Nelson Brands makes impact known at ISU

In his second-straight meet starting at 184-pounds, unranked Nelson Brands took down a top 10 opponent.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s 184-pound Nelson Brands wrestles Iowa State’s Sam Colbray during a wrestling dual meet between Iowa and Iowa State at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames on Sunday, November 24, 2019. Brands won by decision, 4-3, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones, 29-6. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

Nelson Brands fist pumped, shook his opponent’s hand and then hurdled the first row of Iowa coaches’ chairs during his sprint into the tunnel. The redshirt freshman had just knocked off No. 7/8 junior Sam Colbray in six total periods.

With a 19-6 lead, the Hawkeyes elected to go with Nelson as their option out of two for 184-pounds. No. 9 Cash Wilcke was the other, who hasn’t seen dual-meet action yet this season.

“It’s between two guys and we’re going to put the best team on the mat every week, and this week our best team was – you saw it out there,” head coach Tom Brands said.

Nelson’s reaction to his win was reeled in until it was his turn to come off the mat, sprinting out of the arena. That’s the poise he’s been known to wrestle with, even as a redshirt freshman.

“He’s doing what we like to do,” Tom said. “He hustles out there, he’s explosive, he’s emotional the right way and we love it.”

The match was scoreless through one, but to open up the second period Colbray came out of the down position in nine seconds with an escape.

The third period mirrored that, with Nelson coming out with an escape with 1:03 left to go.

Tied at 1-1, sudden victory 1 wasn’t much different than the entire match. Into the first tiebreaker, Colbray got an escape right out of the gate.

Nelson held his own in the circle, however, and almost took the match with a takedown in the final two seconds. In the next second, Colbray escaped, and the match was tied up again at 3-3.

“I got to his legs and I took him down,” Nelson said. “I mean, there’s not much to that.”

Nelson escaped to open the second tiebreaker with a 4-3 lead. He took a stall warning with 17 seconds to go, but was able to hold on and not earn another to give his team a 22-9 lead and seal the match in Iowa’s favor.

With 11,238 in attendance and both programs holding national importance, this dual was a big one for both Hawkeye and Cyclone fans alike. However, that significance didn’t matter.

“I see it as another match, I don’t really see it as a rivalry,” Nelson said. “I know it is, but I’m going to prepare the same for every match that I wrestle.”

Last week against UT-Chattanooga, Nelson began his streak of dominance against established wrestlers. He took down TrackWrestling’s then-No. 21 Matthew Waddell, 8-4, in Iowa’s sweep of the Mocs.

As a redshirt last year, Brands took home the 165 titles at the Grand View Open, the Lindenwood Open, the UNI Open and the Loras Open.

Now, with one ranked opponent packed away, Iowa turns its focus to T-No. 4 Wisconsin. Unranked Johnny Sebastian is Wisconsin’s only listed true 184-pounder, and he is coming off a major decision win against Utah Valley.

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