AMES, Iowa -- Three Iowa State wrestlers were crowned as individual champions at the 2012 Harold Nichols Cyclone Open on Saturday in Hilton Coliseum. Mike Moreno (165), Mikey England (174) and Cole Shafer (197) all took home titles. More than 250 student-athletes took part in the tournament, with participants spanning from NCAA Division I to NAIA.
"There's some good things we saw out of a lot of our kids today and there's some things that we definitely need to improve on, but it's a good way to start the season," Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson said. "This is a tough, long competition. It's a character-building competition. All in all, it served its purpose. This gives us more information to go back in on Monday and prepare for Old Dominion, our first dual meet. It tells us where our condition level is and where we are tactically."
England dominated the competition at 174 on his way to the finals, pinning his first two opponents in Shawn Keating of Midland University (4:19) and CJ Navarro of Iowa Central (5:27). England then scored a 10-2 major decision over Micah Barnes of Nebraska in the semi-finals. In the 174 pound championship match, England met fellow Cyclone redshirt freshmen Tanner Weatherman. After a hard-fought match, riding time gave England the 3-2 victory.
Moreno also controlled the field at 165, opening the tournament with three straight pins of Jesse East of Iowa Central (1:51), Aaron Hovey of Midland University (1:23) and Travis Leiskau of Nebraska-Kearney (1:28). Moreno then met Cyclone teammate Lelund Weatherspoon in the semifinals, coming away with a 10-5 victory. Moreno then scored a 12-3 major decision over Dallas Houchins of Grand View in the finals to win the title at 165 pounds
At 197, Cole Shafer overwhelmed the competition, pinning Lucas Belich of St. Cloud State (1:00) and Isaac Hopkins of Ellsworth (1:26) to open the tournament. Shafer then got a 12-0 major decision over Matt Lenagh of Nebraska-Kearney before beating Paul Rands of Navy, 9-3 in the championship match.
A number of Cyclones also placed at the annual tournament. Freshmen John Meeks took second place at 133, losing a 5-4 nail-biter in the championship match to No. 4 Joe Colon of Northern Iowa. At 125, No. 16 Ryak Finch took third place beating Connor Bolling by technical fall, 17-2 in the consolation championship.
No. 16 Luke Goettl was also a third-place winner, defeating Jay Hildreth 7-4 in the consolation match. At 285, No. 14 Matt Gibson pinned Chris Lopez of Illinois (1:24) in the consolation championship to take third place. Another freshmen, Gabe Moreno, took fourth place at 149, falling in the consolation championship to Fahy John of Illinois by a score of 12-7. Logan Molina took fourth place as well at 157, falling to Zach Witte of UNI by a final score of 9-2.
In all, Iowa State had eight wrestlers finish in the top three today with five wrestlers competing in championship matches at their respective weights.
The Cyclones will be back in action Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum to take on Old Dominion in its first dual meet of the season.