College Wrestling News

Wrestlers Face Tough Test at ISU

No. 11 Oklahoma travels to No. 3 Iowa State for Big 12 Battle Friday.

Jan. 22, 2009

 Wrestling at Iowa State
 Date  Friday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.
 Location  Ames, Iowa  |  Hilton Coliseum
 Match Info  Live Stats |  ISU Webcast


NORMAN, Okla. – The competition for the Sooner wrestling team is about to heat up, as No. 11 Oklahoma looks to remain undefeated when it travels to Ames, Iowa, to take on third-ranked Iowa State this Friday, Jan. 23. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., inside Hilton Coliseum.

With a victory, the Sooners (14-0, 1-0) would improve to 2-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 1993.

“The past few wins have been building blocks leading up to Big 12 competition,” head coach Jack Spates said. “Iowa State presents a huge challenge and has handled us the past couple times we have wrestled.”




The Cyclones owns a 46-33-3 advantage over OU, including winners of the past five. Last season, Iowa State topped the Sooners by a 31-3 margin in Norman on Jan. 25.

OU is aiming for its second victory over a top 10 opponent this season against the Cyclones. The Sooners topped then-No. 9 Oklahoma State on Dec. 7, to pick up their first win in Big 12 competition.

 Probable Sooner Starters (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 10 Joey Fio (125)  Sandpoint, Idaho (So.)   13-3
 Brian Shelton (133)  El Reno, Okla. (Jr.)   10-3
 Seth Vernon (141)  Tulsa, Okla. (RFr.)   12-5
 No. 13 Kyle Terry (149)  Midwest City, Okla. (RJr.)   19-1
 No. 16 Shane Vernon (157)  Broken Arrow, Okla. (RJr.)   11-5
 Ryan Smith (165)  Prineville, Ore. (RFr.)   15-5
 No. 9 Jeff James (174)  El Reno, Okla. (RSo.)   19-1
 No. 19 Pat Flynn (184)  Quakertown, Pa. (RSo.)   20-2
 No. 11 Eric Lapotsky (197)  Mt. Carmel, Pa. (Jr.)   20-2
 No. 19 Nathan Fernandez (HWT)  Lawton, Okla. (RSo.)   18-4


Winners of the past two Big 12 Championships, Iowa State is 9-2 this season and 3-0 at home in Ames. The Cyclones have been dominate, outscoring opponents 29-9 in dual action. In last action, ISU defeated the Oregon State Beavers by a 29-6 final on Jan. 18.

Iowa State will get a dose of Oklahoma action this weekend, as its hosts the Sooners on Friday and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State on Sunday.

The Cyclones are led by third-year head coach Cael Sanderson. Under Sanderson, who wrestled at ISU and compiled a 159-0 record, ISU has crowned six individual conference champions, 11 All-Americans and one national champion.

 Probable Cyclone Starters (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 6 Tyler Clark  Bettendorf, Iowa (So.)   17-3
 No. 7 Nick Fanthorpe  Naperville, Ill. (Jr.)   16-3
 No. 2 Nick Gallick  Tucson, Ariz. (Jr.)   20-3
 No. 18 Mitch Mueller   Iowa City, Iowa (Jr.)    14-4
 No. 7 Cyler Sanderson  Heber City, Utah (Jr.)   11-4
 No. 6 Jon Reader  Davidson, Mich. (So.)   17-4
 No. 8 Duke Burk  Peoria, Ill. (Jr.)   5-3
 No. 20 Jerome Ward  Evergreen Park (Ill.)   11-8
 No. 1 Jake Varner  Bakersfield, Calif. (Jr.)   17-1
 No. 3 David Zabriskie  Branchville, N.J. (Jr.)   20-2

Oklahoma has seven ranked in this week’s individual rankings, led by No. 9 Jeff James at 174 pounds. Joey Fio rose to 10th at 125 pounds and Eric Lapotsky stands at 11th at 197. Kyle Terry, who possesses a team-high 18-match win streak, is No. 13 at 149 pounds.

Shane Vernon is No. 16 at 157 pounds and Pat Flynn and Nathan Fernandez are 19th at 184 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.

Iowa State counters will all 10 starters ranked, led by No. 1 Jake Varner at 197 pounds. Also in the top five is No. 2 Nick Gallick at 141 pounds and No. 3 David Zabriskie at heavyweight. Tyler Clark (125 pounds) and Jon Reader (165) are No. 6 and Nick Fanthorpe lands at seventh at 133 pounds.

Also in the top 10 are Cyler Sanderson (No. 7 at 157 pounds) and Duke Burk (No. 8 at 174). Rounding out ranked Cyclones are No. 18 Mitch Mueller at 149 pounds and No. 20 Jerome Ward at 184 pounds.


Iowa State has an edge on the Sooners in the overall standings, leading 46-33-3. Oklahoma last beat the Cyclones during the 2003 season when the Sooners went on to place third at the NCAA championships.

Last season, Iowa State topped the Sooners by a 31-3 final margin in Norman, winning nine of 10 bouts on Jan. 25.


The Sooners enter Friday’s contest with a perfect 14-0 start to the season, the best start in program history. Dating back to records beginning in 1920, no OU team has started with as many dual wins.

Sophomore Joey Fio was named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 19, after helping guide the 11th-ranked Sooners to two victories over Maryland (22-15) and Arizona State (36-7) last week. The conference honor was his first this season and the second of his career.

Highlighting his two victories was a pin over eighth-ranked and 2008 NCAA qualifier Anthony Robles of Arizona State. Fio needed only the first period to record the fall, posting his second this season with a time of 2:08. It marked his second victory over a top-10 opponent this year.

The Sandpoint, Idaho, native also picked up a win over Brendan Byrne of Maryland by a 2-1 final. The victories expand his active-winning streak to seven matches and improve his record to 13-3, 10-2 in dual action.

The Sooner wrestling team is 1-0 in Big 12 Conference competition this season for the first time since 1993. It defeated then-No. 9 Oklahoma State, 18-15, on Dec. 7.

The team looks to improve to 2-0 versus Iowa State on Friday, a feat it has not accomplished since 1993.

Oklahoma boasts a perfect 14-0 record heading into the Iowa State match, and is one of only three teams in Intermat’s Top 25 with an undefeated record. Joining OU is No. 1 Iowa (15-0) and No. 7 Illinois (7-0).

Oklahoma is 12-0 this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 29-7.

The Sooners’ largest scoring output was a 47-0 stomping of Oklahoma City on Nov. 20. OU’s 18-15 win over Oklahoma State on Dec. 7 was the closest an opponent has finished to OU all season.

College wrestling fans still have the opportunity to secure excellent seats when the NCAA® Division I Wrestling Championships arrive in St. Louis in March.

Don’t miss your chance to take in all the action at the Scottrade Center. All-session tickets to the 2009 championships are on sale now. To order your tickets, call (800) 745-3000 (toll free).

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