State of the Cyclones: Iowa State wrestling continues to build under Kyven Gadson


Let’s look at a sport that is perhaps the most significant in Iowa State history — wrestling.

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More than any other sport, wrestling has a unique resonance with Iowans and much of the Midwest.  Dozens of high schools still hold wrestling in high regard and this has helped ISU (among many other schools in the state) field strong programs for years.  Despite the relative lack of attention in recent memory, including thoughts to drop it from the Olympic program, the sport remains a staple of college athletics.

Last season was middling for the Cyclones as they went 9-7 overall and 1-2 in conference.  Only ISU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia field teams for the sport so that is what contributes to the fewer conference matches.

The season ultimately ended on a good note, as two Cyclones won their respective weight classes at the Big 12 Championships held in Norman, Oklahoma, on March 8th, with Lelund Weatherspoon and Kyven Gadson winning the 184-pound and 197-pound weight class, prespectively.  The team further went on to place 12th of 20 teams at the NCAA Championships that were held in Oklahoma City, OK, a few weeks later.  Gadson was the top performer again for Iowa State, finishing 4th in his weight.

Kyven Gadson returns as the presumed leader of the team thanks to his strong performances and number one ranking at the ultra-competitive 197-pound weight class.  This was the same weight at which former Cyclone Jake Varner wrestled prior to his gold medal run during the 2012 Olympics.  Outside of Gadson, the team is loaded with sophomores and freshmen, with a smattering of upperclassmen to round things out.

The wrestlers are led by former Cyclone Kevin Jackson, who took over for Cael Sanderson after the all-time great left to coach Penn State.  Jackson has a record of 46-38 in five seasons so far and is poised to continue his winning ways with the team this season.

The squad opens with the NIACC Kaye Young Open in Mason City on November 1st.

Join us in the next weeks as we finish “State of the Cyclones” by looking at the men’s and women’s basketball teams.