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Cyclones’ Moreno in better place in 2013

January 29th, 2013 by Tom

Nick Moore - Wrestler

AMES " Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson sat down and spoke.

Mike Moreno, his sophomore 165-pounder, listened.

"'Mike, you know you've come a long ways in a short period of time,'" Jackson recalled saying on a recent bus trip. "'I mean, can you believe the year we had last year and where we're at now?' He just kind of looks at me and shakes his head and says, 'Coach Jackson, I was in a different place.'"

Not anymore, thanks largely to the mettle-testing journey.

Moreno stands 17-5 entering Saturday's Big 12 dual at West Virginia.

He cut weight to wrestle at 157 pounds last season and got hurt early, quashing hopes of competing in confidence-boosting open tournaments and the prestigious Midlands Championships.

Moreno ended up 4-13, while yielding bonus points in eight of those losses.

"I think it was necessary," the son of 1992 Cyclone all-American Mike Moreno said in retrospect. "I think people need to take those lumps."

Not that they were easy to absorb for the former state champion from Urbandale.

Moreno " whose brother, Gabe, is a redshirt freshman at ISU " stands as one of several Cyclone wrestlers on the rise after enduring rebuilding mode last season.

"If I just follow his lead, I know great things will come for me," Gabe said.

The team-wide growth began accelerating on the heels of a gut-wrenching 32-3 loss Dec. 1 at arch-rival Iowa.

"They weren't tired, they weren't exhausted," Jackson said of his athletes after that match. "They didn't get beat because of conditioning and things like that. We just didn't go out there and lay it on the line and let the chips fall where they may."

Point taken.

The Cyclones (4-3, 0-1) have won three straight dual meets.

Moreno is one of five top-20 wrestlers in the lineup " and also one of seven freshman or sophomores slated to start in Morgantown.

"We're definitely clicking more as a team," said ISU's Kyven Gadson, a sophomore and fellow legacy wrestler tabbed No. 11 by Intermat at 197.

No one's clicking more " in terms of a reversal of fortune " than Moreno, whose dad was coaching Gabe to a state 3A title at 145 pounds last season.

"Everybody's going to struggle," said the eldest Mike. "But everything happens for a reason. And his struggles last year are going to help him out in life. Flat out, it's going to help him."

It already is.

All of Moreno's losses this season have come against ranked foes.

Four of the five were lost be a total of seven points and two ended in overtime.

"The fact that I'm not getting blown out, that was cool for a while, but now, it's not just OK to keep it close," he said. "It's time to be a man. It's time to start getting these Ws."

Clearly, a different "different place" is now in sight.

"His expectation is to be an all-American before his dad was," Jackson said.


"My goal isn't just to be on the podium this year," Moreno said. "It's to win it this year. It's above and beyond and that's how it has to be."

Same goes for Gabe.

It's how dad wants it to be.

"They're ahead of where I was," Mike Moreno said of his sons. "And I'm proud as hell about it."

One Moore Reason to Cheer for the Hawkeyes

August 9th, 2009 by Tom

Andy Hamilton "¢ Iowa City Press-Citizen

Nick Moore joked in May that he might hold off on making a commitment until next spring just to throw off all of the people who expected an announcement this summer that he was headed to Iowa.

As it turned out, the three-time state champion from West High might have thrown himself for a loop.

"I wanted to stay open-minded and not get set on Iowa, "Moore said. "But in the end, it would've hurt a bit not to go to Iowa."

So Moore committed to the Hawkeyes on Sunday night, ending a short recruiting process that also included Old Dominion and Edinboro -- perhaps the only two schools that thought it wasn't a lost cause to pursue a wrestler who has a brother and three other high school teammates either at Iowa or on their way.

"Even if it's just your siblings there, it's tough to turn away from that school, "Moore said. "But I live in Iowa City, too, so they probably didn't want to waste their time."

Moore has compiled a 131-1 record at West and has won 99 straight matches since losing to Iowa freshman Mark Ballweg, then of Waverly-Shell Rock, in the 2007 state duals after winning their previous meeting a week earlier in the state semifinals.

Even more impressive, Moore has run the table the past two seasons with an injured right shoulder that required a pair of off-season surgeries.

"He knows how to compete, and he's done a real good job of wrestling the top competition, "West coach Mark Reiland said. "He always seems to step up to the challenge. He's won two of his three state titles injured. There aren't a lot of kids who can do that. You'd like to think his mental toughness is one of his strong suits.

"That's the biggest (strength) he has -- the toughness part. He knows how to battle, he doesn't typically get flustered. At the state tournament this year, he didn't get flustered even though he was having close matches. He doesn't like having them close, but sometimes when you're physically not able to do some things it's going to be that way. He stuck to what he knew he could do, and that's going to take him a long way."

Moore, projected as a 157-pounder in college, is ranked the No. 10 prospect nationally in the Class of 2010 by InterMat. He is the second recruit to verbally commit to Iowa's 2010 recruiting class, joining Waverly-Shell Rock two-time state champion Jake Ballweg.

Moore is set to become the fifth West wrestler in three years to sign with the Hawkeyes. Iowa landed his brother, Nate, and Grant Gambrall in 2007 and signed Dylan Carew and Derek St. John last fall.

"(Iowa) just showed a lot of interest in me and looked at me as an individual, "Nick Moore said. "I really thought that was a good place for me and they had me in their best interests.

"I especially liked the coaches. They just seem like they're always giving 110 percent to you. They just want you to succeed to the best possible ability that you can. I feel like if I surround myself with those kind of people things will click. The coaches, especially, it just seems like you want to be around those type of people with the success they've already had."