ST. LOUIS — Lost.
That’s how Iowa State interim co-head wrestling coach Travis Paulson described sixth-year senior Earl Hall’s performance Thursday at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center.
Over would have been just as fitting.
Hall, a two-time All-American, lost an 8-1 decision to Princeton’s Pat D’Arcy in the first round at 133 pounds, then came up short in a 6-5 loss to Connor Schram to end his career.
Hall’s performance was a microcosm of the Cyclones’ topsy-turvy season, which started with high hopes and ended with a 1-12 record in duals and sent Kevin Jackson on his way out the door.
“Ups and downs. Leland was gritty. He fought off the shots well and he ended up scoring in the end. He was frustrated afterwards. He understands he needs to give himself more opportunities to score,” Paulson said. “Earl looked like he wasn’t ready for the fight. Any time you go into a match thinking it’s going to be easy, bad things will happen. I’m not sure what was going through his mind, but it hasn’t been the message that we’ve been reinforcing. It’s not anything physical. He has all the gifts. He knows the technique. He has the skills. Sometimes he’s out there and it’s like he’s almost in a daze. He’s not thinking clearly. He just has to connect and lock in.”
Senior Leland Weatherspoon kept his chance to be a three-time All-American. He won his opening match, 3-1, over Peter Galli of Stanford, then dropped a 10-4 match to third seed Bo Jordan of Ohio State in the second round. He will face Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen in the second round of consolations.
Sophomore Marcus Harrington’s injury-plague season came to an end with a pair of losses at 197. He lost a 7-0 match to Preston Weigel of Oklahoma State in his first match, then dropped a 11-2 match to Cornell’s Benjamin Hanis. Harrington will be one of the key pieces for incoming coach Kevin Dresser to rebuild the program around next year.
“Harrington lost, but he’s closed the gap on that kid (Weigel) and he’s right there. He wrestled hard on his feet. He was real close to getting out. He might be one of the most improved guys in the last month. I think he’ll come back strong,” Paulson said. “He’s got crazy hips. Sometimes you tell guys when they are in on a leg to block and defend it, but we tell him to score there. He took one shot and he was in deep. We just have to get him to pull the trigger more because he’s got good shots. Sometimes when he doesn’t get to the leg he comes up to the body and he’s real dangerous. It’s just continuing to reinforce, ‘Let it go, man.’ People up here tighten up. We have to let it go.”
ST. LOUIS — Lost.