Iowa State, UNI Make Strides Forward At NCAA Wrestling

By J.R. Ogden, Reporter

Northern Iowa assistant coach Mark Schwab (left) and head coach Doug Schwab react as David Bonin pins Roger Pena of Oregon State in a 157 pound match during wrestlebacks on Saturday morning at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on March 23, 2013. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

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By Grant Burkhardt

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State and Northern Iowa programs took big steps at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Division I Championships.

But to the team’s coaches and wrestlers, it wasn’t enough.

Too many what-ifs, too many could-have-beens.

“We have to be better, we have to wrestle better, we have to compete better,” ISU coach Kevin Jackson said after three of his wrestlers completed their All-American runs Saturday afternoon inside Wells Fargo Arena.

The Cyclones finished 10th with 41.5 points, maybe not up to past expectations but a far cry from last year’s 35th-place showing with no All-Americans.

“It sets us up to keep pushing forward,” Jackson said.

UNI finished 15th with 34 points, again not where coach Doug Schwab wants to languish. Last year, the Panthers were 34th, a half-point in front of ISU.

“It’s progress,” Schwab said after David Bonin placed fourth at 157 pounds and Ryan Loder seventh at 184.

Iowa State didn’t have a great session Saturday. Michael Moreno and Kyven Gadson lost in the consolation semifinals at 165 and 197, respectively, then lost again in their fifth-place place matches. Heavyweight Matt Gibson was pinned in his seventh-place bout by Odie Delaney of Citadel.

For Gadson, it was the conclusion of an emotional week. His father, ISU All-American Willie Gadson, was buried Monday. Kyven wore his father’s warm-up robe to his consolation semifinal.

“It looked like everything caught up to him a little bit,” Jackson said.

UNI’s Bonin pinned Oregon State’s Roger Pena in the consolation semis, then was pinned by Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State in the third-place bout. Loder beat Mike Larson of Missouri, 8-0, for seventh.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking, being seventh, but (184) is a tough weight bracket,” Loder said.

He, too, wants and expects more of the Panthers in the future. UNI had two wrestlers — Levi Wolfensperger and Joey Lazor — come up one win short of All-American.

“It’s another step for us,” Loder said. “Our room is really picking up. The Panther Train is rolling now.”

UNI’s four wrestlers won 15 bouts in three days.

“That’s really good, really good for our team to win that many matches,” Schwab said. “Now we just have to keep building that point total.”

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