AMES — Iowa State’s Jon Reader has proven to be the best guy at his weight class.
Andrew Sorensen believes he is and will get opportunities to continue proving it this weekend against two ranked Big 12 Conference opponents at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (6-5) face No. 7 Oklahoma tonight, then have a day-and-a-half to rest before wrestling sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon.
Reader has been dominant at 174 pounds with a 24-0 record and No. 1-ranking by Intermat.
The senior’s sound bytes are sounding just like former Cyclone national champion Jake Varner’s did last year. He’s focused on being the best and winning an NCAA title.
“It doesn’t matter who I’ve got or where or when. It’s the same plan every time,” Reader said. “You go out there and go to battle seven minutes hard. That’s the way it should be.”
Sorenson is coming off an impressive comeback win last weekend over top-10 ranked Cody Yohn of Minnesota. He fell behind 5-1 in the second period and rallied for a 9-7 victory.
Coach Kevin Jackson didn’t like seeing the early missteps.
“He can’t have those mistakes at the NCAA tournament or Big 12s or against anybody else he wrestles and expect to win,” Jackson said. “But he’s doing well and is on the right track.”
The junior, ranked 10th in the latest poll, faces OU’s Tyler Caldwell tonight. Caldwell finished fifth at the NCAA tournament last spring and is ranked fourth.
“I train to beat the best guys and to be the best guy,” Sorenson said. “Deep down I think I am the best guy. There’s steppingstones along the way and (Yohn) was one. Oklahoma has a tough kid. He placed last year. It’s another steppingstone.”
Jackson is hoping to be at full strength this weekend.
Starting 141- and 149-pounders Chris Drouin (concussion) and Nate Carr, Jr., (weight) were not available in Sunday’s 26-13 loss to Minnesota.
“We don’t have any room for error in a dual meet format,” Jackson said. “With those guys not in our lineup, it does not allow us the best chance to win. We need all hands on deck.”
Drouin did not pass concussion testing to be able to wrestle against the Gophers. Carr has had trouble keeping his weight down all season. He wrestled at 157 the last two seasons.
“He has not been as disciplined with his diet as we’d like to see,” Jackson said. “He has to be able to make weight three days in a row, not just one.”