Panthers fall to No. 3 ISU in front of 5,754 fans



Parker Keckeisen attempts a takedown during No. 14 UNI’s 19-12 loss against No. 3 Iowa State in front of a near-record breaking crowd of 5,754.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The 14th-ranked UNI wrestling team faced the No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones on Friday, Feb. 10, in front of 5,754 people, the second-largest crowd in the McLeod Center for a wrestling event and third-largest all-time at UNI. It was also Senior Night for the Panthers, with two redshirt seniors splitting their bouts. After a back-and-forth night, Iowa State ultimately pulled out a 19-12 win, which was their 18th Big 12 dual win in a row, a program record.

Coach Doug Schwab said after the match, “Getting real sick of this record though. Playing them over and over again, and they find ways, and that’s what great teams do. So for us then, we gotta figure out how to change that pattern.”

UNI came into the dual 7-3 overall and 5-2 in conference competition as the 14th-ranked team in the country. Their only losses have come against teams in the top 11 of the NWCA Coaches’ Poll, and among their wins is a win over fourth-ranked Ohio State back in December. Iowa State came into the dual 14-2 overall and 6-0 in Big 12 competition as the third-ranked team in the country. Their only losses were to No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa.

In the 125-pound match, Kyle Gollhofer gave UNI the first lead in the dual with a tight 8-6 decision over Ethan Perryman. Iowa State’s Zach Redding tied the score at 3-3 with a 4-2 sudden victory decision over Kyle Biscoglia in the 133-pound class. At 141 pounds, Cael Happel again gave the Panthers the lead at 6-3 with a 4-3 decision over Casey Swiderski.

Adam Allard made his collegiate dual debut in the 149-pound class against Paniro Johnson. He ultimately fell 3-1 in a low-scoring bout that tied the score at 6-6. Derek Holschlag, one of UNI’s redshirt seniors that competed, again gave UNI the lead for the third time in the 157-pound class, winning a 4-1 decision over Jason Kraisser.

Despite UNI’s 9-6 lead, Iowa State would come back with wins in four out of the last five matches. Former national champion David Carr of Iowa State won the only major decision of the day over redshirt senior Austin Yant at 165 pounds, giving Iowa State their first lead of the day at 10-9. The Cyclones followed it up with another win in the 174-pound bout, with MJ Gaitan winning a 9-5 decision over Lance Runyon to extend the lead to 13-9.

UNI needed an answer, and in a top-four matchup at 185 pounds between No. 2 Parker Keckeisen of UNI and No. 4 Marcus Coleman, Keckeisen won a 7-5 decision to bring UNI within one at 13-12. Wyatt Voelker was the next Panther to take the mat in his second collegiate dual start this season in the 197-pound class. He fell 12-6 to Yonger Bastida, as the Cyclones took a 16-12 lead. Needing a major decision or better to tie or win the match, Tyrell Gordon ultimately lost to Sam Schulyer in a 4-1 decision that gave the Cyclones the 19-12 win.

UNI drops to 7-4 on the season and finishes 5-3 in Big 12 duals this season. Iowa State improves to 15-2 and 7-0 in Big 12 duals. UNI has now lost four in a row to the Cyclones and are 4-14 all-time against them. 

UNI’s regular season finale is set for Saturday, Feb. 18, against the 18th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, Wis. The Big 12 championships are scheduled for March 4 and 5 in Tulsa, Okla., and the NCAA Championships will be held March 16-18 in Tulsa, as well.