AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State?s wrestlers will head home for the Holidays Dec. 21.* The Cyclones will be on break, Dec. 22-25.* On Dec. 26, the squad will return to Ames and have a 6 p.m. practice. The team will practice again on Dec. 27 and leave for the Midlands Wrestling Championships in Evanston, Ill. on Dec. 28. Action begins Dec. 29 at 9:30 a.m. in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson sat down for a brief overview of the season thus far and expectations as the Cyclones move into the heart of the season.


Kevin Jackson on:

Getting ready for Midlands: ?Our practice schedule during finals was individual because our guys were studying for finals and taking tests. We are returning to baseline practices to keep up our conditioning and fundamental skills sharp.?

?I am happy with our effort so far but I?m not satisfied with our results. It was sort of a mix and match lineup we used against Iowa. There were several of our guys who went to Iowa City and I thought wrestled well when put in front of that crowd.* We were 4-6 in the match and should have won one weight and could have won a couple others.* Now we are focusing on making adjustments from what we saw at Iowa.?

Midlands: ?This tournament is probably as close to getting an NCAA Tournament atmosphere as we will have before March. That is what makes Midlands a valuable experience for our wrestlers.?

125 pounds: ?Patrick Hunter is a tough kid. He is making a connection now about what it takes to succeed in NCAA Division I wrestling.?

133 pounds: ?Brandon Jones is making steady improvement. Ben Cash had a slight injury that prevented him from competing in the Iowa match. The Midlands will be a true test of the progress he is making.?

141 pounds: ?Chris Drouin is on pace to a have great season. His work ethic has been second-to-none. We need to work on finishing his attacks and wrestling seven minutes.* I do think he has adjusted to the level of performance necessary to compete in the Big 12 Conference.?

149 pounds: ?I am excited about Nate Carr Jr., and he is also excited.* We need to monitor and he needs to be vigilant on weight control. He knows what he has to do. We also have Max Mayfield who is making progress and could make a difference in the future.?

157 pounds: ?Trent Weatherman knows he has to improve in three areas, controlling the tie, leg attacks and getting off the bottom. I like his determination and know he is transitioning into the top level of collegiate wrestling.?

165 pounds: ?I couldn?t be happier with Andrew Sorenson.* He is wrestling at a high level and is doing all the things he has been coached to do. Chris Spangler got hurt and he has not wrestled since we were in Virginia.* Midlands will be an opportunity to get back in the mix.?

174 pounds: ?I couldn?t be happier about how Jon Reader is wrestling.* He is wrestling like he is on a mission ? and he is on a mission.* He has been aggressive and confident in his matches.* If you have seen him compete this year you understand what I am talking about.?

184 pounds: ?We continue to work with Cole Shafer. We think he has tremendous potential and we want him to focus on what he is being taught to do.?

197 pounds: ?Jerome Ward has shown flashes of what he is capable of doing. What we want from Jerome is consistency and a high level of effort in every match.?

HWT: ?I am very happy with Kyle Simonson. He is wrestling much bigger men and learning about that challenge. He has had a strong season so far. Matt Gibson is learning and starting to understand the level of competition he must meet.* He has a tremendous upside and lots of ability.?