappler, Pat Downey.
Downey, who joined Iowa State midyear and only competed in two duals before the Big 12 Championships, zipped through his first two matches.
In his first match ever at the Big 12 Championships, Downey manhandled Oklahoma’s Brad Johnson as he went onto win by a 8-5 decision. In Downey’s second match of the day, he was pitted against West Virginia’s Jake Smith, who was the number one seed in the 197-pound bracket. Downey completed the upset by defeating Smith 4-1.
In the semifinals, Downey hit a brick wall against Oklahoma State’s Preston Weigel, losing by a 6-2 decision.
With that loss, Downey was bounced down to the consolation bracket of the tournament.
“We thought [Downey] could have taken that match against Weigel because he took the number one seed,” Jackson said. “But I felt like he didn’t nutrition right during the break.”
Although Downey has been bounced from the championship bracket, he can still make the NCAA tournament if he wins his first match tomorrow, as he needs to finish fourth at the Big 12 Championships to qualify for March.
Point 4: Meeks impresses at 149
After original 149-pound starter Gabe Moreno was shut down for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury, Jackson has had troubles figuring out who should be the starter at that weight for the Cyclones.
One week it seemed like Blynce Briceno was the answer and the next week Dante Rodriguez was the answer. But this week it was former 141-pound wrestler, John Meeks.
Meeks went 2-2 on the day and was ultimately was bounced out of the tournament.
“I was proud of his performance,” Jackson said.
Jackson felt that Meeks two loses were winnable but he felt if he gave Meeks more opportunities this year, Meeks could have won both of them.