Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Today, the Iowa State Cyclones released their 2022-23 schedule and what a schedule it is! As of now, it features duals against one-third of the top-30 dual teams in the land. That figure will only increase as we don't know who ISU will take on at the Collegiate Duals. The Duals could likely feature two or three more teams of that ilk. In addition to the dual slate, Iowa State will also travel to compete at the Southern Scuffle over New Year's.
Iowa State is coming off its finest regular season under the leadership of head coach Kevin Dresser. The Cyclones went 15-1 in dual action with their only loss coming to then-number two Iowa. Iowa State then took third at the Big 12 Championships and put three wrestlers onto the NCAA podium. All three are back in 2022-23 and looking to improve upon that showing.
Here's what to look for in Iowa State's 2022-23 lineup.
Duals versus 10 teams in InterMat's summer dual rankings :(#2 Iowa, #3 Missouri, #6 Oklahoma State, #8 Arizona State, #10 Wisconsin, #14 Northern Iowa, #18 Pittsburgh, #20 Oklahoma, #23 Illinois, #29 Campbell)
Three Big Ten Teams: Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin
Two Pac-12 Teams: Arizona State, Little Rock
One ACC Team: Pittsburgh
One SoCon Team: Campbell
Both of the other DI teams from Iowa: Iowa, Northern Iowa
Teams that finished in the top 30 at the 2022 NCAA Championships: #3 Iowa, #4 Arizona State, #9 Missouri, #14 Oklahoma State, #14 Wisconsin, #20 Northern Iowa, #23 Wyoming, #24 Pittsburgh, #25 Illinois, #29 Oklahoma
Home Slate: Arizona State, Cal Baptist, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Wyoming
Away: Iowa, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Pittsburgh, Utah Valley, West Virginia
Neutral Site: Campbell, Grand View, Little Rock, Wisconsin and Collegiate Duals
November 5th - Battle in the River City (Little Rock, #29 Campbell, #10 Wisconsin) @ Jacksonville, Florida
The Cyclones have an imposing schedule and they don't ease into it as they travel to Florida to take on three non-conference opponents, two of which are ranked. One of the best bouts from the Campbell dual is at the opening weight as Kysen Terukina faces US Open finalist Anthony Molton. There's a chance true freshman Casey Swiderski is in the Cyclone lineup at 141 lbs. If so, he'd get welcomed into DI wrestling by #19 Shannon Hanna. The only other bout where ISU may not be favored against the Camel is at heavyweight as #18 Sam Schuyler faces #13 Taye Ghadiali.
The headline dual pits Cyclone alum Chris Bono's Wisconsin team against the Cyclones. This has the makings of a colossal bout at 165 lbs between 2021 NCAA champion David Carr and 2022 Freshman of the Year Dean Hamiti. This is likely Carr's first folkstyle test at the new weight. Wisconsin also has returning AA's at 125 (Eric Barnett), 149 (former Cyclone Austin Gomez), and 285 (Trent Hillger). The 197 lb match has a rematch from Detroit, as Yonger Bastida is set to face Braxton Amos. Bastida prevailed last year, 3-2.
November 12th - Cal Baptist
Cal Baptist will head into Ames under the direction of first-year head coach Derek Moore. The Lancers are transitioning into DI status and are in the process of building a roster to compete in a conference like the Big 12.
November 20th - Grand View @ Humboldt, Iowa
This is a fun match with NAIA power Grand View meeting at a neutral site. Humboldt, Iowa is the home of Cyclones head coach Kevin Dresser. Iowa State wrestled Purdue in Humboldt last season. Expect a great environment, as Grand View is certain to have a lineup packed full of Iowa natives.
November 26th - Harold Nichols Cyclone Open
With a huge dual on the horizon, I wouldn't expect to see many of the Cyclones starters in action at their home, open tournament. This could be a chance to get a glimpse of their second-ranked recruiting class competing unattached. The Cyclone Open may also be the spot to sort out any lingering lineup battles.
December 4th - #2 Iowa @ Iowa City, Iowa
This is a big one every year, but this time even more so, after the fireworks that ensued during the handshake line after last season's dual. Iowa State's three returning All-Americans will face stiff tests from Iowa with Carr/Patrick Kennedy, Marcus Coleman/Abe Assad, and Bastida/Jacob Warner. The only rematch of the three is at 197 lbs, where Bastida defeated the eventual NCAA runner-up, Warner, 4-2. Iowa continued its dominance of in-state rival Iowa State with a 29-11 team score. The Cyclones rebounded and didn't lose another dual in the 2021-22 season.
December 19/20th - Collegiate Duals @ New Orleans, Louisiana
As of now, we don't have a full list of teams for the College Duals. It is fun to see the New Orleans location. Last year's event featured pool, dual competition that prevented conference teams or those on each other's schedules from meeting. With that in mind, you could expect ISU to see strong opposition from the ACC, Big Ten, or EIWA.
January 1/2nd - Southern Scuffle @ Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Southern Scuffle isn't the tournament it was about a decade ago, but it still has a strong field. Expect a mix of ACC and SoCon teams, along with some EIWA and a few Big Ten squads in the mix.
January 7th - Wyoming
Typically, Mark Branch's Wyoming teams are very tough outs in dual competition. Last year, ISU swarmed the Cowboys in a 32-6 win. Sometimes in college wrestling, dual scores can be deceiving if there are a bunch of close matches that go a certain way. Last year's meeting wasn't one of those, as the Cyclones posts two majors, two falls, and a seven-point decision. The 197 lb bout will be a must-watch between returning All-Americans Bastida and Stephen Buchanan. The pair met three times last season with Buchanan getting one win in sudden victory, another by a single point, and the third with a fall in the closing seconds.
January 8th - #8 Arizona State
Aside from Iowa, this is Iowa State's marquee out-of-conference matchup. The Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back fourth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships and boast a lineup with five All-Americans. Interestingly enough, none of the team's AA's should hit. The top match from this dual could come at 184 lbs as Coleman takes on Oklahoma State transfer Anthony Montalvo.
January 14th - at Utah Valley
In the middle of the heavy part of the dual schedule sits a trip to Utah Valley. The Wolverines could have 2021 All-American Demetrius Romero back from injury at 174 lbs. If healthy, he could be a darkhorse finals contender. Before that, he is likely to see #24 Joel Devine. The other possible matchup between returning national qualifiers could take place at 133 lbs with Utah Valley's #20 Haiden Drury taking on #19 Ramazan Attasauov. Though they were in the same weight class last year and Attasauov was third at the conference meet and Drury was fifth; the two have no history together.
January 27th - #20 Oklahoma
Though they are conference rivals, there won't be much familiarity with this Oklahoma team, as their 2022-23 lineup should look much different than last year's version. This Sooner squad could feature three transfers (Wyatt Henson - 133; Mosha Schwart - 141; Gerrit Nijenhuis - 165), all of which made for interesting matches with ISU. Setting the tone for this match are the 125's Terukina and Joey Prata. The Sooner took their last meeting by one point. On the opposite end of the lineup, Schuyler took two matches from Josh Heindselman, by identical 5-3 scores.
January 29th - #6 Oklahoma State
Once again, Terukina will be front and center at this dual. He'll have #11 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, who split matches with him a year ago. We've heard that OSU could have some weight shifting going on, so if Travis Wittlake indeed bumps up to 184, it'll set up a good match between past AA's with Coleman. That could slide top-recruit Kyle Haas to 197 against Bastida. By the time of this match, I'd expect freshmen #18 Victor Voinovich and #25 Paniro Johnson to both be higher than their current ranking. If so, this could be a preview of the conference semifinals.
February 3rd - at West Virginia
It sounds like a broken record, but Terukina is the guy to watch here. That's what happens when you're in a conference that sent eight wrestlers to nationals. 2022 Big 12 champion Killian Cardinale is WVU's stud at this weight. Even though Terukina had to rely on an at-large berth for his trip to Detroit, he did down Cardinale in dual action. The Mountaineers other star, 2022 All-American Peyton Hall, is at a strong weight for Iowa State. He'll face Carr.
February 4th - at #18 Pittsburgh
A day after facing Big 12 rival West Virginia, Iowa State will make the short drive north to take on non-conference opponent Pittsburgh. The Panthers boast the preseason #1 141 lber in Cole Matthews, who will be a handful for Swiderski, Zach Redding, or whoever is at the weight for the Cyclones. Fans should be in for a treat at 197 lbs, as two of the best offensive threats for the weight class will square off with Bastida and 2021 NCAA finalist Nino Bonaccorsi. With longtime starter Micky Phillippi at 133 and three strong transfers at the middle/upperweights, Pitt will be a tough out for Iowa State and most other teams.
February 10th - at #14 Northern Iowa
This contest between in-state foes ended up being one of the more exciting duals of the 2021-22 season. In a dual that featured four lead changes, Iowa State prevailed 16-15. We'll have to see what UNI does at 125, as Brody Teske is in the portal and possibly going up to 133. Carr's move to 165 sets up a date with #13 Austin Yant, a Big 12 third-place finisher a year ago. Also another edition of Coleman versus Parker Keckiesen, a battle between two returning AA's. Keckeisen went 2-0 against his Iowa State counterpart last year.
February 12th - #23 Illinois
With the Big Ten schedule presumably in the rearview, Illinois travels to Iowa State for a clash with the Cyclones. The Fighting Illini's best grappler is their 133 lber, Lucas Byrd, now a two-time All-American. 184 lbs will present an interesting rematch. Though the Illinis' Zac Bruanagel did not place at nationals, he did pin Yonger Bastida along the way. At 174 lber, Illinois has a new promising face in Edmond Ruth, a 2021 champion at the MatMen Open. He starts the year ranked #16 at the weight, a few slots ahead of Devine.
February 16th - @ #3 Missouri
The Cyclones close out the dual season with a huge match against Mizzou. Iowa State had an undefeated Big 12 dual record last year, punctuated by a 17-16 win over the Tigers on the final weekend of the regular season. This dual could have one of the most anticipated matches from the entire regular season as Carr and Keegan O'Toole could meet in a bout between past national champions. At 197 lbs, Bastida prevailed in sudden victory during the dual and Big 12's, but Rocky Elam returned the favor at nationals. The Tiger also will have the service of two-time All-American Brock Mauller, who redshirted the 2021-22 campaign. Mauller could match up with Johnson at 149. With any luck, we'll be treated to rematches from the 2022 dual at 125, 133, 174, and 285, as both starters are expected back on both sides.
February 19th - Last Chance Open @ Ames, Iowa
Iowa State's famous (or infamous) Last Chance Open will give Cyclone or any other wrestlers a chance to meet minimum match requirements for NCAA automatic qualification.
March 4/5th - Big 12 Championships @ Tulsa, Oklahoma
After an excellent regular season, Iowa State settled for third place at the 2022 Big 12 Championships, behind Missouri and Oklahoma. While coach Dresser and crew will focus mainly on peaking for NCAA's, I'm sure they'd like a better showing at the conference meet this year. Once again, competition for that top spot will be intense as Missouri and Oklahoma State start the year ahead of the Cyclones in tournament rankings.