DES MOINES — To Northern Iowa coach Doug Schwab, it’s all about moving forward.
The Panthers took a big step in that direction Thursday during the first day of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, winning seven of nine bouts inside Wells Fargo Arena.
“But we’re only as good as our last round,” Schwab said after the Panthers won two of four second-round bouts.
David Bonin at 157 pounds and Ryan Loder at 184 earned berths in Friday’s quarterfinals after Levi Wolfensperger at 133 and Joey Lazor at 141 lost.
Bonin (28-6) toppled Missouri’s Kyle Bradley, 4-0, earning his 99th career win. Loder (32-4) beat Mike Larson of Missouri, 2-0.
“(Today) is the day you really move,” Schwab said. “We want guys wrestling Saturday.”
Bonin worked hard for his win over Bradley Thursday night, but said, “the whole sport is tough.
“You gotta grind through it,” he said. “I’m stoked. I’m excited. One win (today), All-American. That’s what I’m here for.”
Lazor (34-8) scored major decisions in the pigtails and first round before losing Thursday. In his 12-4 win over Bryan Pearsall of Penn State he went from almost being pinned to almost getting a pin.
“I like being there, but not really,” he said. “I’m a funky kind of guy.”
Iowa State will have just one wrestler in Friday’s quarterfinals — Tanner Weatherman at 174. The red-shirt freshman from Huxley (20-7) won a wild, 16-14, decision over seventh-seeded Jordan Blanton of Illinois.
“We’ve been training for stuff like this all year,” he said. “It’s just a seven-minute brawl.
“I just went out and had a lot of fun. It’s all just a game.”
ISU’s Michael Moreno at 165, Kyven Gadson at 197 and Matt Gibson at heavyweight all lost in the second round. Gadson (26-3), seeded sixth, fell to Oklahoma State’s Blake Rosholt, 8-7, after battling back from a big deficit.
Gibson lost, 4-2, to top-seeded Dominque Bradley of Missouri.
Two ISU’s three first-round losers lost Thursday night and were eliminated. Boaz Beard remains alive at 184.
“You gotta win the closes matches,” said ISU coach Kevin Jackson, who lost his team a point for three warnings Mayfield’s loss. “We made some mistakes.”